Mar 2, 2013
Matthew Brabham kicked off the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires with a third place in Round 1 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and a victory in Round 2.
The third-generation driver, who won the 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 championship, went from third to first and the start of the second 20-lap race and was never seriously challenged en route to his first win in the series.
"What a fantastic race," Brabham said. "It feels great to be on the top step of the podium. We managed to find the speed we had all through testing leading up to the race and the car was awesome in the race. The team worked hard over night and we tried a few things in the warm-up today. We kept the changes, and they really worked well for us in the race.
"I got a good start and made a challenge for the lead into the first corner and managed to slip through on the inside."
Brabham's Andretti Autosport teammate, Shelby Blackstock, moved from eighth to second by avoiding a first turn melee that eliminated front-row starter Spencer Pigot's car and damaged the car of Petri Suvanto. Blackstock maintained the second spot position a late restart allowed Race 1 winner Diego Ferreira to get past for the runner-up spot.
"We had a awesome start and went from ninth to second in the first turn," Blackstock said. "After that we were doing really good until I didn't get it into second (gear) in Turn 15 and bogged down on the exit and Diego was able to get by. All in all, happy with the podium."
Scott Anderson was fourth, followed by Suvanto, who restarted last and drove through the pack to take fifth.
Jeff Garibotti claimed Expert Class honors (for drivers over 30 years of age), finishing 12th in his Garibotti Racing entry.
Ferreira leads Brabham by four points (58-54) after two rounds in the 16-race season, while Blackstock, Anderson and Suvanto are all tied with 34 points as the series heads to Florida for a doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
"It was a pretty difficult race," Ferreira said. "I managed to get up into second and I am happy. I'm still leading the points, and for sure this is the plan for the whole year and I will work hard to stay there.”