Bowmanville, Ont., Canada – One day after earning his third pole position and third runner-up finish of the season, Shelby Blackstock guided his Andretti Autosport/Team Starstruck entry to a well-deserved maiden victory in Round 10 of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at the fast Canadian Tire Motorsport Park circuit.
Blackstock, a 23-year-old rookie from Nashville, Tenn., started second behind yesterday’s first-time winner, Spencer Pigot. After shadowing the Team Pelfrey car for the first 11 laps, Blackstock took advantage of a slight slip by the 19-year-old from Orlando, Fla., to take the lead in Turn Eight and never looked back.
While Pigot lost another couple of places to Juncos Racing teammates Scott Anderson and Diego Ferreira over the next couple of corners, Blackstock put his head down in the lead which he had no trouble in protecting through the remainder of the 20-lap race.
Anderson, also 23, from Fort Collins, Colo., had started in sixth place but moved up two positions on Lap Six when Nicolas Costa (Team Pelfrey) and championship leader Matthew Brabham (Andretti Autosport) collided in Turn Eight while disputing third place. The pair had also been in vigorous contention for the lead but were unable to resume.
After a full-course caution to remove Brabham’s stranded car, Pigot once again took off in the lead, chased by Blackstock, while Anderson took advantage of a slight slip by Ferreira to move into third place, which became second just a couple of laps later when Blackstock made his move for the lead and Pigot found himself freight-trained down to fourth.
Blackstock took the checkered flag 2.056 seconds clear of Anderson – who was delighted with his first Pro Mazda podium finish – with Ferreira, Pigot and a closing local driver Zack Meyer (JDC MotorSports), from Toronto, rounding out the top five.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda regular Dalton Kellett also ran a strong race in his Pro Mazda debut this weekend. The Stouffville, Ont., native ran as high as fifth in a third Team Pelfrey car before being forced to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 13 after an off-track excursion. He eventually recovered to finish in eighth.
Heading into Rounds 11/12 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in two weeks, Brabham continues to lead the championship standings at 273 with Ferreira (222), Blackstock (203), Pigot (185) and Anderson (162) completing the top five.
Contingency awards included the Staubli Award and the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award to Anderson for a gain of four positions from sixth to second, and the PFC Award to the winning team of Andretti Autosport.
Shelby Blackstock, #28 Team Starstruck (Andretti Autosport) – First: “This is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Matt [Brabham] has had his fair share of wins this season and it’s nice for me to finally bring one in. Unfortunately, Matt had a really rough race and I am not sure what happened. When I saw Spencer [Pigot] get in the marbles, I took the position and once I went to the last corner I saw Diego, Scott and Spencer three wide and I said OK, head down and dig. I just did that and tried not to make any mistakes and made a gap. In the end, I am very, very happy that we are finally able to get the Starstruck team a win. It’s a fantastic day.”
Scott Anderson, #44 Neuropathy Testing Center/Laser Nail Centers/Ottercares/Sparco/Bell (Juncos Racing) – Second: “We have had a lot of fourth-place finishes. I think between qualifying and the race it was something like 10 so it feels great to be on the podium, especially after Toronto. The two races there were probably my worst of the season, so to be able to come out in second place today is just awesome. The car was the best it has been all year. With both cars on the podium, obviously we were very strong. By the time I got around Spencer [Pigot], Shelby was just too far gone. I was pushing pretty hard. He definitely had a good pace and with a couple of laps to go, I thought I had best just settle in and try not to make any mistakes and bring home a second place.”
Diego Ferreira, #57 Team Viso Venezuela/Mindeporte (Juncos Racing) – Third: “I am happy to be on the podium and to have my teammate here. It was a good race. This is the seventh podium finish this year and, being second in the championship, it was a good race for the points. Thanks to Juncos Racing for giving me a good car. I made a mistake on the restart in Turn 10 and Scott passed me. We had a nice battle but he was stronger than me. I was happy to finish third today.”
About Pro Mazda: The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires debuted in 2013 as a new series, replacing the Star Mazda Championship which ceased operation in 2012 after 22 years. The series is sanctioned by INDYCAR and owned and operated by Andersen Promotions. It is the second official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with the series’ champion awarded a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to Firestone Indy Lights competition the following year. For more information, visit www.promazdachampionship.com.
About Mazda: Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. 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. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MAZDASPEED 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, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico 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 (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).
About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: CTB) is a global company with affiliates, subsidiaries and joint ventures that specialize in the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of passenger car and light truck tires. The company also has subsidiaries that specialize in medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. With headquarters in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper Tire has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities within its family of companies located in 11 countries around the world. Additional information can be found at www.us.coopertire.com.
Contact: Tamy Valkosky, Public Relations