Watkins Glen, NY – On Friday, Victor Franzoni was quickest in Pro Mazda practice and backed that up with taking the pole for today’s first race of the doubleheader weekend at Watkins Glen. But, on the drop of the green flag on Saturday, Anthony Martin got by Franzoni and took an early race lead.
Last week, Martin started on the pole at Gateway and pulled out to an early race lead. This week, he didn’t start on the pole, but he did jump out to the top stop from his second place starting position.
On Lap 3 though, the only caution of the day would fly when teammates Robert Megennis and Nikita Lastochkin made contact and crashed in Turn 9. It would bring Franzoni back to Martin’s tail.
On the Lap 5 restart, Martin would evade Franzoni’s fight and pull back out to a favorable lead. But, Franzoni didn’t fade though. Like last week, he just stalked Martin and hung around. Then, on Lap 11, he made the winning move.
In the bus stop, Franzoni pushed his No. 23 Mazda passed Martin and took off. Last week in Gateway, Franzoni forced his way by Martin in the closing stages of that race too and won a season saving victory.
Same thing happened today.
Franzoni got by and never looked back en route to his sixth win of the season and takes an eight point lead heading to tomorrow’s season finale at Watkins Glen International.
Martin, led the first 11 laps of today’s 14 lap event but had to settle for second. It was Martin’s fifth runner up finish in 11 races this season in his No. 8 Mazda.
Now, the duo are set for an epic fight for the title in which one of them will earn a scholarship to race full-time in Indy Lights competition in 2018.
Franzoni, has finished either first or second in all 11 events this season. He now has two straight wins and three victories over the last four races.
Martin, has five wins and 10 top two finishes in the 11 starts in 2017. His only non top two effort was a fourth place finish in the second part of an Indy doubleheader. That is the difference in the standings right now.
Rookies Carlos Cunha, Sting Ray Robb and Kris Wright rounded out the top five.
Tomorrow’s race will run at 7:55 a.m. ET.
Pro Mazda Race Results
- 23 Franzoni
- 8 Martin R
- 81 Cunha R
- 14 Robb R
- 12 Wright R
- 3 Machiko R
- 13 Eberle
- 31 Puderbach R
- 83 Finelli R
- 82 Fischer -1
- 60 Green R -2
- 84 Megennis R OUT
- 80 Lastochkin R OUT