Mazda Road to Indy Contenders Begin 2015 Season at Cooper Tires Winterfest
 February 16, 2015| 
  • Series News

Pro Mazda and USF2000 Teams Vie for $50,000 Cooper Tires Prize Fund

Palmetto, Fla. – The international nature of this year’s Mazda Road to Indy will be featured prominently this week as drivers from no fewer than 15 nations take part in the annual preseason Cooper Tires Winterfest at NOLA Motorsports Park, near New Orleans, La., and Barber Motorsports Park, near Birmingham, Ala. The Winterfest will hold special significance, since both venues also will host rounds of the “regular season” championships which begin on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 28/29.

All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – which collectively offer opportunities for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series via scholarship packages at every level, will be in action.

The Indy Lights teams will have two days of testing, totaling 10 hours of track time, at each venue, beginning at NOLA on Wednesday, February 18, before moving to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday, February 24. Contestants in Pro Mazda and USF2000, meanwhile, will contest three races at each track, beginning at NOLA on Thursday, February 19, and then switching over to Barber the following Wednesday, February 25, competing for an enhanced prize fund totaling $50,000 and early bragging rights.

Eidson, Telitz, Franzoni, Agren Among Multi-National Entry for USF2000
An impressive list of 10 different nationalities will be represented among the 18 drivers entered for the fifth annual USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest.

Fellow Americans and Team USA Scholarship winners Jake Eidson, from Memphis, Tenn., and Aaron Telitz, from Rice Lake, Wis., head a strong roster of returning drivers. Eidson, who finished third in the 2014 title-chase, joins Pabst Racing for the Winterfest, while Telitz, who won last year at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis en route to Rookie of the Year honors and fourth in the overall standings, has joined four-time defending champion team Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing alongside Frenchman Nico Jamin, who finished ninth last year.

Brazilian Victor Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport) also is expected to challenge for honors after winning once in 2014 with three additional podium finishes and taking fifth in the final standings. Franzoni has topped five of six recent official series test sessions.

A gifted crop of rookies will include Australian F1600 race winners Jordan Lloyd and Anthony Martin aboard a pair of John Cummiskey Racing Van Diemen-Mazdas, and Canadian karting prodigy Parker Thompson (JDC MotorSports). Add in, too, a talented four-car lineup for series newcomer and former Pro Mazda championship-winning Team Pelfrey comprising F1600 Championship Series winner Ayla Agren, from Norway, Garth Rickards, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., Russian Nikita Lastochkin and Australian Luke Gabin, who earned his opportunity via a MAZDASPEED Scholarship after winning both the 2014 Skip Barber Racing Summer Series and the Skip Barber Championship Shootout.

Live timing for all sessions will be available on the series website.

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