Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire Long Beach preview
The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire series (and it’s forerunners) will take to the streets of Long Beach California for the nineteenth time since 1989. The winners list reads like a who’s who of American open wheel racing and includes: Paul Tracy, Eric Bachelart, Greg Moore Christiano da Matta and Conor Daly.
Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Townsend Bell, J.R. Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Carlos Munoz and Gabby Chaves are current Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that won Indy Lights races at the annual “Roar By The Shore”.
Twelve drivers will take try to tame 1.968 mile 11-Turn circuit carved between the concrete canyons of downtown Long Beach and anchored by three of the most recognizable features in North American motorsport: the visually stunning run around the fountain, the diabolically tight hairpin that is Turn 11 and the super-fast blast down the gentle curve of Shoreline Dr.
Current points leader, Ed Jones and his Toys for Boys Miami/United Rivers sponsored No. 11 Mazda/Dallara will try to extend his perfect season for one more weekend. The 20 year-old Carlin driver was a double pole and race winner in St. Petersburg.
SPM with Curb-Agajanian sophomore pilot Jack Harvey will try and use his experience at Long Beach to eat into the 14 point lead that Jones has built. The Lincoln, England native started sixth and finished fourth at this event one year ago.
Juncos Racing pilots Spencer Pigot and Kyle Kaiser were both born in California and will be looking to continue strong starts to their Indy Lights campaign in their home state. Pigot, the reigning Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire Champion scored two podium finishes and currently sits third in points. Kaiser guided his InterVision/NetApp/Juniper Networks sponsored No. 18 to a pair fifth place finishes that have left him tied for fourth in the championship.
Formula 1 veteran and current Nisaan factory driver Max Chilton hopes to rebound from a disappointing Indy Lights debut and will be trying to put some pressure on his young Carlin teammate, Jones.
Only two championship points separate sophomore Indy Lights drivers Juan Piedrahita and Scott Anderson, and both will be looking to use their Long Beach experience to move up the championship table. Anderson started seventh and finished ninth one year ago, while Piedrahita started eighth and finished seventh.
Confirmation of participation for Andretti Autosport’s Matthew Brabham came late in the game when The Stellrecht Company stepped up to make sure that the familiar familial No. 83 would be in the field. Success at Long Beach runs in the Brabham family. “Matty” scored an Indy Lights podium last year, while his father Geoff has two Formula Atlantic wins and two IndyCar podiums to his name.
Looking to rebound from off weekends at St. Petersburg will be SPM with Curb-Agajanian’s Ethan Ringel and RC Enerson, Belardi Auto Racing’s Felix Serralles and Andretti Autosport’s Shelby Blackstock. All four drivers showed potential, but all four ran into issues at St. Pete.
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire Long Beach Schedule (all times local)
- 1:30pm-2:15pm —> Practice 1
- 9:15am-9:45am —> Practice 2
- 12:55pm-1:40pm —> Qualifying
- 8:45am-9:45am —> Race
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire driver standings (after two races)
- Ed Jones (R) —> 64
- Jack Harvey —> (-14)
- Spencer Pigot (R) —> (-20)
- Scott Hargrove (R) —> (-30)
- Kyle Kaiser (R) —> (-30)
- Max Chilton (R) —> (-36)
- Juan Piedrahita —>(-37)
- Scott Anderson —> (-39)
- Matthew Brabham —> (-39)
- Ethan Ringel (R) —> (-42)
- Felix Serralles (R) —> (-43)
- Shelby Blackstock (R) —> (-43)
- RC Enerson (R)—> (-44)
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire team standings (after two races)
- Carlin —> (57)
- Juncos Racing (-7)
- SPM with Curb-Agajanian (-14)
- 8Star Motorsports (-31)
- Belardi Auto Racing (-42)
- Andretti Autosport (-44)
A veteran racer looks for a new start with Indy Lights squad, Team Moore
Long time Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire participants Team Moore have announced that they will be joining the Indy Lights field with driver Alfonso “Picho” Toledano. The 28 year-old second generation Mexican driver will make his debut at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and will contest the remainder of the 2015 schedule. The No. 2 will be sponsored by Casa Don Ramon, a 100% Mexican tequila brand.
“I’m really happy to finally close a deal to race in the Indy Lights program,” said Toledano. “Many years ago I dreamed of it and wanted to be in the series after a personal experience with the IndyCar Medical staff. They saved my life after a huge racing accident. Coming to Indianapolis feels like home and like my biggest achievement in life where I plan to continue and consolidate my racing career.”
After a successful karting career, Mexico City native started making his way up the open wheel ladder. The journey included a third place finish in the 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 Panam GP Series and a chance to test for Team Mexico in the A1 Grand Prix series. It was during an A1GP test at Ponce, Peurto Rico that Toledano suffered a shunt that severely damaged his legs. It was after this accident that he made the journey to Indianapolis to be pieced back together.
Toledano just recently began a comeback and spent the 2014 season contesting the Formula Acceleration 1 season in Europe. The loosely resembles the old A1GP series and even utilizes the same Lola B05/52 – Zytek package.
“Everyone at Team Moore Racing is excited to have Picho on board and to be moving forward together at our first race of the season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the road course,” said TMR owner Mark Moore. “Picho is an exceptional young man who has fought hard after a huge set back early in his career. Many young drivers today don’t possess the spirit that this young driver has. He truly wants to race and win and has overcome huge obstacles to reach this point in his career. I would like to thank Enric Ramon for supporting such a fine young man and we will all work together to reach our goals both on track and off. We will do our best to market and promote his fine beverage products. This is truly a huge step in our sport and we are very proud to be a part of it.
Team Moore is a Pitsboro, Indiana based team that was formed by Mark Moore and Tom Wood in 2007. In that time they have accumulated eight wins, eight poles, 28 podiums and a second place championship finish by James Hinchcliffe in 2010.
A couple of random Indy Lights notes:
- We are hearing rumors (from multiple sources) of a new team joining the series in May. If the deal materializes, the driver is someone who has competed on the Mazda Road To Indy in the past.
- There is an interesting article on dailysportcar.com, that chronicles the long-and-winding career of 2010 Indy Lights Champion J.K. Vernay. All he does is win, and he can’t seem to catch a break. Hopefully he has found a new home this year.
Don’t miss any of the action
- live timing – Indy Lights
- radio – IndyCar radio at IndyCar Race Control , & IndyCar radio
- on twitter –Indy Lights, Cooper Tire, Mazda Racing and Trackside Online
- via the Road To Indy TV app – Android or Apple iOS
- on all social media channels via the #TeamCooperTire and #MRTI hashtags
Onboard lap of Long Beach with Andretti Autosport driver Matthew Brabham
2014 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire race: