Archives for INDY NXT by Firestone

Abel Leads Rough-and-Tumble Opening Practice at St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Friday, March 3, 2023) – Jacob Abel drives for one of the smallest teams in INDY NXT by Firestone, but he produced the biggest lap to lead the opening practice of the 2023 season Friday afternoon in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Series veteran Abel, from Louisville, Kentucky, topped the time charts in a session interrupted by two crashes with a best lap of 1 minute, 6.3288 seconds in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car. He ended up .0364 of a second ahead of rookie Nolan Siegel, who was second overall at 1:06.3652 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car.

SEE: Practice Results

This session started a new era for INDYCAR’s development series, which features a new name and has switched to Firestone tires starting in 2023.

“It was really good,” Abel said. “This Firestone tire is going to be really, really interesting. We didn’t get much time on it in the preseason, so I think a lot of people are going to be learning as the year goes on. Definitely off to a good start, and we’ll see if we can keep it up.”

INDY NXT by Firestone drivers will be on track next at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by qualifying at 1:35 p.m. on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile street circuit that includes the downtown asphalt streets of St. Petersburg and a concrete runway at Albert Whitted Airport. The race starts at 9:50 a.m. Sunday, with live coverage on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Rasmus Lindh ended up third in practice Friday with a top lap of 1:06.4386 in the No. 10 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Lindh returns to INDY NXT for a full season after last competing in the series in a partial campaign in 2021.

Series veteran Danial Frost was fourth at 1:06.5038 in the No. 68 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Another series veteran, Kyffin Simpson, rounded out the top five at 1:06.5232 in the No. 21 HMD Motorsports with CGR car.

Less than one second separated the top 15 drivers in the session, setting the stage for a tight chase for the pole in qualifying Saturday.

Today’s practice started in choppy fashion due to two early crashes by leading returning drivers in the series.

Christian Rasmussen, who finished sixth in the standings last season, saw his session end when his No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car crashed into the barrier in Turn 4 just five minutes into the session.

“I just kind of lost the rear into Turn 4 and don’t have a complete answer on what happened yet,” Rasmussen said. “We’ll get the car back out there, and hopefully we’ll get some more laps in the next practice.”

Just two minutes after the track reopened following Rasmussen’s crash, Hunter McElrea made hard contact with the barrier in Turn 3 in his No. 27 Smart Motors car fielded by Andretti Autosport. McElrea, the series’ 2022 Rookie of the Year after finishing fourth in points last season, was done for the session.

Dallara Supporting INDY NXT by Firestone with New Awards Package

Source: Series PR

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023) – Dallara, the exclusive chassis manufacturer for INDY NXT by Firestone since 2002, will continue its strong support of INDYCAR’s development series with a robust contingency awards package for the 2023 season.

The 2023 INDY NXT by Firestone season starts March 3-5 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding in St. Petersburg, Florida. The race starts at 9:50 a.m. ET Sunday, March 5, with live coverage on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

“Dallara has been a steadfast partner of INDYCAR’s top development series for more than two decades, and we’re grateful for this meaningful enhancement package for our teams and drivers,” INDY NXT Director Levi Jones said. “This unique program is tailored toward promoting continued skills growth for the future stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, which matches the goal of the series perfectly.”

The 2023 prize package blends parts support and skills development for INDY NXT drivers and teams, including:

•A $10,000 credit for parts and services to the highest-finishing INDY NXT by Firestone championship driver participating in the Dallara contingency program.

•A full-day simulator session for the highest-finishing driver in the INDY NXT by Firestone season standings participating in the program.

•A half-day simulator session for the second- and third-place finishing drivers in the season standings participating in the program.

Dallara is developing a social media program to promote its INDY NXT by Firestone contingency award program and the Italian manufacturer’s partnership with the series.

Drivers become eligible for the Dallara contingency awards package by promoting Dallara’s involvement in the sport a number of times per season on their social media channels, including Dallara social tags.

This program deepens Dallara’s commitment to INDYCAR as the exclusive chassis manufacturer and supplier for INDY NXT by Firestone and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

“We are thrilled to offer this INDY NXT award to the series,” Dallara CEO Stefano dePonti said. “There are only three Dallara professional driving simulators in the world, and one of them is located at our U.S. headquarters in Speedway. This award aims to provide a great resource and training tools for INDYCAR’s developmental series.

“Thank you to INDY NXT by Firestone for this opportunity. Best of luck to all the drivers as they kick off their season this weekend.”

Rookie Kirkwood Drives Foyt Team to Top of Detroit Practice

DETROIT (Friday, June 3, 2022) – A significant off-track week for Kyle Kirkwood extended to more good news Friday on track at the Raceway at Belle Isle.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Kirkwood was the quickest driver under sunny skies Friday afternoon during the opening practice for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, with a best lap of 1 minute, 16.1345 seconds in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet. The practice-leading performance – the first time Kirkwood or a Foyt driver has led a session this season – came just two days after Andretti Autosport announced Kirkwood will replace 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the team’s No. 27 AutoNation Honda starting in the 2023 season.

SEE: Practice Results

This was the second session Kirkwood led today on the 14-turn, 2.35-mile temporary street circuit. He also was the quickest driver in the GTD class during the second practice for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, as Kirkwood is pulling double duty this weekend.

Kirkwood’s speed in both machines shouldn’t be that surprising, as he won both Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races last June on Belle Isle en route to the 2021 series championship.

“I guess I really like this place,” Kirkwood said. “It’s going well so far. The car was quick for Seb (Bourdais) last year through the practices and qualifying, as well. We (Foyt team) kind of brought that same car, maybe a little bit of upgrades. It paid off.

“We’ll see how the track evolves. It can always change as a street course. You never know. But right now we’re feeling good, feeling confident. We’ve been solid at all the street courses. It’s nice to see our name at the top of the charts.”

Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge runner-up Pato O’Ward ended up in the same position today with a top lap of 1:16.1556 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Rossi, who was announced Thursday as O’Ward’s new Arrow McLaren SP teammate starting in 2023, was third at 1:16.5146 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.

Simon Pagenaud was fourth at 1:16.6177 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda, while newly crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top five at 1:16.6574 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda despite a busy week of media and publicity work after his stirring Indy victory, including a whirlwind promotional tour of New York City on Tuesday.

Ericsson and O’Ward also picked up where they left off last year, as they were the winners of the doubleheader event in 2021. This year’s event – the last on Belle Isle before the race moves to downtown Detroit in 2023 – is a single race Sunday, with live coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET) on USA Network, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Saturday’s action starts with practice at 8:30 a.m., followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 12:35 p.m.

