STONEMAN’S SECOND CHANCE
A driver fighting for a championship
rarely has much room for error, but the
battle for the 2016 Pro Mazda Presented
by Cooper Tires crown is taking that
notion to an extreme – after the recent
Toronto round, the points table showed
ties for both first and third places.
Aaron Telitz’s hopes of reeling in Team
Pelfrey teammate Pato O’Ward for the
championship lead were given a huge lift
with a clean sweep of wins at the Toronto
doubleheader, putting him and O’Ward on
a level pegging with five races remaining.
“What a weekend for the team,” said
Telitz. “The deficit [to O’Ward] is cut and
we’re going to battle it out.”
O’Ward admits the title fight is closer
than he’d like, but the Texas-based
Mexican’s confidence remains unshaken.
“This points race just got a bit tighter,
CLOSE AS POSSIBLE
but I’m not worried,” he said. “I know what
I have to do to win this championship and
I think my experience will pay off.”
Just behind them, last year’s USF2000
champion Nico Jamin’s Toronto visit
yielded a pair of podiums to bring him
level with Will Owen in the fight to be best
of the non-Pelfreys.
Aaron Telitz’s clean sweep in Toronto had
him shoulder-to-shoulder with Pelfrey
teammate Pato O’Ward as they prepared
for the final championship showdowns.
is a lot better,” he says. “At Indy, when I won…
if you watch the videos, the crowd is going
crazy. I couldn’t believe how many fans came
out, even though we were a support race.
You don’t really get that in GP2 and GP3.”
Nice as it is to feel appreciated though,
Stoneman has his sights set on a very
different kind of adulation: the kind that
comes with winning the championship – as
he did in Formula 2 – and earning an
opportunity in IndyCar, just as last year’s
Lights champion Spencer Pigot has done.
“Really, all that I can do is do the best I
can every weekend, bring the points home,
get the podiums,” he says. “At the end, if
we’ve done our best and scored enough
points, we’ll win the championship. And I’ve
got a good team and a good car, so
there’s no reason why I can’t.”
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“I did no pre-season testing, so we’re
only now getting the car to what I like and
what’s quick,” Stoneman says. “We’ve gone
from having an average car to having one
that’s really quick and able to win.”
Stoneman first flirted with the idea
of racing in Indy Lights a few years ago.
“I tested with Andretti in 2012,” he says.
“But I was still recovering from my
illness, and it wasn’t the right time to
come back to racing yet.”
So until this year, all of his experience
has been in Europe. There have been a
few cultural differences to get a handle
on, such as the varying interpretations of
what constitutes “blocking,” but Stoneman
says that the experience of racing in the
U.S. has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The whole atmosphere of racing over here
Stoneman (MAIN, center) stepped
up on the big stage at IMS, securing
the closest victory in the Speedway’s
history with his 0.0024sec Lights
win over Carlin’s Ed Jones.