Pigot Rebounds For Houston Victory
HOUSTON – Spencer Pigot bounced back from a series of misfortunes to score a commanding victory in Sunday’s second leg of the Allied Building Products Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Houston Presented by Marlin CNG Services.
Starting second on the grid, Pigot, 20, from Orlando, Fla., made an explosive start, then dived to the inside of polesitter Garett Grist under braking for the tight chicane at Turn Two on the unforgiving 1.7-mile MD Anderson Cancer Center Speedway at NRG Park.
He remained under pressure from fellow American Neil Alberico for the first dozen or so laps, then edged clear to win the 30-lap race by almost four seconds.
“It’s been a rough patch for us the last few race weekends,” Pigot said. “Even coming out here on Friday, we were really off the pace back in eighth, ninth, 10th position – the whole team. We just kept working harder and harder and looking over every area where we could improve the car and improve our driving.”
The victory, Pigot’s fifth of the season for Juncos Racing, moved him back into the lead of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires after yesterday’s winner, Scott Hargrove, exited the race on the first lap following an incident in Turn Three. The result also enabled Juncos Racing to move back into the lead of the Team Championship with five rounds remaining in the 14-race season.
After Pigot’s move for the lead on the opening lap stacked up the field, Hargrove thought he saw an opportunity to take second place at Turn Three. Unfortunately, his lunge to the inside resulted in heavy side-to-side contact with Grist, who was assessed a penalty shortly afterward for avoidable contact. Hargrove’s Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry reared up onto two wheels before crashing back to earth and out of the race.
Fellow Canadian Grist (Andretti Autosport) was able to continue in third, but only for a couple of laps before pitting to serve his drive-through penalty. He resumed in 15th and thereafter drove well to claim ninth at the finish of the all-green race held in exhaustingly hot and humid conditions.
Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), who had been taken out on the second lap of yesterday’s race, profited from the early drama today to move from sixth on the grid to second, where he remained until the finish. Alberico posted the fastest race lap – a new track record – for good measure.
Pigot, after losing the series points lead yesterday, now holds a 17-point advantage, 225-208, as the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires moves on to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Rounds 10 and 11, once again in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series, on Aug. 2-3.