Watkins Glen Pro Mazda: Franzoni stretches lead over Martin
Juncos Racing's Victor Franzoni scored his sixth win of the season but only after he passed the fast-starting but fair-fighting Anthony Martin, who now falls eight points behind his title rival.
Franzoni made a clean start but had Cape Motorsports’ Martin filling his mirrors. Into the Bus Stop chicane, Martin swept around the outside to grab the lead and at the end of the first lap he had more than half a second advantage. The pair were chased at some distance by the Team Pelfrey quartet, in the order of Carlos Cunha, Robert Megennis on his series debut, Nikita Lastochkin and TJ Fischer.
However at the end of Lap 2, Megennis and Lastochkin made contact at Turn 9 promoting Fischer into fourth, with Sting Ray Robb fifth for World Speed Motorsports, and Matt Machiko sixth for ArmsUp Motorsports. The clash brought out a full-course yellow.
The restart with fewer than 16mins to go saw Franzoni trying to replicate Martin’s move at the Bus Stop but failing, while also having to check his mirrors for Cunha. Fischer’s terrible restart resulted in him dropping to 11th after contact with Kris Wright of JDC Motorsports.
On Lap 8, Machiko passed Robb for fourth, as Wright passed Bobby Eberle in the second World Speed car.
Up front Martin held a quarter-second lead over Franzoni who in turn was just half a second ahead of Cunha, having the best race of his season. On Laps 9 and 10, Cunha therefore had a grandstand seat for another failed round-the-outside attempt on Martin into the Bus Stop. This trio were already 15sec ahead of fourth place, now reclaimed by Robb.
Franzoni tried again on Lap 10, at the Heel of the Boot, Turn 8, but Martin made sure he left no room around the outside and clung to the lead. Finally on Lap 12, Franzoni started towing up to Martin early, at Turn 3, and that extra momentum was enough to see him pass Martin into the Bus Stop. The Juncos driver quickly pulled away to the tune of 1sec next time past the start/finish line, 2.2sec on Lap 13, as they took the white flag, and 3.6sec at the checkers.
All Martin could do was make sure he stayed 0.7sec ahead of Cunha, while behind them Robb (20sec back) beat Wright (13sec further back) and Machiko.
The result sees Franzoni pull eight points clear in the championship, with one race (tomorrow) remaining.
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