Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

USF2000 drivers take the green flag at Lucas Oil Raceway for the 'Night before the 500' race. (photo: USF2000)

USF2000 drivers take the green flag at Lucas Oil Raceway for the ‘Night before the 500’ race. (photo: USF2000)

Aaron Telitz (USF2000) and Garett Grist (Pro Mazda) topped the competition in Saturday’s ‘Night Before the 500’ race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana.

It was the first-career victory for both drivers. Telitz carved his way through the competition in USF2000, advancing from sixth to first on the 0.686-mile oval, while Grist led from flag-to-flag in Pro Mazda.

In USF2000, Austin Cindric, son of Penske Racing President Tim Cindric, finished second with Brazilian driver Victor Franzoni completing the podium. Jeroen Slaghekke was fourth with Clark Toppe rounding out the top-five. Florian Latorre, who started from pole position, set the fastest lap of the race.

“The race was awesome,” Telitz said. “I was starting sixth and I knew that I was going to have to have a car that could work on the bottom to make any passes, and about Lap 15 it just came in. I could ride down on the bottom just as fast as the guys at the top and when you have a shorter distance, you’re going to make passes. I went right to the front and sailed off and that was it. It feels awesome to win in front of a crowd that came to watch us without the [Verizon] IndyCar Series as the headline. It is seriously awesome and I have to thank all the fans that were here.”

In Pro Mazda, Scott Hargrove finished runner-up after starting sixth overall. American Spencer Pigot was third, finishing with a nearly flat right-front tire. Nicolas Costa finished fourth with Anders Krohn fifth. Shelby Blackstock set the fastest race lap on Lap 54 (113.127 mph). Both races were run caution-free.

“Today’s race went really well,” Grist said. “I was able to settle down into a rhythm after Spencer [Pigot] had put some pressure on me. Once I settled down into my rhythm we slowly pulled away and I think we managed traffic a lot better than the rest. I could definitely use all the lanes and not lose any time going down low which is a lot like I had last year in the USF2000 race. I am really happy the car was that good and we were able to do that.”

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