Cooper Tires Winterfest – Barber Motorsports Park update #5 – Pro Mazda race notes and results

Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire drivers were given two pace laps to try and build heat into their slick Coopers.

For the fourth straight Cooper Tires Winterfest Pro Mazda race pole sitter Jack Aitken and Weiron Tan started together on the front row.

Aitken got the jump on Tan, while Nicholas Latifi made an aggressive start from his fourth place starting position and made a move past Will Owen and dove to the inside of Tan for second. He was not able to make the move stick, but settled into third spot.

Latifi’s day ended later on that lap when his car caught on fire. He jumped on the binders in Turn 12 and was hit from behind by Will Owen. Both spun off the track to drivers left. Latifi quickly jumped out of his No. 18 with the sleeve of his fire suit on fire. A corner worker was on the scene very quickly to to put out the fire on the driver and the car. It was a very impressive response by a quick thinking marshall.

Daniel Burkett, who started at the tail end of the field, made a storming start up to seventh, but his car stalled on the second lap at drivers left in Turn 11.

Burkett and Owen were both able to get going again, but were multiple laps down.

It took 15 minutes to clean up the first lap mess and the field was able to get restarted on Lap 7. The top five at that time were: Aitken, Tan, Florian Latorre, Raoul Owens and Dalton Kellett.

Aitken jumped out to a 10 car length lead by the time they completed the seventh lap. Latorre in third was hassling second place Tan, while Kellett was right on the rear wing of Owens for fourth place.

By lap 10, Aitken had built up a 2.2 second lead over Tan, who had only a 0.6 second lead over Latorre. Tan was able to put down a flier on lap 11 that was 0.9 seconds quicker than Aitken to cut the lead down to 1.2 seconds.

As speeds increased and the track started to dry the exit of Turn 1 became very tricky as the water that settled in the depressions in the kerbing found it’s way onto to track.

As the leaders took the white flag, Aitken held a lead of just over a second over Tan, while Latorre held down the third place.

Tan was able to cut the lead down to 0.7 seconds, but it was Aitken that took his third win of Cooper Tires Winterfest.

Owen, the Juncos Racing sophomore who finished two laps down after the first lap contact with Latifi, was able to throw down the quickest lap of the race on his final lap. He will start on pole for the final race. Tan who is trailing Aitken by 11 points in the championship will start second, while Team Pelfrey’s Aitken will start fourth. With double points on the line in the final race, the Winterfest championship is still up for grabs.

Final results for the race are:

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Position Car No. Driver Fastest Lap
1 82 Jack Aitken 1:23.206
2 22 Weiron Tan 1:22.766
3 10 Florian Latorre 1:22.875
4 19 Raoul Owens 1:23.540
5 28 Dalton Kellett 1:23.462
6 6 Timothe Buret 1:24.652
7 5 Garett Grist 1:23.946
8 7 Jose Gutierrez 1:23.787
9 24 Tristan DeGrand 1:24.168
10 14 Alessandro Latif 1:25.557
11 54 Michael Johnson 1:26.176
12 13 Bobby Eberle 1:27.599
13 2 Daniel Burkett 1:23.720
14 23 Will Owen 1:22.375
15 18 Nicholas Latifi 2:59.556