Leeds, Ala – After having a little over a month off, two of the three Mazda Road to Indy ladders were back in action on Friday at the Barber Motorsports Park. The Pro Mazda Series and Indy Lights drivers took to the 2.3-mile Alabama road course for one practice session each. Also, the 16 Pro Mazda drivers had one qualifying session too.
They got it all started early this morning, with a green flag around 8:45 am locally. In that session, Parker Thompson topped the speed charts with a lap of 1:16.7585-seconds in his No. 90 Mazda. Thompson, finished runner-up in the season opener on the streets of St. Pete and fifth in Race No. 2. But, despite being a rookie in the series this year, this isn’t his first time at Barber though.
Thompson, raced at Barber for three years in the USF2000 Series. He had five fifth place finishes, a third and two victories. Both wins came in a weekend sweep in 2016.
Robert Megennis was second quick in his No. 9 Mazda. Megennis, circled the scenic facility with a time of 1:16.9457-seconds.
David Malukas was third overall (1:17.0096-seconds) in his No. 79 Mazda, while Rafael Martins (1:17.0403-seconds) and Oliver Askew (1:17.1673-seconds) rounded out the top five.
Rinus VeeKay swept both races in St. Pete but was eighth fastest in the lone practice session of the weekend.
The drivers hit the track for qualifying later in the day, with Thompson once again leading the speed charts and earning the pole for tomorrow’s first race of the weekend. Thompson, set a lap of 1:16.8946-seconds en route to the pole position.
Harrison Scott will join him on the front row. The youngster turned a lap of 1;17.1585-seconds in his No. 10 Mazda.
David Malukas was third again (1:17.3179-seconds) while Carlos Cunha (1:14.4847-seconds) and Robert Megennis (1:17.5424-seconds) rounded out the top five.
Rinus Veekay will roll off seventh.
Race 1 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Parker Thompson, Harrison Scott
Row 2: David Malukas, Carlos Cunha
Row 3: Robert Megennis, Andres Gutierrez
Row 4: Rinus Veekay, Rafael Martins
Row 5: Oliver Askew, Nikita Lastochkin
Row 6: Sting Ray Robb, Kory Enders
Row 7: Lodovico Laurini, Kris Wright
Row 8: Antonio Serravalle, Charles Finelli
The series had one lone practice session on schedule for not just today, but for the weekend. In that session, Santi Urrutia topped the speed charts with a time of 1:14.5255-seconds in his No. 5 Mazda. Urruita, won the second race of the doubleheader weekend in 2016 in Barber, but he finished outside the top 10 in his other three starts on the track.
Colton Herta was second overall in his No. 98 Mazda. The second generation driver turned a lap of 1:14.6090-seconds in his No. 98 Mazda. Herta, won the second race of the doubleheader weekend last year, as the winner of the doubleheader weekends the last two seasons were 1-2 on Friday.
Aaron Telitz was third in his No. 9 Mazda (1:14.7208-seconds). Telitz, was involved in two crashes in St. Pete, one of which damaged his car so badly that he couldn’t race in the season opener. He would have to borrow a car from Carlin to race in the second race, but he was collected in an opening lap crash in that race too.
Rookies Pato O’Ward (1:14.9241-seconds) and Victor Franzoni (1:14.9866-seconds) rounded out the top five in the session.
The series will qualify tomorrow morning at 10:05 am. ET/9:05 am locally, then race at 2:50 p.m. ET/1:50 p.m. CT.