St. Petersburg, Fla – Talented Australian Anthony Martin continued from where he left off yesterday, scoring another flag-to-flag victory in this afternoon’s Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He now boasts a perfect two-for-two record in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Martin, 22, led throughout the 40-minute race to enjoy a weekend sweep for himself and the locally based Cape Motorsports team on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
The remaining podium finishers also repeated from yesterday, with Victor Franzoni, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, finishing second for Juncos Racing and California’s TJ Fischer taking third for Team Pelfrey after his Brazilian teammate Carlos Cunha experienced a mechanical failure.
Martin, last year’s champion in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, set a conservative pace in the early stages. He remained only narrowly ahead of Franzoni, one of his principal rivals last year in USF2000, the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, with Cunha and Fischer also in close attendance.
All four contenders posted a fastest race lap at one point or another during the opening dozen laps. Fischer eventually lost the leading draft, leaving only one of the distinctive yellow-and-black Team Pelfrey cars to challenge the two leaders, but Cunha proved up to the task as he out-maneuvered his Brazilian countryman Franzoni with an opportunistic pass in Turn One on Lap 17. Sadly, almost exactly one lap later, Cunha’s No. 81 machine coasted to a halt.
Cunha’s pass delayed Franzoni just enough to allow Martin to pull away just a little for the first time. Coincidentally, Martin set what was to stand as the fastest lap of the race (worth an additional championship point) on the same lap to establish a healthy lead of over two seconds.
However, that advantage was negated a few laps later when the yellow flags waved following an incident in Turn Nine involving National Class leader Kevin Davis, who had been running in ninth place overall at the time.
After the cleanup had been completed, Martin took off again into the lead and sped home to win by just over a second from Franzoni. Fischer finished hot on Franzoni’s heels in third, with 15-year-old Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, claiming fourth for World Speed Motorsports ahead of Nikita Lastochkin (Team Pelfrey), Max Hanratty (ArmsUp Motorsports), who earned the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award after starting at the back of the field, and Phillippe Denes (World Speed), who had lost a couple of positions with a spin in the closing stages.
Cape Motorsports claimed its second straight PFC Award. Franzoni earned the Staubli Award and Charles Finelli secured National Class honors for FatBoy Racing! after his other rivals fell by the wayside.
The Pro Mazda Championship will return to action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit on May 12-13.