There was one incident during the 45-minute session Friday. Felix Rosenqvist slid through Turn 1 and hit the tire barrier with his No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, inflicting moderate damage to the left side of the car. Rosenqvist was unhurt.

New Era for Indy Lights Begins on Streets of St. Petersburg

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022) – While anticipation for the 2022 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season continues to grow, the return to the Streets of St. Petersburg also marks a new era for Indy Lights as INDYCAR takes over operational control of its developmental series.

It comes as Andretti Autosport looks to add to its Indy Lights championship total of five after driver Kyle Kirkwood took the title in 2021. HMD Motorsports returns with five entries, including support from legendary NTT INDYCAR SERIES team Dale Coyne Racing and Global Racing Group. With the addition of Abel Motorsports, African American-led Force Indy and TJ Speed Motorsports, the 2022 entry list will include up to 15 full-time drivers – the most for Indy Lights in 13 years.

All 2022 Indy Lights races will be available on Peacock Premium in the United States, REV TV in Canada and ESPN – Star+ in Latin America and Brazil. For fans outside of those areas, Indy Lights races will be available on the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA. Additional race weekend viewing opportunities will be available at a later date. The award-winning INDYCAR Radio Network also will provide coverage of all Indy Lights sessions.

As previously announced, the new era for the developmental series provides an inclusive atmosphere with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Integration will come in marketing, digital assets and race officiating. Additionally, the Indy Lights’ paddock will be located within the NTT INDYCAR SERIES paddock footprint, where available.

Indy Lights will soon use similar push-to-pass rules as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as increased power will be available to drivers for a predetermined amount of time during the race. Indy Lights also will follow the points championship structure of the INDYCAR SERIES.

“We are proud of the way things have come together as we approach the season opener,” said Levi Jones, director of Indy Lights. “This initial period of integration is only the start as we continue to evolve. Meanwhile, the competition on the track will be as thrilling as ever as the future look of the INDYCAR SERIES will take shape.”

A total of $700,000 in prize money will be divided among the 14 Indy Lights races. The 2022 series champion will receive a scholarship and additional benefits to use toward a 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES entry. As in 2021, the top three finishers in the Indy Lights championship will be eligible for a combine-style test with INDYCAR SERIES teams.

About Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

Celebrating 35 years, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires develops drivers and teams to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Past champions include INDYCAR SERIES champions Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Paul Tracy and Cristiano da Matta. In 2021, 20 drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES were Indy Lights graduates, including rising stars and race winners Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay. The 2022 season consists of 14 races in the United States. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Indy Lights, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, please visit For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit

About Cooper Tire

Cooper Tire, a subsidiary of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT), specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of passenger car, light truck, medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. Cooper is headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, with manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design operations located in more than one dozen countries around the world. For more information on Cooper, visit or

About Goodyear

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 55 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to

News from INDYCAR: Newgarden leads Indy 500 practice; Alonso, Rosenqvist uninjured in separate crashes

Newgarden leads Indy 500 practice; Alonso, Rosenqvist uninjured in separate crashes

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, May 15, 2019) – Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi are content following the second day of practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Fernando Alonso, Felix Rosenqvist and their respective crews have work to do after separate incidents Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESENTED BY GAINBRIDGE: Practice 2 results I Combined practice results

Newgarden, the NTT IndyCar Series points leader after five of 17 races, ran the fastest of more than 3,200 laps turned by 36 drivers on the famed 2.5-mile oval Tuesday, at 228.856 mph in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet. 

“I think we need to be a bit better in traffic,” said Newgarden, the 2017 series champion. “Still trying to figure out exactly what we need on the race car, that was kind of our focus today. We didn’t really do much qualifying sims or anything like that.

“I think the Shell car feels OK. It’s not a bad start. I’m trying to stay careful with it. I always try and respect this place at the beginning. I never try and push until it’s time.”

Scott Dixon, last year’s series champion who trails Newgarden by six points heading into the Indy 500 on May 26, was second on the speed chart at 228.835 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Rossi logged the best lap without the tow of a leading car, at 224.648 mph in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda for Andretti Autosport. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner said the speed was “irrelevant” this early in the week, but he was pleased his team worked through its practice checklist efficiently enough that he was able to sit out the closing hours of the afternoon.

“It was a good day,” Rossi said. “Any day out here is a good day, for sure. Just running through a checklist of things to try and understand everything that we learned over the offseason and applying it to kind of all five (Andretti Autosport) cars in different ways and compiling as much information as we can. 

“That’s the advantage about being on a big team for this event. When you have this much practice, you can really kind of divide and conquer, and I think we’re doing that well so far.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Alonso and Rosenqvist were uninjured but had their days end abruptly in single-car crashes. Alonso’s No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier some 95 minutes into the seven-hour practice. His car slid into the inside barrier on the short chute and then up the track to the outside barrier in Turn 4 before coming to rest.

Alonso exited the car without assistance but disappointed. The McLaren crew spent the afternoon preparing Alonso’s backup car for practice on Thursday.

“It was understeer on the car, and even if I lifted the throttle on the entry of the corner, it was not enough, and I lost completely the front aero,” said Alonso, the two-time Formula 1 champion and 2017 Indy 500 rookie of the year. “The wall came too close and too quickly. Unfortunately, it happened today. 

“I’m sorry for the team, but we will learn and hopefully we will come back stronger tomorrow. I’m disappointed and sad for the team and for the guys. We worked quite a lot on the car and definitely now it’s quite damaged, so I feel sorry for the team and for my mistake.”

With just less than an hour remaining in practice, Rosenqvist made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 2 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Rosenqvist was also uninjured and team officials said he will move to a backup car as well.

“I was behind Colton (Herta) and just trying to run the car in traffic, and I just felt a very sudden change of having a bit of push, and it went very loose, very fast,” Rosenqvist said. “I couldn’t react to it. 

“A shame, but that’s how it is.”

Indianapolis 500 practice resumes Thursday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. ET, ahead of the “Fast Friday” practice at the same time. Both stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.

Qualifying on Saturday runs from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. and will lock in the first 30 positions in the field. INDYCAR Pass will stream the first six hours, with NBCSN taking over from 5-6 p.m.

The second qualifying day on Sunday will determine the final three starters in the 33-car field in the Last Row Shootout, followed by the Fast Nine Shootout to decide the pole sitter and starting order of the first three rows. NBC has live coverage from noon-3 p.m.

