Hargrove Doubles Up In St. Petersburg
Hargrove’s task was made easier when teammate Neil Alberico once again struck misfortune – for the third time in four races. The young Californian, who entered the season as a strong favorite for title honors on the first step of the Mazda Road to Indy, was due to start second but was called into the pits at the end of the pace lap with a braking problem.
Gooden took full advantage to follow Hargrove through the tight Turn One on the opening lap, followed by Dutchman Jeroen Slaghekke, Stefan Rzadzinski, Lazare, Brandon Newey, Danilo Estrela and the rest of the pack.
As Hargrove pulled away in the lead, Gooden initially had his hands full with a huge pack of Van Diemen-Mazdas in his wake, but he gradually inched clear to cement his runner-up position.
Slaghekke held third until tangling with Rzadzinski on the 19th lap. The incident allowed Lazare to move into the final podium place, while Estrela, who had passed Newey on lap two, just held onto fourth following a race-long battle.