Young American Spencer Pigot wins $1 million scholarship as Mazda Road to Indy season concludes at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Entering the final weekend, Spencer Pigot had a six-point deficit to Juncos Racing teammate Jack Harvey in the Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, but sweeping both races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca turned that into a championship. Pigot now lays claim to the $1 million Mazda Road to Indy scholarship that will guarantee him three 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series races including the Indianapolis 500. It’s Pigot’s second consecutive Mazda scholarship – fourth overall – having won the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires last year.
The 21-year-old American didn’t earn the pole for the first race at Mazda Raceway, but took the lead on lap 3 after polesitter Max Chilton (Carlin) clipped the tire stack at the apex of the Corkscrew.
Kyle Kaiser, from Santa Clara, Calif., started second, but slipped to third when he went a bit wide at Turn 2. He got his second-place position back when Chilton had his incident and finished second in front of his home crowd. Englishman Ed Jones (Carlin) kept his own championship aspirations alive after finishing third.
However, when Pigot swept to victory in Sunday’s Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Cooper Tires by taking the lead on the first lap and commanding the race from there, it denied Harvey and Jones any shot at the title.
Sean Rayhall finished second for 8Star Motorsports, while Chilton posted a new Indy Lights race lap record of 1:16.1633 (105.783 mph) en route to third place for the Carlin team.
Pigot started on the outside of the front row for Sunday’s championship decider. He knew a podium finish would be enough to secure the championship. Title rival Harvey, who started directly behind Pigot for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian, made it three wide as the field accelerated toward the green flag, then over the left-handed crest at Turn 1 and downhill into the braking area for the Mario Andretti hairpin.
Everyone made it through unscathed, although after Chilton, who started on the pole, and Harvey each left their braking a fraction too late, it was Pigot who emerged with the early advantage ahead of Rayhall, who found his way into second from sixth on the grid.
Soon afterward, Harvey was assessed a penalty after being adjudged to have jumped the start. He rejoined at the back of the pack, his title aspirations virtually at an end.
After a pair of early full-course cautions due to Schmidt Peterson teammates Scott Anderson and Ethan Ringel both running into difficulties, Pigot once again took off into the lead with Rayhall in hot pursuit.
Harvey ended up second in the championship points, with Jones in third and RC Enerson in fourth.