The Indianapolis 500 airs for the first time on NBC on Sunday, May 26. Live coverage begins at 11 a.m.

Crucial Weekend at Mid-Ohio Beckons for Mazda Road to Indy Racers

Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 All Set for Action on Iconic Road Course
PALMETTO, Fla. (July 25, 2017) – All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires – the world’s most effective open-wheel development ladder – will be in action this weekend at the scenic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course situated near Lexington, Ohio. Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda are all nearing the climax of their seasons, with Mazda Scholarships up for grabs in all series to assist each of the champions in their quest to progress closer to their goal of a career in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
For the Indy Lights and USF2000 drivers, this weekend will mark the third different genre of race track they have encountered within the past month – competing firstly on the high-banked Iowa Speedway oval, then the sinuous, concrete wall-lined temporary road course within easy reach of bustling downtown Toronto, and now on the more forgiving but no less challenging 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road circuit in rural Ohio. Both series will host a pair of races, while the Pro Mazda campaigners – in action for the first time since Road America last month – will enjoy a triple-header event, all in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Kaiser Poised for Glory in Indy Lights
A dominant weekend for Kyle Kaiser two weeks ago in Toronto has taken the 21-year-old racer from Santa Clara, Calif., to the brink of his dream – an opportunity to win the Mazda Scholarship valued at $1 million which will guarantee the Indy Lights champion entry into at least three Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2018, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500. Kaiser’s pair of victories for Juncos Racing, added to his earlier triumph at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, have catapulted him to a commanding 51-point lead over rookie rival Matheus Leist with just four races remaining, and he could potentially lock up the championship this weekend.
“Coming into Mid Ohio this weekend with a big point lead is definitely unfamiliar territory in my experience, but I’m still treating it like any other race weekend,” says Kaiser. “We’ve had the lead since halfway through May and I haven’t changed my approach for any other races so I don’t feel the need to change anything now. Juncos Racing has done an incredible job making sure that we continue to focus solely on our own program every race weekend while simultaneously being aggressive on the race track and competing for race wins.”
Kaiser will have no shortage of challengers. Prime among them will be teenage rookies Leist, from Novo Hamburgo, Brazil, and Colton Herta, from Valencia, Calif.
Leist, 18, has made quite an impression by winning three times in his first season of racing in North America, although his capabilities were already well known by the Carlin team with which he won last year’s BRDC British Formula 3 Championship. Herta, meanwhile, who at age 17 became the youngest winner in Indy Lights history when he made the first of his two visits to the top step of the podium at St. Petersburg in March for Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing, has underlined his prowess by accumulating three pole positions and one fastest race lap from his four most recent races. Incidentally, Herta’s father, Bryan, counts Mid-Ohio among his most memorable venues after clinching the 1993 Indy Lights Championship in style with a home victory for the Dublin, Ohio-based Tasman Motorsports Group.
Other drivers among a high-quality field include Leist’s Carlin teammate Zachary Claman DeMelo, from Montreal, Que., Canada, who has one win and two additional podium visits in his four most recent starts; last year’s Pro Mazda champion Aaron Telitz (Belardi Auto Racing), who finished a strong second at Toronto; teammate Santi Urrutia, from Miguelete, Uruguay, who won at Mid-Ohio on his way to claiming the Pro Mazda Championship in 2015 and followed up with a sweep of both Indy Lights races last year from the pole; and Frenchman Nico Jamin (Andretti Autosport), who notched a hat-trick of wins at Mid-Ohio on his way to the USF2000 title in 2015, then won both Pro Mazda races in 2016.
Eyes will also be on Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Norman, who will debut a new paint scheme in partnership with rock band Journey for his home race. Born in Cleveland and currently residing in Aurora, Norman has made several significant stops at Mid-Ohio. Moving from AMA and freestyle motocross to cars in 2014, Norman won the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in the Formula Atlantic class at Mid-Ohio in 2016. He went on to capture the Atlantic Championship Series title, earning 10 wins in 16 races including a victory and a third-place finish at Mid-Ohio.
The Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Powered by Mazda will start with a 45-minute practice session on Friday, July 28, followed by half-hour qualifying periods later that day at 1:30 p.m. EDT and another at 9:10 a.m. the following morning which will set the grids for the pair of races – one at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday and the other at 1:20 p.m. on Sunday, immediately prior to the Verizon IndyCar Series headline event.
Sunday’s race will feature same-day coverage on NBCSN at 11:30 pm EDT.
Franzoni, Martin Continue their Tussle for Pro Mazda Honors
The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, which is in the midst of a transition prior to the introduction of a brand-new, Mazda-powered Tatuus PM-18 engine-chassis combination for 2018, is only at the halfway stage. Six races are yet to be run, including a triple-header this weekend at Mid-Ohio. The chase for a Mazda Scholarship worth nearly $800,000 to assist the champion in the progression to Indy Lights, the top step of the Mazda Road to Indy, in 2018 is finely poised with Brazilian Victor Franzoni (Juncos Racing) and Australian Anthony Martin (Cape Motorsports) separated by just seven points.
Martin, who swept all three races at Mid-Ohio last year en route to winning the USF2000 championship and a Mazda Scholarship to progress into Pro Mazda, began his campaign by winning twice on the streets of St. Petersburg, but then at the Indianapolis Grand Prix had to play second fiddle to Franzoni who won both races handily. Franzoni was poised to do likewise last month at Road America, only to be caught out in qualifying for the second race, which meant he had to start from the back.
The 21-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil, charged all the way through to second place but was unable to find a way past Martin, and had to settle for the runner-up placing.
Their respective teams have both enjoyed success at Mid-Ohio in recent years, with Garett Grist claiming pole for both races with Juncos Racing in 2015 and Nico Jamin sweeping last year’s double-header for Cape Motorsports.
