Cooper Tires Winterfest Update #12 – Pro Mazda Race #3 notes and results

Jack Aitken vs. Weiron Tan highlighted a very entertaining third Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire race this afternoon at NOLA Motorsports Park.

After a ragged start in this mornings race, Tan and Aitken “played nice”, which allowed the field to get through first lap incident free.

The two cars that suffered the most damage during the first lap incident in Race #2 were the No. 5 of Garett Grist and the No. 2 of Daniel Burkett.  The Juncos Racing crew worked their tails off and got the car of Grist (who hit the wall) fixed in time for the race.  Unfortunately the car of Burkett (who left the racing surface to avoid the incident) suffered damage beyond what the Cape Motorsports with /WTR crew could fix before the green flag.  They should be back in time for the next round at Barber Motorsports Park

When the green flag fell, Tan, the pole sitter and Aitken drag raced down the front stretch and went side-by-side for the first four turns before Aitken pulled ahead.

The order at the end of the fist lap was: Aitken, Tan, Garett Grist, Florian Latorre, and Dalton Kellett.

The second lap saw Nicholas Latifi and Jose Gutierrez go side-by-side through Turn 10, 11 and 12 before the Latifi came out ahead.

Tan was right under the gearbox of Aitken down the backstretch on lap 4, and showed himself to the outside, but tucked right back in behind Aitken.  That was closest he would get and for most of the race the gap remained between 0.4 and 0.9 seconds.

By the sixth lap, the two leaders had pulled almost a seven second gap over third place runner Grist, who was the engine on a nine car train of flame spitting Mazda rotary powered cars.

Tan continued to dog Aitken and narrowed the gap back to 0.2 seconds on lap 15, but couldn’t make a move for the lead.

Series interloper (he’s signed to race in the World Series By Renault 3.5 championship) Latifi was able to get by Canadian Garret Grist on the second last lap to score the final spot on the podium.

Paralyzed racer Michael Johnson was able to make two nice passes late in the race to score an impressive top 10.

Rank Car No. Driver Laps Completed Quickest Lap
1 82 Jack Aitken 20 1:34.687
2 22 Weiron Tan 20 1:34.380
3 18 Nicolas Latifi 20 1:34.975
4 5 Garett Grist 20 1:34.868
5 7 Jose Gutierrez 20 1:36.666
6 23 Will Owen 20 1:36.794
7 28 Dalton Kellett 20 1:37.444
8 10 Florian Latorre 20 1:38.428
9 6 Timothe Buret 20 1:37.352
10 54 Michael Johnson 20 1:36.220
11 14 Alessandro Latif 20 1:36.100
12 19 Raoul Owens 20 1:36.781
13 13 Bobby Eberle 20 1:36.905
14 33 Carlos Conde 19 1:43.246

A final post is upcoming with some final thoughts about the first half of Cooper Tires Winterfest.