Mid-Ohio – MRTI update #1 – 11am

A warm welcome back and a sad goodbye

I (Steve) arrived at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Thursday.

This is the one event a year that I (Steve) camp at, so after getting my tent and other gear set up (I forgot to take a picture, but will be sure to do so later), I headed to the Mazda Road To Indy hospitality tent for a reception welcoming back one friend and saying goodbye to another.

Michael Johnson will be making his return to the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire championship after spending the last four months re-jabbing from injuries suffered in a practice crash at the first event of the season in St. Pete.  It was great to see Michael in his happy place again.  The young man has a passion for racing that is almost unrivaled.

Speaking of an unrivaled passion, we unfortunately said goodbye to the  MRTI and the junior formula car ranks biggest supporter.  After a 16 month battle with Cancer, Al Craighead passed away in his sleep on Wednesday night.

I spent 25+ years as a fan of the “Road to Indy” before I started writing about it regularly in 2013 and it was Al, Rob Howden and their eformulacarnews.com site that kept me in the loop.

I first “met” Al in the chat rooms that the MRTI had set up on their audio broadcasts and actually met him for the first time at Mid-Ohio in 2013.  We immediately hit it off, and I really wish that I could have had more time to get to know him and mine his vast knowledge base.

With seven Mazda Road To Indy races this weekend, I can’t think of a more fitting weekend to say goodbye to the best friend the junior open wheel ranks ever had.

Thursday Mazda Road To Indy  testing 

The Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series both had three 40 minute test sessions yesterday.

All sessions ran cleanly with no major incidents.  Here are your combined times:

Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda


1 Nico Jamin 1:22.000

2 Jake Eidson 1:22.442

3 Aaron Telitz 1:22.519

4 Anthony Martin (R) 1:22.901

5 Parker Thompson (R) 1:23.135

6 Garth Rickards (R) 1:23.377

7 Ayla Agren (R) 1:23.398

8 Luke Gabin (R) 1:23.528

9 Sennan Fielding (R) 1:23.576

10 Jack Mitchell (R) 1:23.609

11 Nikita Lastochkin (R) 1:23.668

12 Yufeng Luo (R) 1:24.044

13 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:24.377

14 Max Hanratty (R) 1:24.391

15 Clint McMahan (R) 1:24.966

16 James Dayson 1:25.674

17 Alex Mayer (R) 1:25.678

18 Andrew List 1:27.384

Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire


1 Garett Grist 1:19.811

2 Will Owen (R) 1:20.294

3 Jose Gutierrez 1:20.449

4 Timothe Buret (R) 1:20.454

5 Florian Latorre (R) 1:20.734

6 Weiron Tan (R) 1:20.779

7 Neil Alberico 1:20.914

8 Pato O’Ward (R) 1:20.915

9 Santiago Urrutia (R) 1:20.937

10 Dalton Kellett 1:21.081

11 Daniel Burkett (R) 1:21.132

12 Raoul Owens (R) 1:21.291

13 Victor Franzoni (R) 1:21.608

14 Alessandro Latif (R) 1:22.140

15 Kyle Connery 1:22.473

16 Michael Johnson 1:22.844

17 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:23.335

18 Bob Kaminsky(E) (R) 1:24.186


USF2000 practice #1

The first official practice session of the weekend for the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda session began bright and early at 8am.

The session went green for the first twenty minutes, but did go red for quick offs on the backside of the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by Clint McMahan and James Dayson.  The circuit did get to green for one more lap, but nobody was able to improve on their times.

The three super sophomores of Aaron Telitz, Nico Jamin and Jake Eidson found themselves in familiar positions at the top of the time charts.