“It is going to be extremely difficult to finish ahead of Victor but I think going into Mid-Ohio I have a lot of confidence going off my results from last year in USF2000,” says Martin, 22, from Perth, Australia, as he seeks to emulate Matthew Brabham, who claimed successive USF2000 and Pro Mazda championship crowns in 2012 and 2013. “The Cape Motorsports boys obviously had some success last year in the Soul Red Pro Mazda, so I’m hoping to duplicate that result. My biggest goal is to close the gap or pass Victor for the championship hunt as this is really the ‘make or break’ weekend for us both. It will be tough and I am expecting some exciting racing once again from both of us.”
Californian TJ Fischer lies third in the title-chase and will be looking to rebound from a very promising but ultimately fruitless weekend at Road America where he led for the first time for Team Pelfrey and posted the fastest lap of the race before being ousted by a mechanical problem. Team Pelfrey, which has guided current Indy Lights drivers Santi Urrutia and Aaron Telitz to successive Pro Mazda championships in 2015 and 2016, also will field cars for Brazilian Carlos Cunha and Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin, who, for the first time, secured a pair of podium finishes at Road America.
The battle for the National Class is even closer than for the overall honors, with Kevin Davis, Charles Finelli and Brendan Puderbach separated by just one point. Davis, however, will be unable to make the trip to Mid-Ohio, leaving the FatBoy Racing! teammates to chase the honors, although veteran Bob Kaminsky will be looking to insert himself in the frame. Kaminsky, from Homer Glen, Ill., missed the opening two races of the season in his self-run car but has won two of the four races he has contested since then and lies only 11 points adrift of Finelli and Puderbach.
Competitors in the Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products start their week with a pair of 40-minute test sessions on Thursday, July 27, followed by 30 minutes of official practice later in the afternoon. Qualifying for the first of three races will take place at 9:25 a.m. EDT on Friday, followed by Race One at 3:35 p.m. The grid for the final two races will be set during a separate qualifying session at 8:35 a.m. on Saturday with the green flag for Race Two set for 1:05 p.m. The grid for Race Three, at 10:20 a.m. on Sunday, July 30, will be set according to the second fastest lap posted by each driver in the second period of qualifying.
USF2000 Battle Intensifies Heading into the Final Three Races
A little more than two months ago, rookie Oliver Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., seemed to be cruising toward the USF2000 championship following a sequence of five consecutive victories for the Cape Motorsports team, which has won no fewer than 10 titles since the turn of the century, including six in a row. But his once emphatic 60-point advantage over fellow rookie Rinus VeeKay, from Hoofdorp, The Netherlands, has been trimmed to just 18 with three races remaining, including two this weekend at Mid-Ohio. A total of 99 points – and a coveted Mazda Scholarship to aid in the progression to Pro Mazda for 2018 – are still up for grabs.
The turnaround has occurred partly due to some misfortune for the 20-year-old, including a suspension failure at Road America and then being caught up in someone else’s accident last time out in Toronto, and partly to an impressive streak from VeeKay, who has finished on the podium in the six most recent races, including two wins at his Pabst Racing team’s home track, Road America.
“Yes, the points are close now, but as long as we keep doing what we have been doing all season and can stay clean, I have nothing to worry about,” asserts Askew, who is seeking a second straight Mazda Scholarship after winning the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy $200k USF2000 Shootout last fall. “Cape Motorsports has dominated at Mid-Ohio over the past couple of years so I know I’ll have another quick car underneath me. No matter what happens, I have thoroughly enjoyed the season thus far and I’ll keep fighting until it’s over. I stay extremely grateful for the opportunity Mazda Motorsports has set before me; every day in the position I am in now is a good day.”
“I’m really looking forward to Mid-Ohio,” says VeeKay, who in common with Askew had a strong pedigree in karting before making the move into cars – and specifically USF2000 – for the first time in 2017. “I’m feeling good to have closed the gap to Oliver the last pair of races but I want more. I know it’s going to be hard to beat the Capes and Oliver, but the Pabst Racing team and myself are going to give everything we have in the last events of this USF2000 season.”
The two main title protagonists have a healthy points lead over third-placed Parker Thompson, although it was the USF2000 veteran from Red Deer, Alb., Canada who took advantage of his prior experience and showed both of them the way home in Toronto by claiming the first two wins for new-for-2017 USF2000 team Exclusive Autosport. Thompson currently lies third in the championship.
Other likely front-runners will include VeeKay’s teammates, Calvin Ming, from Guyana, and Brazilian Lucas Kohl, both of whom also have prior experience at Mid-Ohio; the Team Pelfrey pair of Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., and Kaylen Frederick, from Potomac, Md.; and relative newcomer David Malukas, from Chicago Ridge, Ill., who has displayed prodigious pace with his BN Racing team’s Tatuus USF-17 during a partial rookie campaign. Malukas, in his first full season of car racing, also has been contesting the ADAC Formula 4 Championship in Europe.
Three more contenders will join the field this weekend in the form of Phillippe Denes, from Carmel, Calif., who will return to Team Pelfrey after making a strong USF2000 debut last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca before contesting four Pro Mazda races earlier this season; 17-year-old Mexican Andres Gutierrez (DEForce Racing), who was leading the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda sports car series before switching his focus back to open-wheel cars; and F4 regular Jacob Abel, from Louisville, Ky., who will make his debut in a second Newman Wachs Racing Tatuus, alongside Darren Keane, from Parkland, Fla., who finished fourth in the most recent race at Toronto.
Pabst Racing currently leads the Team Championship by 61 points over Cape Motorsports and could potentially clinch the title with a strong run this weekend.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products will commence on Thursday, July 27, with a pair of 40-minute test sessions followed by 30 minutes of official practice. The field then will contest a pair of 30-minute races, one at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Friday and the second at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday. The starting grids will be set by a dedicated 20-minute qualifying session earlier each day.
Coverage of the Mazda Road to Indy can be found on a series of platforms including Road to Indy TV, the Road to Indy TV App and dedicated broadcast channels on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku and, most recently, the Xbox One Official App as well as live streaming and live timing on the series’ respective websites and Indy Lights is also featured on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts on Sirius 214, XM 209,, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Indy Lights and USF2000 Represent Mazda Road to Indy at Iowa Speedway

