Canadian Driver and Team Dominate Oval Event to Extend Championship Lead
BROWNSBURG, IN (May 25, 2018) – Having made their Mazda Road to Indy debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda last year, Exclusive Autosport logged its first visit to the 5/8-mile banked Lucas Oil Raceway oval over the Memorial Day weekend and came away with a massive win in the Pro Mazda Championship Present by Cooper Tires’ Freedom 90. Red Deer, Alberta’s Parker Thompson followed up his victory at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course two weeks ago with a sweep of the Carb Night Classic, winning the pole and the 90-lap Friday evening feature race to extend his lead in the championship to 40 points
“Wow, what a weekend! I can’t say enough about this entire Exclusive Autosport team,” enthused Michael Duncalfe, Exclusive Autosport Team Principal. “These guys are amazing. We’ve had to overcome a few ‘speed bumps’ this year, and this weekend in particular. Yet, this team digs in and make the impossible, possible. This EA crew gave Antonio and Parker two amazing cars and the drivers demonstrated how great the cars truly were. I am so proud of Antonio! It is incredible to see his development and growth every weekend. I am thrilled he was able to secure another solid top-10 finish. Parker, he is on a mission! His qualifying attempt was brilliant, securing the pole position for the Freedom 90. Parker drove a flawless race from green to checkered. I cannot say enough about this young man and his work ethic both on and off track. I am so proud of this entire EA team.”
Thompson, Serravalle and lead engineer Tim Lewis hit the track in fine form to begin testing at Lucas Oil Raceway on Thursday, dialing in their set-ups in preparation for Friday’s single-car qualifying run and 90-lap race. Thompson has experience at the facility, having finished second in the USF2000 race in 2016 after starting on the pole. Parker was quickest in the official Pro Mazda practice session on Thursday afternoon, while Antonio was following the run plan to allow himself time to acclimate to the oval.
Thompson laid it all on the line during qualifying to secure the inside of the front row, running the ragged edge to win the pole with a two-lap average speed of 107.264 mph. Serravalle turned his fastest laps of the day with a two-lap average of 103.167 mph in a run that was focused on making clean laps to stay out of trouble. The performance would net a starting spot on the outside of the fifth row.
In the race, Thompson quickly pulled out to a comfortable lead and then handled a single restart midway through the race when an incident between David Malukas and Harrison Scott brought out the yellow flag. Late-race traffic made things interesting as Parker was very deliberate in his approach to the slower cars, which allowed second-place running Carlos Cunha to close over the final laps. Thompson was still unchallenged at the line, winning by 0.221 seconds. Serravalle attacked his first oval race, looking more like a veteran oval racer than a rookie. He skillfully navigated the 90-lap race moving through the field to finish eighth, his best finish of the year.
The next stop on the MRTI circuit will take the team to the iconic Road America facility in Elkhart Lake, WI. The team will participate in an official series test in mid-June ahead of the doubleheader race weekend on the 4-mile track on June 22-24.
Exclusive Autosport is pleased to be able to partner with great companies, such as AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology (www.rethinkpaint.com), which is used on all their race cars.
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
PRO MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES
CARB NIGHT CLASSIC – FREEDOM 90
LUCAS OIL RACEWAY – CLERMONT, IN
PARKER THOMPSON – PRO MAZDA #90
Qualifying: 1st – 107.264 mph
Race: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “This year’s Freedom 90 race in Pro Mazda was very special for me. It was one of those magic moments a driver can only dream of. I have always shown good speed on ovals, but to finally get that first win in dominant fashion was something I wanted on my resume. It also doesn’t get better than winning in front of an Indiana crowd in the month of May. This win is dedicated to everyone at Exclusive Autosport. My mechanic Joe Penner, my crew chief Jay Green, and the rest of the #EhTeam did an unbelievable job all week. I am very proud to work and win with such great people. Shout out to goes to Pat Kerr, and the One-to-1 Fitness gym in Red Deer. I couldn’t have been more prepared physically for the Freedom 90!”