Birmingham, Ala. - Aaron Telitz produced a stunning performance this evening at Barber Motorsports Park to earn victory in the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda races that will comprise this weekend's Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Alabama.
Victor Franzoni finished second for Afterburner Autosport after leading most of the race, while Jake Edison extended his championship lead to 18 points, 130-118 over Telitz, after taking third for Pabst Racing.
Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., started fourth and moved up one place on the opening lap when teammate Nico Jamin tangled with Franzoni in Turn Two. The pole-winner came off worst as his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing Van Diemen-Mazda ended up in the gravel and out of the race. Telitz then ran third for the majority of the 20-lap, 30-minute contest, in the wheel tracks of Franzoni and Eidson.
Telitz made his first impressive move on Lap 18, diving to inside of Eidson under braking for Turn Five to move into second place. One lap later he pulled off an even more audacious maneuver by pulling alongside Brazilian rival Franzoni under braking for the same turn - this time on the unfavored outside line. To his credit, Franzoni kept it clean and Telitz kept his nerve to take the lead and edge away over the final two laps to earn his first win of the season. The victory brought welcome redemption after losing the lead just two weeks ago at NOLA Motorsports park due to a drive-shaft failure. Telitz also secured the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award.
Luke Gabin, who graduated to USF2000 after winning last year's Skip Barber Championship Shootout and a MAZDASPEED scholarship, ran a strong fourth for Team Pelfrey in the early stages before an off-course excursion led to a broken nosecone. Australian Anthony Martin (John Cummiskey Racing) profited to claim fourth for the third time this season, while Canadian Parker Thompson finished fifth for JDC MotorSports.
The PFC Award went to the winning car owners Dominic and Nicholas Cape of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, and the Staubli Award to Martin.
The sixth round of the 16-race season and the second leg of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Alabama will start tomorrow at 5:20 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Live timing and commentary for all sessions will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at usf2000.com.