Second-Generation Oval Racer Chad Boat to Make Indy Lights Debut
PALMETTO, Fla. (July 5, 2017) – Two of the three steps on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will converge this weekend on Iowa Speedway in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Both feeder categories are now beyond the halfway mark in their seasons as drivers vie for prestigious and financially crucial Mazda Scholarships to assist in their progression toward the elite level of open-wheel racing in North America.
This year will mark the 10th appearance of Indy Lights, the top rung of the highly acclaimed MRTI ladder, at the super-fast 0.894-mile oval for the second of three oval track races in 2017, while USF2000 makes its return after visiting rural Newton, Iowa only once previously, in 2010, for its lone oval race of the season.
Kaiser Seeks to Extend his Indy Lights Championship Advantage 
Kyle Kaiser has won only one of the nine Indy Lights races so far this year for Juncos Racing, but a tally of six podium finishes from the seven most recent races has enabled the 21-year-old from Santa Clara, Calif., to open up a substantial 27-point advantage over his rivals. At stake is a Mazda Scholarship valued at $1 million which will guarantee entry into at least three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Kaiser has finished fourth and sixth in his two previous outings on “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”
Others with prior Indy Lights experience at the track include Belardi Auto Racing teammates Santi Urrutia and Shelby Blackstock, the Carlin pair of Zachary Claman DeMelo, who secured an emphatic maiden victory two weeks ago at Road America, and Neil Alberico, plus Juan Piedrahita (Team Pelfrey) and Dalton Kellett (Andretti Autosport).
Nevertheless the driver with the most competitive mileage at Iowa – albeit in stock cars – is Chad Boat, who will be making his Indy Lights debut aboard another Belardi Auto Racing Dallara-Mazda. Boat, 25, from Phoenix, Ariz., has previously earned a pair of third-place finishes and a fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA at Iowa Speedway. Boat’s father, Billy, contested 11 Indy Lights races in 1986 and 1987 with a best finish of third at his home track of Phoenix.
Other favorites for top honors this weekend will include Carlin’s Brazilian rookie Matheus Leist, last year’s British Formula 3 champion who has won two of the three most recent races, including the Freedom 100 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, and the youngest driver in the field, Colton Herta, who displayed prodigious pace for Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing during a pre-season oval test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
Herta, 17, from Valencia, Calif., and Andretti Autosport teammate Nico Jamin, from France, have won two races apiece this season and currently lie third and fourth in the championship table, separated by just two points.
Aaron Telitz, last year’s winner of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, also has visited Victory Lane this season for Belardi Auto Racing.
The 100-lap Mazda Iowa 100 Presented by Cooper Tires will mark the 10th out of 16 Indy Lights races this season. After a pair of practice sessions on Saturday, July 8, and single-car qualifying at 11:15 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning, the green flag is set to fly at 3:00 p.m., as the scene-setter for the weekend’s Iowa Corn 300 Verizon IndyCar Series headline event. Same-day television coverage is set for 4:00 pm EDT on NBCSN.
Pabst Racing Seeks to Build Upon Home-Track Success
Up until the most recent race weekend, Cape Motorsports seemed set for another comfortable romp toward the USF2000 championship title. Despite the adoption of a brand-new Tatuus USF-17 chassis this season, the Florida-based team, which has guided its drivers to no fewer than 10 championships since the turn of the century, including six in a row, had maintained its dominant form through the talents of rookie driver Oliver Askew. However, the Jupiter, Fla., native’s five-race win streak was halted at Elkhart Lake, Wis.’s historic Road America circuit by equally highly rated Dutch teenager Rinus VeeKay, who finally broke through with a pair of finely judged victories for locally based Pabst Racing.
VeeKay’s banner weekend enabled him to whittle Askew’s championship lead from a whopping 60 points to a more manageable 24 heading into Sunday’s Mazda Iowa 60 Presented by Cooper Tires, after which just five races will remain to settle the outcome in the 14-round championship chase. Up for grabs is a Mazda Scholarship worth almost $400,000 which will assist the series champion in graduating to the next step of the Mazda Road to Indy in 2018.
Pabst Racing also will field entries for South Americans Calvin Ming, from Guyana, who added a second-place finish at Road America to the similar result he also achieved on the Indianapolis Grand Prix road course in May, and Brazilian Lucas Kohl, who garnered a career-best third-place finish in Wisconsin.
In addition to Askew, who is chasing a second Mazda Scholarship after winning the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout prize last fall, Cape Motorsports will field a second car for Ricky Donison, from Bangalore, India, who at Indianapolis in May became the first driver from the Asian sub-continent to finish on the podium since the advent of the MRTI in 2010.
Other primary contenders will include Team Pelfrey teenagers Kaylen Frederick, from Potomac, Md., Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., and Jacob Loomis, from Corinth, Texas, plus another trio of cars from the Canadian-based Exclusive Autosport team for Parker Thompson, from Red Deer, Alb., who finished second in the 2016 USF2000 title-chase, Dev Gore, from Atlanta, Ga., and Prince Albert, Sas., native Jayson Clunie. In addition, DEForce Racing, which counts Mexican former IndyCar racer David Martinez among its ownership group, will field a pair of cars for Kory Enders, from Warwick, N.Y., and Moises de la Vara from Guadalajara, Mexico, while ArmsUp Motorsports will enter Syracuse, N.Y. native Devin Wojcik.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda contenders will begin their weekend with a three-hour test session on Friday, July 7, followed by 30 minutes of practice on Saturday afternoon and then qualifying at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday. The 60-lap race is scheduled to begin at 2:05 p.m. All times are EDT.
Coverage of the Mazda Road to Indy can be found on a series of platforms including Road to Indy TV, the Road to Indy TV App and dedicated broadcast channels on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku and, most recently, the Xbox One Official App as well as live streaming and live timing on the series’ respective websites and

