ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. – Cape Motorsports continued their bid to win the title in the 2017 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, engineering their driver Anthony Martin to a win and a runner-up finish at Elkhart Lake, WI’s Road America in the third event on the six-weekend schedule.
Martin started second and finished second in the opening event of the doubleheader, and then came back for the weekend capper, leading the race from start to finish, holding off the charges of Victor Franzoni after a late-race caution eliminated the cushion that he’d been able to develop. This impressively consistent performance maintains Martin’s position in the championship standings, as the Australian sits just seven points back of Franzoni in second overall with three weekends remaining.
“Anthony was flawless this weekend and we did our best to give him a car that could win races,” commented team owners Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “He won the USF2000 title with us last year and we’re all dedicated to making sure he can win again this season.”
Martin led the speed charts in Thursday practice around the four-mile, 14-turn Road America layout, and then qualified second for the opening race of the doubleheader in drying conditions after overnight rain. The start of the first Pro Mazda race on Friday afternoon was incredibly exciting, as Martin and Franzoni went side-by-side through many corners before Anthony settled into second. The race calmed down from there as Martin took second, his fifth straight top-four finish.
Qualifying for Race 2 was extremely positive as Anthony took to the top of the charts quickly, securing the inside front row starting position and the crucial bonus point that comes with the pole position. When the race went green on Saturday afternoon, Martin quickly checked out on the field to build a comfortable gap, and he was also able to hold the lead and again pulled a cushion through the first two caution periods of the race. The car was perfect and Anthony set a blistered pace to extend his lead to over five seconds until a lap-nine caution again slowed the field and reset the story for a one-lap shootout for the win, as Franzoni sat second, primed to fight for the win. On the final restart of the weekend, Martin hit all his marks and kept Franzoni at bay to score a 0.1799-second triumph, his third win of the season.
The team will be back in action in late July when the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for a crucial tripleheader weekend on the undulating 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course.
DRIVER PERFORMANCE / QUOTE
PRO MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES
EVENT #3 – JUNE 22-24, 2017
ROAD AMERICA – ELKHART LAKE, WI
ANTHONY MARTIN – PRO MAZDA #8
Qualifying 1: 2nd – 2:07.9055
Qualifying 2: 1st – 2:08.5862
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 2nd
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “The event was an extremely hard fought weekend for us. We didn’t quite have the pace of Victor (Franzoni), so it was a great challenge to try to hold him off. During the first race, I was unable to keep him behind me at the start, but coming home second is good for the championship points. For the second race, we improved the car and because I was starting pole and Victor was coming from last, I knew I had to make a ‘run’ for it early on in the race. I was able to get into the lead and had a six-second lead to Victor in third. However, much to my dismay, the safety car came out for an incident which quickly erased the lead. From this point on, all I had to do was not make any mistakes and hit all the apexes. It was tough, as another two safety cars came out, so having to do restarts was tough to keep him behind me. Thankfully, after the last lap dash, I was able to hold him off and take the win, which is important for the championship hunt. I am looking forward to the next few races and can’t wait for some more intense battles.”