Mazda Road To Indy update #2 – USF2000 and Pro Mazda practice #2

I had the chance to chat with current Pro Mazda points leader Neil Alberico, and I asked him which part of the track they were struggling on and he exclaimed, “everywhere, we’re lost.” Alberico didn’t compete in the Cooper Tires Winterfest at NOLA Motorsports Park in February, but it’s not just him that is struggling. His Cape Motorsports with /WTR teammates Florian Latorre and Daniel Burkett (who were both here for Winterfest) were both buried in the bottom half of the time sheets as well. Alberico said that he is hoping it rains so that things get “mixed-up”. He also explained that it’s still early in the championship that if they can’t find the pace, he’ll be content with being patient and scoring as many points as possible.


The lone red flag in the early sessions flew for a spin by Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda driver Keyran Andres Soori. The car suffered no damage and he was able to take part in the second practice session.


I had a chance to catch up with former Indy Lights driver Peter Dempsey. He is currently the head of engineering for the Juncos Racing Pro Mazda program, and is the race engineer for drivers Garett Grist and Jose Gutierrez. He is still working on putting together the funding for a Verizon IndyCar Series ride, but did express that getting two paychecks a month was “kind of nice.”

USF2000 took to the track for their second practice session at 2pm. The half-hour session was quite uneventful and ran green the entire time.

Jake Eidson who was a winner here at NOLA Motorsports Park during Cooper Tires Winterfest in February led a session that saw 12 drivers within one second of his time.

Drivers were able to complete between 12 and 17 laps.

The top five included: Eidson, Victor Franzoni, Nico Jamin, Jordan Lloyd and Aaron Telitz.

The complete results are as follows:

1 Jake Eidson 1:38.347
2 Victor Franzoni 1:38.433
3 Nico Jamin 1:38.567
4 Jordan Lloyd 1:38.687
5 Aaron Telitz 1:38.751
6 Parker Thompson 1:38.809
7 Garth Rickards 1:38.974
8 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:39.007
9 Ayla Agren 1:39.120
10 Yufeng Luo 1:39.209
11 Anthony Martin 1:39.219
12 Nikita Lastochkin 1:39.277
13 Luke Gabin 1:39.530
14 Max Hanratty 1:39.562
15 Augie Lerch 1:41.499
16 James Dayson 1:41.681


Pro Mazda took to the track for a half-hour practice session, their second of the day at 2:45pm.

The session was green for the first 15 minutes before JDC Motorsports driver Kyle Connery made contact with the tires and concrete wall exiting Turn 13. It was a hard hit and series officials were able to tell us that he is being transported to Ochsner Medical Center as a precautionary measure. At the time Connery had the sixth quickest lap. We’ll provide another update

Weiron Tan led his fifth straight test/practice session at NOLA Motorsports Park. And once again it was by almost a half of a second. Pato O’Ward, Timothe Buret, Jose Gutierrez and Santiago Urrutia made up the rest of the top five.

The drivers were able to complete between five and eight laps. Half of the field, eight drivers were able to get within a second of the dominant Tan.

The complete results are as follows:

1 Weiron Tan 1:34.911
2 Pato O’Ward 1:35.350
3 Timothe Buret 1:35.400
4 Jose Gutierrez 1:35.497
5 Santiago Urrutia 1:35.557
6 Kyle Connery 1:35.586
7 Will Owen 1:35.757
8 Garett Grist 1:35.827
9 Dalton Kellett 1:36.027
10 Alessandro Latif 1:36.233
11 Florian Latorre 1:36.402
12 Raoul Owens 1:36.678
13 Neil Alberico 1:36.850
14 Daniel Burkett 1:36.850
15 Parker Nicklin 1:37.205
16 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:39.582


USF2000 qualifies at 9:50am and their first race is at 3:30pm tomorrow.

Pro Mazda qualifies at 10:40am and their first race is at 5:50pm tomorrow.