Entire Mazda Road to Indy Ladder in Action at Road America

Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 Set for Double-Header Rounds in Wisconsin
PALMETTO, Fla. (June 20, 2017) – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, which collectively comprise the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder, will all feature a pair of races this weekend at one of the country’s most scenic and challenging race tracks, Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., as part of the Kohler Grand Prix.
Each of the three championships are reaching their halfway stage, with Mazda Scholarship prizes and other awards totaling more than $3.6 million ultimately at stake to assist the respective champions move on to the next step on the ladder with the ultimate goal of competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
Consistency has been the Key for Kaiser in Indy Lights
Five different drivers have earned victories from the seven Indy Lights races held so far this season. Kyle Kaiser, 21, from Santa Clara, currently leads the points chase by a 14-point margin over Frenchman Nico Jamin. Kaiser, who is in his third year of Indy Lights and will be making his 75th Mazda Road to Indy start on Sunday, has been a consistent front-runner for Juncos Racing, although his streak of top-five grid positions and top-six finishes, including four straight podium results, was broken with a run to ninth in the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both Jamin (Andretti Autosport) and Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing), who lie second and third in the standings with two race wins apiece, also will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing race at Indianapolis. Jamin, who won the 2015 USF2000 championship, finished second in one of the Pro Mazda races last year on his debut at Road America, while Herta, the youngest driver in the field at just 17, will be competing on the historic, 4.048-mile road course for the first time.
Many eyes will be focused upon Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz, who swept both Pro Mazda races last year at Road America en route to the championship title and the right to carry the distinctive Soul Red colors on his Belardi Auto Racing Dallara-Mazda IL-15.
Uruguayan teammate Santi Urrutia, the 2015 Pro Mazda champion, also will have high expectations after winning one of the two races at Road America last year.
Other contenders include Matheus Leist, a rookie from Brazil who won last year’s BRDC British Formula 3 Champion and claimed a breakthrough victory in the most recent race at Indianapolis, and his Carlin teammates Neil Alberico, who has been a regular front-runner this year, and Canadian Zachary Claman DeMelo, who enjoyed a strong weekend at Road America in 2016 with a pair of top-five finishes and a fastest race lap.
Ones to watch also include three drivers who landed top-five finishes at Road America last year – Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport), Garth Rickards (Carlin) in USF2000 and Nicolas Dapero (Juncos Racing) in Pro Mazda as well as Team Pelfrey’s Juan Piedrahita, who will celebrate his 50th Indy Lights start in Saturday’s race.
Of note, Jamin, Leist, DeMelo and Dalton Kellett (Andretti Autosport) each tested an Indy car at Road America last Wednesday.
The Mazda Indy Lights Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Allied Building Products will begin on Friday, June 23 with a 45-minute practice session at 9:00 a.m. CDT, followed by a 30-minute qualifying period at 2:30 p.m. Race One will start at 12:00 pm on Saturday. A second qualifying session earlier in the day, at 7:50 a.m., will set the grid for Race Two at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, with same-day television coverage on NBCSN at 11:30 am EDT.
Franzoni, Martin to Continue Pro Mazda Battle 
The largest contingent of Pro Mazda cars since 2015 will assemble for Rounds Five and Six of the 12-race season. Brazilian Victor Franzoni (Juncos Racing) and Australian Anthony Martin (Cape Motorsports) are separated by just six points in their quest for the champion’s Mazda Scholarship worth over $790,000 to ensure graduation to Indy Lights, the next step on the Mazda Road to Indy, in 2018.
Martin, who swept last year’s pair of USF2000 races at Road America en route to the championship title, hit the ground running by winning both of the opening Pro Mazda rounds at St. Petersburg, Fla., only for fellow ex-USF2000 front-runner Franzoni to respond by dominating both of the next two races on the Indianapolis Grand Prix course.
Californian TJ Fischer has finished on the podium in each of the first four events for Team Pelfrey, including a career-high second in the most recent race, where he was joined on the podium by Brazilian rookie teammate Carlos Cunha. Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin will drive a third Team Pelfrey car in search of his first podium result following a string of top-fives.
Opposition will stem from a trio of World Speed Motorsports entries for teenagers Phillippe Denes, from Carmel, Calif., and Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, plus veteran Bobby Eberle, from Houston, Texas, as well as Milwaukee native Max Hanratty, who will return to the series with local Sheboygan Falls team ArmsUp Motorsports.
Kris Wright, from Pittsburgh, Pa., will step up from USF2000 for the first time with Minnesota-based JDC MotorSports, while a strong National Class contingent, led by regular local racers Kevin Davis, from Alvin, Ill., and Bob Kaminsky, from Homer Glen, Ill., will be joined for the first time by the Unfair Advantage Motorsports pair of Dave Zavelson and Kevin Bury, both from Austin, Texas.
After a lone practice session at 1:55 p.m. CDT on Thursday, June 22, the grids for the two races which will make up the Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Allied Building Products will be set during a pair of 20-minute qualifying sessions at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday and 8:25 a.m. on Friday. Race One is set for later that same day at 1:35 p.m., and the green flag for Race Two will fly at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday.
Of note, Franzoni and Eberle will both celebrate their 50th Mazda Road to Indy starts on Friday.
Who Can Challenge Askew in USF2000?
USF2000 has been revitalized this season with the introduction of the exciting new carbon fiber monocoque Tatuus USF-17 chassis. Drivers representing 10 different teams and at least eight nations are expected this weekend, and all of them determined to end the dominance of Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., who, despite this being his first full season of car racing following a stellar career in karting, has won the past five races in succession to open up a commanding championship lead.
The list of potential challengers is long. Cape teammate Ricky Donison, from Bangalore, India, and Calvin Ming, from Guyana, South America, who drives for Pabst Racing, based nearby in Oconomowoc, Wis., became the first drivers from their respective nations ever to stand on the podium for a Mazda Road to Indy race during the most recent race weekend in Indianapolis last month. Young Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, also aboard a Pabst Racing Tatuus, has finished on the podium four times, while Team Pelfrey teenagers Robert Megennis, from New York., N.Y., who won the opening race of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Kaylen Frederick, from Potomac, Md., also have been regular contenders.
Series veteran Parker Thompson, from Red Deer, Alb., Canada, who finished second in the 2016 title-chase and has twice finished on the podium this season, will lead the charge for the new Canadian-based team, Exclusive Autosport, while Kory Enders, from Warwick, N.Y., and Mexican Moises de la Vara have displayed promising form for another new team, DEForce Racing.
More local flavor will be provided by ArmsUp Motorsports, from nearby Sheboygan Falls, which will field a pair of cars for upstate New Yorker Devin Wojcik and young Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli, plus Illinois teenagers Colin Kaminsky (John Cummiskey Racing) and David Malukas (BN Racing). In addition, Florida’s Darren Keane will join Mundelein, Ill.-based Newman Wachs Racing for the first time.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Mazda weekend will commence with 30 minutes of practice on Thursday, June 22. After qualifying at 8:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, Race One will take the green flag later that same morning at 11:45 a.m. Qualifying for Race Two will follow at 4:35 p.m., with the green flag set for 1:10 p.m. on Saturday, June 24.
Coverage of the Mazda Road to Indy can be found on a series of platforms including Road to Indy TV, the Road to Indy TV App and dedicated broadcast channels on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku and, most recently, the Xbox One Official App as well as live streaming and live timing on the series’ respective websites and In addition to NBCSN, additional Indy Lights coverage is also featured on ESPN International and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network. The new Mazda Road to Indy game for mobile devices is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play.

New Mazda Road to Indy Season Kicks Off with Florida Spring Training

Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 Teams Set for Four Days of Running at Homestead

PALMETTO, Fla. (February 24, 2017) – Teams and drivers from all three levels of the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will converge next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida for an official Spring Training test. The four-day outing will comprise over six hours of testing for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competitors on the 1.5-mile oval on Monday, February 27, followed by two days of running on the 2.21-mile road course for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, then one final day on the road course for Indy Lights on Thursday, March 2.

The Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires offers scholarships at every level for talented drivers to make their way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. A total of 23 of the 33 drivers who qualified for last year’s historic 100th Indianapolis 500 were graduates of one or more of the three open-wheel development series. More than $3.5 million in scholarships and awards are up for grabs during the 2017 season which will commence – in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series – on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 10-12.

