After splitting Friday with Pato O’Ward on top in Practice 1 and Aaron Telitz fastest in Practice 2, both Team Pelfrey drivers swapped the stop spot in qualifying with Telitz the final occupant, winning pole for Saturday’s Race 1.
The first session of the day, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying began at 7:50 a.m. EDT with the nine-car field taking to the track.
As laps clicked off, O’Ward and then Telitz traded the fastest lap with each time getting successively quicker. The only challenger that appeared to be able to run with the two yellow-and-black cars was the No. 2 Cape Motorsports entry of Nico Jamin.
There were two incidents but neither brought out a red flag. First, TJ Fischer in the No. 81 for Team Pelfrey made contact with the Turn 11 wall. While it appeared that Fischer would continue, the incident turned out to be terminal and the Team Pelfrey driver retired from the session.
Following the checkered flag, the No. 00 of Parsons ended up in the wall at the exit of Turn 1 where his damaged race car was tended to by the Holmatro Safety team.
Prior to the end of the session, Telitz came to pit lane with three minutes remaining. Having the fastest time by more than a quarter second, the team brought their top driver in as others continued to turn laps.
The decision was not detrimental to Telitz whose lap at 1:10.763 was by far the quickest of the early-morning session.
Teammate O’Ward ended qualifying with the second-fastest lap, 0.2555 seconds behind Telitz.
Jamin, the reigning USF2000 champion, maintained the third-fastest time, trailing Telitz by 0.4980 seconds.
Parsons and Will Owen completed the top five with Jorge Cevallos, Nicolas Dapero, Bobby Eberle and Fischer rounding out the top nine.
The series is back on track for the first race of the doubleheader weekend at 5:20 p.m. EDT.