West Allis, Wis. – For the second oval race on the 2015 calendar, a Mazda-powered Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver earned a place in the record books by obliterating an existing track record. Juncos Racing’s Spencer Pigot blistered The Milwaukee Mile with a two-lap average of 150.868 mph. The 21-year-old’s second lap of 150.961 mph was almost a full two miles per hour quicker than the 149.028 mph lap turned by Esteban Guerrieri during qualifying for the 2011 Indy Lights race.
It is the fourth pole of the year – and his first on an oval – for Pigot, the reigning Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion, who will attempt to duplicate his 2014 Milwaukee Pro Mazda victory.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian rookie RC Enerson was able to utilize information gleaned from his teammate Ethan Ringel to take provisional pole early in the qualifying session. Ringel, the Freedom 100 polesitter, was the first car on track and the 20 year-old discovered the track had “gripped-up” significantly after the Verizon IndyCar Series practice. Ringel, a series rookie who is coached by 2006 Indy Lights champion Jay Howard, will start the race on the inside of the fifth row.
Enerson, 18, was the first driver to record two laps at a speed north of 150 mph. The New Port Richey, Fla., native held onto the provisional pole until Pigot, the second to last driver of the day was able to nab the top spot.
Kyle Kaiser was the first driver to crack the 150 mph barrier and will start inside the second row. The one-three qualifying result for the Juncos Racing team is especially impressive after they struggled on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Championship points leader Jack Harvey of Schmidt Peterson qualified on the outside of the second row, while fellow championship contender Ed Jones of Carlin was only able to manage the seventh best two-lap average and will start inside of the fourth row.
After spinning and damaging a rear wishbone and rear wing end fence on his fourth lap of the one and only practice session, the Schmidt Peterson crew was able to get the No. 77 of Scott Anderson fixed in time for qualifying. The Fort Collins, Colo., native was able to qualify in eighth with a two-lap average speed of 147.568 mph.
Belardi Auto Racing’s duo of Juan Piedrahita and Felix Serralles will start beside each other in the third row. Piedrahita, a 22 year-old native of Bogota, Colombia, will be making his fourth start in Milwaukee and will be looking to score his third podium.
The entire Indy Lights field was able to test at The Milwaukee Mile in May. However, Formula 1 veteran Max Chilton was not able to make the test due to his commitments preparing for The 24 Hours Of Le Mans. The 24 year-old qualified in 10th with a respectable two-lap average of 145.999 mph.
The green flag for tomorrow’s 100-lap Grand Prix of Milwaukee, which precedes the Verizon IndyCar Series ABC Supply Wisconsin 250, will fly at 2:00 p.m. CDT. The race will air on the NBC Sports Network at 11:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 15, 2015. Live timing and commentary will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at indylights.com, with live streaming on racecontrol.indycar.com.
Spencer Pigot (No. 12 Mazda/Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/The Stutz/BAD/OMP – Juncos Racing): (Regarding the point for pole in a tight championship) “It’s very important because the top three are very close in the championship, but the thing that is more important is that there are a few guys between myself and Jack and Ed (his closest championship competitors), so hopefully they stay there during the race and we’ll be able to stretch it out more tomorrow.”
(Regarding coming back from the struggles on the oval at Indianapolis) “We’ve been studying a lot of things that we learned in May and that we’ve learned testing here at Milwaukee and Iowa that will help us on the ovals. Obviously the hard work is paying and it is showing here in qualifying. We’ll see if we can do it when it matters tomorrow.”
About Indy Lights: The third and final step on the unparalleled Mazda Road to Indy debuted as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2014. Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the series is operated by Andersen Promotions, which oversees all three levels of the ladder system. Indy Lights has a rich history as a development step for many of today’s top drivers. Its series’ champion is awarded a three-race scholarship in the Verizon IndyCar Series including the Indianapolis 500. For more information, visit www. indylights.com.
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED: Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy and the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com.
About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative, great-performing tires that people depend on for all of life’s road trips, whether on city streets, off-road adventures or high-speed tracks. In fact, Cooper Tire is proud to sponsor and race in all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy development program within the IndyCar racing series. Cooper tires can also been seen on the track as a sponsor of the IMSA Prototype Lites Series, and competing in the short course off-road TORC Series. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper, together with its subsidiaries, has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities in 11 countries around the world. This year, as we head into our second century in the tire industry, Cooper is looking toward a future where innovation will continue to drive our products and our products will continue to drive the world. To connect with Cooper Tire, visit www.coopertire.com, www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/teamcoopertire.