2016 Title Contenders Urrutia, Kaiser Head Indy Lights Contingent

An intriguing mix of veterans and rookies are among a high-quality Indy Lights field, headed by Santi Urrutia, from Uruguay, and Kyle Kaiser, from Santa Clara, Calif., who finished second and third in the 2016 title-chase.

Urrutia, 20, sprung to prominence in 2015 when he claimed the Pro Mazda championship as a rookie, then, carrying the distinctive Soul Red Mazda colors last year, put himself in contention to emulate Pigot’s feat of claiming back-to-back Mazda Scholarships. Urrutia fell agonizingly short, by just two points, but now returns with a vengeance after joining Belardi Auto Racing which won more races (six) in 2016 than any other team.

Fellow veteran Shelby Blackstock, from Nashville, Tenn., will join Urrutia at the Indianapolis-based squad.

Kaiser, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on March 5, also has his sights set firmly on the championship – and a prize valued at $1 million which will guarantee a minimum of three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018, including the Indy 500. Kaiser won twice last year for Juncos Racing. Rookie teammate Nicolas Dapero, from Argentina, doesn’t have much experience but did claim a maiden Pro Mazda win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last fall to round out an impressive debut campaign.

The Carlin team, which last year added to its remarkable sequence of open-wheel feeder series championships in Europe by claiming a maiden Indy Lights crown with Ed Jones, will field a quartet of 450 hp Dallara-Mazda IL-15s for Californian Neil Alberico; relatively inexperienced Canadian Zachary Claman De Melo, who posted two fastest race laps during a promising debut Indy Lights campaign; Brazilian rookie Matheus Leist, from Brazil, who won the 2016 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship; and Pennsylvanian Garth Rickards, who steps up after two years in USF2000.

Andretti Autosport also will oversee four young chargers. Canadian Dalton Kellett, who finished on the podium last year in the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is the only one with prior Indy Lights experience but his three rookie teammates are all proven winners. Frenchman Nico Jamin was a dominant USF2000 champion in 2015, while Ryan Norman, from Cleveland, Ohio, romped to last year’s Atlantic Championship and Colton Herta, 16, whose father Bryan claimed the Indy Lights crown in 1993, won races last year in the EuroFormula Open series. Herta’s car will be run under the banner of Andretti Steinbrenner Racing following a new link between Michael Andretti and George Michael Steinbrenner IV, grandson of long-time New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Wisconsin rookie Aaron Telitz, who steps up to Indy Lights after following Urrutia’s lead by winning the Pro Mazda title in 2016, will fly the Soul Red Mazda colors with a team announcement expected shortly. Likable Colombian Juan Piedrahita will round out the field with Florida-based Team Pelfrey.

No. Driver Hometown Residence Team Entry
2 Juan Piedrahita Bogota, Colombia Indianapolis, IN Team Pelfrey Petrosur
5 Santi Urrutia Montevideo, Uruguay Miguelete, Uruguay Belardi Auto Racing Belardi Auto Racing
9 Aaron Telitz (R) Rice Lake, WI Birchwood, WI TBA Mazda/Rice Lake Weighing Systems
11 Garth Rickards (R) Mechanicsburg, PA Mechanicsburg, PA Carlin Luther Automotive
13 Zachary Claman De Melo Montreal, Canada Montreal, Canada Carlin ZCD Montreal/Zoo Logical Wildlife Foundation
18 Kyle Kaiser Santa Clara, CA Santa Clara, CA Juncos Racing TBA
22 Neil Alberico Los Gatos, CA San Clemente, CA Carlin Rising Star Racing
26 Matheus Leist (R) Novo Hamburgo, Brazil TBC Carlin TMA
27 Nico Jamin (R) Rouen, France Indianapolis, IN Andretti Autosport Andretti Autosport Mazda
28 Dalton Kellett Toronto, Canada Indianapolis, IN Andretti Autosport K-Line Insulators USA, Inc.
31 Nicolas Dapero (R) Buenos Aires, Argentina Hollywood, FL Juncos Racing American Brokers
48 Ryan Norman (R) Cleveland, OH Aurora, OH Andretti Autosport Flip Side Mazda/Aggressive Sound
51 Shelby Blackstock Nashville, TN Cornelius, NC Belardi Auto Racing Starstruck
98 Colton Herta (R) Valencia, CA Valencia, CA Andretti Steinbrenner Racing Mockett & Company/The Stellrecht Company

Aussie Martin Seeks Back-to-Back MRTI Crowns

Pro Mazda is in the midst of a transition with a brand-new car, the Tatuus PM-18, to be introduced next year to the middle step on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires development ladder. Fields are expected to remain fairly slim, although a great deal is at stake with the champion’s Mazda Scholarship increased in size to $790,300 to assist in the graduation to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2018, and additional entries are expected for the season-opener.

One of the hot favorites for honors will be reigning USF2000 champion Anthony Martin, 22, from Perth, Australia, who is stepping up and will carry the traditional Mazda Scholarship Soul Red color scheme.

“Winning the USF2000 championship meant everything, not only for me but my family, sponsors and friends that have been with me from the start,” said Martin. “Knowing that I would be racing in Pro Mazda this year was such a relief and I am really looking forward to this transition in my career.”

Martin now seeks to follow in the footsteps of Matthew Brabham, who claimed back-to-back Mazda Scholarships in USF2000 and Pro Mazda in 2012 and 2013.

“The Mazda Road to Indy is like no other development program,” Martin continued. “It was the sole reason I moved halfway around the world from Australia and it continues to be. To me, the Mazda Road to Indy is one big family – something that motorsport misses everywhere else. What the Mazda Road to Indy family has done with all of the sponsors is incredible and it gives motivation for drivers to come from all around the world and compete against the best.”

Among Martin’s rivals will be Californian TJ Fischer, who contested a partial campaign with Team Pelfrey in 2016 and will return for a concerted attack on the championship with the organization that has won the past two Pro Mazda crowns with Santi Urrutia and Aaron Telitz. Los Angeles-based Russian and USF2000 veteran Nikita Lastochkin also will step up with Team Pelfrey alongside teenaged Brazilian F3 racer Carlos Cunha.

World Speed Motorsports also will be back with a two-car team for veteran Bobby Eberle and up-and-comer Sting Ray Robb. Eberle, 48, from Houston, Texas, is a four-time National Class champion who fully intends to challenge for overall honors this year – and is aimed at becoming the oldest rookie to compete in the Indianapolis 500 – while Robb, from Boise, Idaho, has packed a great deal of racing (and winning) experience into his 15 years after competing in karts, Corvettes, paved and dirt Modified cars, NASCAR stock cars and a partial campaign in the West Coast-based Formula Car Challenge in 2016.

