LEXINGTON, Ohio, July 30 — Kris Wright showcased his sponsors, PPG and Esmark Steel Group, in front of a large crowd over the weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as he finished all three races in a tripleheader staged by the Pro Mazda Series Presented by Cooper Tires that supported Sunday's Verizon IndyCar Series race.
Wright, of Pittsburgh, Pa., recorded two top-10 finishes of seventh on Friday and eighth on Saturday. He was just a few seconds from a third top-10 finish when he placed 11th on Sunday on Mid-Ohio's 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course, which is considered to be one of the most challenging circuits in North America.
Wright got consistently faster all weekend. He set his fastest lap of the event, a time of 1:21.530, on the final lap of Sunday's race, carving more than three-tenths of a second off his qualifying time after doing his best to conserve his tires for a final push.
He had thrilling battles in all three races. He had his best starting position in Friday's race when he lined up on the outside of Row 3. After 22 laps of torrid competition he was just 0.5556 of a second behind the sixth-place finisher and nearly 13 seconds ahead of eighth place.
He started eighth on Saturday, but got seventh at the start by passing veteran Bobby Eberle. Wright did a masterful job of not getting caught up in an accident in the late stages of that race, as Jeff Green spun right in front of him in the Carousel turn on lap 23. Another accident at the end of that race set up a one-lap shootout, but Wright successfully brought his JDC MotorSports-prepared car home in eighth place.
Tire conservation was on his mind throughout the third and final race on Sunday, but he proved that he'd accomplished that when he was able to achieve his personal best lap of the weekend at the end of that race.
"I want to thank PPG and Esmark Steel Group for the opportunity to represent them at Mid-Ohio this weekend, and for all the hard work by everyone at JDC MotorSports," Wright said. "We had a good car and the whole weekend was a great learning experience. We made a lot of progress. I felt more comfortable in the car as the weekend went on, and I did my fastest lap of the weekend on the very last lap of Sunday's race. It just makes me want to come back here as soon as possible and test so we can go even faster when we return."
"Kris got faster and more proficient as the weekend progressed," noted his driver coach, sports car champion Nic Jonsson. "He set his fastest lap of the weekend on his last lap. I'm very pleased with his progression, and I'm looking forward to continuing that at the next race. I also want to give a big thank you to JDC for giving him a great, reliable car, and for being supportive."
Coverage of the weekend's action can be found on Road to Indy TV.
The Pro Mazda series is the second step in the Mazda Road to Indy system that grooms future IndyCar stars. Over 70 percent of the field at Mid-Ohio were series rookies.
The next Pro Mazda event is Aug. 26 at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis. The season concludes with a doubleheader Sept. 2-3 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Wright also competes in the IMSA Prototype Challenge series, where he is currently third in the Mazda Prototype Challenge point standings. Two weekends remain in the 2017 season for that series: Aug. 11-13 on the street course at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, and Oct. 4-7 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
More information is available on Wright's Web site at KrisWrightMotorsports.com. Fans can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram. The Pro Mazda series' Web site is at promazda.com, while the Prototype Challenge series' Web site is at imsa.com.
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