Here is the complete USF2000 timesheet for the session:


1 Aaron Telitz 1:23.389

2 Nico Jamin 1:23.551

3 Jake Eidson 1:23.800

4 Anthony Martin 1:23.926

5 Garth Rickards 1:24.436

6 Ayla Agren 1:24.497

7 Parker Thompson 1:24.804

8 Sennan Fielding 1:24.845

9 Yufeng Luo 1:25.150

10 Luke Gabin 1:25.206

11 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:25.222

12 Nikita Lastochkin 1:25.484

13 Jack Mitchell 1:25.693

14 Max Hanratty 1:26.251

15 James Dayson 1:26.950

16 Clint McMahan 1:28.751

17 Alex Mayer 1:28.915

18 Andrew List 1:29.414

USF2000 is back on track for qualifying at 12:15pm and their first of three races this weekend will take place at 4:45pm this afternoon.


Indy Lights practice #1

At 8:40am the 12 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire entries began the first of only two half hour practice sessions before qualifying for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Powered by Mazda races twin bill.

The drivers were supposed to test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June, but that session was essentially rained ou,t so it’s not a big surprise that drivers that have experience at Mid-O topped the time charts.

Spencer Pigot, who is currently trailing Jack Harvey by 18 points in the chase for the MAZDASPEED scholarship that will guarantee a driver a Verizon IndyCar Series seat lead the way with a top lap of 1:12.701.  That’s ahead of the track record set my Martin Plowman in 2010 and also a half second ahead of RC Enerson and six-tenths of a second ahead Jack Harvey.

Half-way through the session it was RC Enerson who led the way, while championship contenders Jack Harvey, Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones were 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Ed Jones, the Carlin rookie who is also in contention for the championship could only manage the 11th quickest lap, 1.4 seconds behind Pigot.

The entire half-hour session was run under green flag conditions

Here is the complete Indy Lights timesheet for the session:


1 Spencer Pigot 1:12.701

2 RC Enerson 1:13.258

3 Jack Harvey 1:13.345

4 Felix Serralles 1:13.455

5 Max Chilton 1:13.548

6 Scott Anderson 1:13.557

7 Sean Rayhall 1:13.643

8 Kyle Kaiser 1:13.791

9 Juan Piedrahita 1:13.864

10 Shelby Blackstock1:14.028

11 Ed Jones 1:14.125

12 Ethan Ringel 1:14.751

Indy Lights is back on track for their second practice session of the day at 1pm.


Pro Mazda practice #1

After three 40 minute practice sessions yesterday the 18 drivers entered Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio took to the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course at 10:05am for a 25 minute practice session.

Two time Mid-Ohio winner Garett Grist and his Juncos Racing teammate Will Owen ended the shortened session in a familiar position.  The Canadian and American led yesterday’s testing and once again it was Grist who topped Owen.

The top three championship contenders of Santiago Urrutia, Weiron Tan and Neil Alberico finished the session in the fourth, third and fifth spots.

A short red flag flew with ten minutes left in the session.  TSO couldn’t determine what the reason for the red flag was (there were no cars stopped on track), but the track immediately went back to green.  At that point the leaderboard had Grist, Owen, Tan, Urrutia, and Alberico as the top five.

It wasn’t long before the red flag flew again as the No. 14 of Alessandro Latif spun out of Turn 1 and made contact with the barriers.

Latif was OK and was dropped of back in his pits by the Holmatro Safety Team.

That ended the session with most drivers only able to turn in the neighborhood of 10 laps.

The complete Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire timesheet:


1 Garett Grist 1:20.155

2 Will Owen 1:20.314

3 Weiron Tan 1:20.559

4 Santiago Urrutia 1:20.683

5 Neil Alberico 1:20.810

6 Dalton Kellett 1:21.052

7 Jose Gutierrez 1:21.096

8 Pato O’Ward 1:21.299

9 Victor Franzoni 1:21.305

10 Florian Latorre 1:21.458

11 Daniel Burkett 1:21.467

12 Timothe Buret 1:21.588

13 Alessandro Latif 1:22.031

14 Raoul Owens 1:22.120

15 Kyle Connery 1:22.443

16 Michael Johnson 1:23.596

17 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:23.800

18 Bob Kaminsky(E) 1:25.849

The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series is back on track for qualifying at 2:30pm for qualifying.