No. Driver Hometown Residence Team Sponsors
8 Anthony Martin (R) Kalgoorlie, Australia Perth, Australia TBA Burgess BLA
13 Bobby Eberle Chicago, IL Houston, TX World Speed Motorsports TITLE Boxing Club/
14 Sting Ray Robb (R) Boise, ID Payette, ID World Speed Motorsports Red Apple Marketplace
80 Nikita Lastochkin (R) Moscow, Russia Los Angeles, CA Team Pelfrey TBA
81 Carlos Cunha (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Pelfrey TBA
82 TJ Fischer Wilsonville, OR Vacaville, CA Team Pelfrey Project O2

Quality USF2000 Field to Debut Exciting New Tatuus USF-17

The new season marks a fresh start for USF2000 with the exciting Tatuus USF-17 chassis replacing the venerable Van Diemen which has provided the backbone of the series since 1999. The USF-17 features a full carbon composite and aluminum honeycomb monocoque which meets the current FIA F4 safety standards and has attracted new teams such as Benik, DEForce Racing, Exclusive Autosport and Newman Wachs Racing to take on the established might of Cape Motorsports, Pabst Racing, ArmsUp Motorsports and Team Pelfrey.

The St. Petersburg-based Cape brothers, Dominic and Nicholas, remain as the benchmark having guided their charges to no fewer than 10 championships since the turn of the century, including the last six in a row. Ricky Donison is the newest young charger seeking to follow in their footsteps. Donison, from Bangalore, India, has raced karts extensively and made a solid car racing debut last fall when he finished on the podium in each of his first three Formula 4 races at the F1 Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Four USF2000 veterans are among the entries, headed by Canadian Parker Thompson who has joined Exclusive Autosport (front-runners in F1600 competition in Canada for the past several years) after finishing a close second in 2016. He will be joined by U.S.-based Australian Luke Gabin, who notched a quartet of podium appearances en route to fifth in the standings, while last year’s top two USF2000 rookies, Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., and Dakota Dickerson, from San Diego, Calif., will represent Team Pelfrey and Newman Wachs respectively.

New York-based Andre Castro, a standout last year in the Skip Barber Racing Championship, and Dutch karting standout Rinus VeeKay will join Dickerson at Newman Wachs, which is making a welcome return to the sport seven years after winning the Atlantic Championship with Floridian Jonathan Summerton.

Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., who finished third in last year’s F4 championship and shone in England as a Team USA Scholarship winner, seems set to shake down the new Benik team’s USF-17.

Pabst Racing will field at least two cars – for Brazilian Lucas Kohl, who claimed a best finish of sixth during his debut campaign, and Guyanan rookie Calvin Ming, who excelled last year both in F1600 and F4 – while ArmsUp Motorsports, which guided Brazilian Victor Franzoni to third place in the 2016 standings, will run Skip Barber graduate Devin Wojcik, from Syracuse, N.Y., who dipped his toes in the water with a one-off outing with the team last year at Road America. Another returning team, RJB Motorsports, has snapped up teenager Horton Chandler, from Ann Arbor, Mich., to drive its new Tatuus. John Cummiskey Racing also will be present with two cars and drivers yet to be named.

DEForce Racing, a new entity headed by former IndyCar racer David Martinez, has entered two cars for Kory Enders, from Warwick, N.Y., who has been sharpening his skills already this year in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, and F4 veteran Moises de la Vara, from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Acknowledged karting star Oliver Askew, 20, from Jupiter, Fla., burst upon the scene last year in England when he won a Team USA Scholarship, then secured the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, earning himself a ride in USF2000 this year and the right to carry the prestigious Soul Red colors on a brand-new Tatuus.

No. Driver Hometown Residence Team Sponsors
2 Ricky Donison (R) Northampton, England Northampton, England Cape Motorsports TBA
3 Oliver Askew (R) Melbourne, FL Jupiter, FL TBA Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing
7 Devin Wojcik (R) Syracuse, NY Fayetteville, NY ArmsUp Motorsports TBA
8 Bruna Tomaselli (R)* Caibi, Brazil Caibi, Brazil ArmsUp Motorsports Bruna&Bia
9 TBA ArmsUp Motorsports
11 Kory Enders (R) Warwick, NY Sugarland, TX DEForce Racing MBSugarland/Caliber Collision/McLaren Houston
12 Moises de la Vara (R) Guadalajara, Mexico San Antonio, TX DEForce Racing UAG/Isla Navidad
20 Chandler Horton (R) Ann Arbor, MI Zionsville, IN RJB Motorsports Menards/Metalloid Firearms and Sports
22 Calvin Ming (R) Guyana, South America Miramar, FL Pabst Racing Mings Products and Services(MPS)/APAN
23 Lucas Kohl Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil Miami, FL Pabst Racing Belko Trading
33 TBA John Cummiskey Racing
34 TBA John Cummiskey Racing
36 Dakota Dickerson San Diego, CA San Diego, CA Newman Wachs Racing Team USA Scholarship/Mazda Motorsports
37 Andre Castro (R) New York, NY New York, NY Newman Wachs Racing TBA
38 Rinus VeeKay (R) Hoofddorp, Netherlands Hoofddorp, Netherlands Newman Wachs Racing Jumbo Supermarkets The Netherlands/Total
80 Robert Megennis New York, NY New York, NY Team Pelfrey Palo Alto Networks
81 Kaylen Frederick (R) Potomac, MD Potomac, MD Team Pelfrey TBA
82 Ayla Agren Baerum, Norway Indianapolis, IN Team Pelfrey Energima
90 Parker Thompson Red Deer, Canada Red Deer, Canada Exclusive Autosport Exclusive Autosport Open Hwy.
91 Luke Gabin Perth, Australia Indianapolis IN Exclusive Autosport Exclusive Autosport AER
92 TBA Exclusive Autosport TBA
TBA Kyle Kirkwood (R) Jupiter, FL Jupiter, FL Benik TBA

Live timing of all sessions will be available on the respective series websites,, and, as well as on and the Road To Indy TV App.

Newcomers Shine at Mazda Road to Indy Chris Griffis Memorial Test

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 9, 2016) – The two-day Chris Griffis Memorial Test, held in honor of the former Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian team manager, concluded this afternoon at the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit with several new names featuring at the top of the timing charts for each of the three open-wheel series which comprise…

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