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Jun 30, 2014 - 04:09 PM
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Rising Star Racing Takes 1-2 Finish In Houston Grand Prix
Posted by: newsla on Jun 30, 2014 - 04:02 PM
Support Series News
Rising Star Racing Takes 1-2 Finish In Houston Grand Prix


Rising Star Racing drivers Spencer Pigot and Neil Alberico stamped their names on the Grand Prix of Houston with authority as the two drivers combined for a 1-2 finish in Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires competition on Sunday. The race, which was the second round of a two-race weekend, was staged ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series race in blistering Houston heat.

 

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After race one saw Alberico knocked out of the event while Pigot fought to finish eighth in mixed conditions, race two yielded much better results for the Rising Star Racing duo.

Pigot took the lead on the first lap despite having contact that ultimately broke his rear wing. But his Junco Racing-prepared Mazda didn’t falter as he and Alberico exchanged fastest laps of the race with less than a second separating them through much of the 45-minute event. Alberico gave chase in the closing laps of the race, but despite setting a new track record, wasn’t able to catch Pigot for the win.

The victory is Pigot’s fifth of the season and sees the Indianapolis resident return to the top of the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires points with a 17-point advantage.

“It’s been a rough patch for us the last few race weekends,” said Pigot. “Even coming out here on Friday, we were really off the pace. We just kept working harder and harder and looking over every area where we could improve the car and improve our driving. Slowly but surely we made our way to the front row yesterday and led the first half of the race but it was a crazy race with all the rain. We came out today with the same idea – we lost the points lead so we had to come out and win the race. It was a great day for the points and a great day for the team. I am very happy with the way today went. Neil [Alberico] and I have a mutual sponsor in Rising Star Racing and it’s great to be up here one-two for them.”

After having such a frustrating first race outcome, the big comeback for Alberico had the Californian in a much improved mood after the race.

“I’d have to say that what happened yesterday (contact from teammate) is pretty much the worst team situation you can have, but the Cape guys bounced back incredibly well-not only did they get the car fixed in time, but Scott (Hargrove) and I talked it out and shook hands and were ready to move on for race two. So to have the biggest crash of my life one day and then turn around the next day with such a fast car and really a great race was awesome. I was hoping to catch Spencer but he just didn’t make any mistakes. It was cool to have two Rising Star guys on the podium and now I just want to make the most of this break before we get going again at Mid-Ohio.”

For Rising Star Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden, the Houston weekend is one to put in the rear view mirror. The Tennessee native suffered double disappointment in both rounds of Houston action, with contact ending the day early in race one. After starting the race deep in the pack, a strong charge forward was thwarted when an issue with the pit equipment meant that Newgarden lost a wheel on course, ending the day early. Newgarden will look to make up for the frustrating event with a big oval outing next weekend at Pocono Raceway.

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