Foyt’s Addition Brings Full Time Grid to 26

Just when we say the grid is set, tThis morning’s announcement by A. J. Foyt Racing of a third full time car puts the NTT Indycar Series full time grid at 26. The only seat open right now is for someone to drive the ovals in Foyt’s number 11, which Tatiana Calderon will drive on the road and street course. I would think J. R. Hildebrand is the prime candidate for the Indianapolis 500, but I don’t know his availability for the other ovals.

From earlier:

thepitwindow.blog/2022/01/17/tatiana-calderon-joins-indycar-with-foyt-rokit/

There will be at least 27 cars at the GMR Grand at IMS in May. Arrow McLaren SP has already said that Juan Pablo Montoya will enter that race as a warmup for the 500. Other non oval events could see up to 28 cars.

Indianapolis 500 entries stand at 34 right now, with two more entries expected. Both will be powered by Chevrolet.

The full time lineup:

Team Penske

2- Josef Newgarden

3- Scott McLaughlin

12- Will Power

Chip Ganassi Racing

8- Marcus Ericsson

9- Scott Dixon’

10- Alex Palou

48- Jimmie Johnson

Andretti Autosport

26-Colton Herta

27- Alexander Rossi

28- Romain Grosjean

29- Devlin Defrancesco (R)

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

15- Graham Rahal

30- Jack Harvey

45- Christian Lundgaard (R)

Arrow McLaren SP

5= Pato O’Ward

7- Felix Rosenqvist

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

18- David Malukas (R)

Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing

51- Takuma Sato

Meyer Shank Racing

06- Helio Castroneves

60- Simon Pagenaud

A. J. Foyt Racing

4- Dalton Kellett

11- Tatiana Calderon (R)

14- Kyle Kirkwood (R)

Ed Carpenter Racing

20- Conor Daly

21-Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Hollinger Racing

77- Callum Ilott (R)

The field has six rookies and ten drivers with three years or less experience. There are also six drivers, seven counting Ed Carpenter, older than 40 years old. Penske’s IMS upgrades should include a senior citizens’ center and a day care.

Tatiana Calderon Joins Indycar with Foyt, ROKiT

Does A. J. know how to celebrate a birthday or what?

A. J. Foyt Racing announced this morning Tatiana Calderon will drive car 11 in road and street events with ROKiT sponsorship. This has been brewing since Calderon tested for the team at Mid Ohio last July. According to the announcement, the car will be full time, and Foyt is looking for a driver for the ovals. Kyle Kirkwood will also be in a ROKiT car.

The press release from Foyt:

ROKiT Group Expands Its Program with AJ Foyt Racing; Tatiana Calderón Hired for 2022

INDIANAPOLIS (January 17, 2022) — ROKiT Group is expanding their marketing partnership with AJ Foyt Racing for 2022 as the team will enter two ROKiT-branded Chevrolets in the NTT INDYCAR Series with Tatiana Calderón hired to drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet.

The agreement expands AJ Foyt Racing to a three-car team with the previously announced Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and veteran Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.

A.J. Foyt, who turned 87 yesterday, will be experiencing another first in his iconic career which spans eight decades. Calderón becomes the first female driver to compete for the legendary Texan. The 28-year-old Colombian native is set to drive the street and road courses. No driver has been signed for the oval tracks to date.

“I’m thrilled and very thankful to Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT and AJ Foyt Racing for the opportunity to race in the NTT INDYCAR Series!” exclaimed Calderón. “Ever since I started my single seater career in the United States eleven years ago, INDYCAR has been a reference for me and it’s a dream come true to be on the grid this year! I can’t wait to get to St. Petersburg for the first race of the season! I’m well aware of the challenge ahead, but this is the chance of a lifetime and I’m keen on making the most of it.”

Entrepreneur Kendrick, the Co-founder and Chairman of the ROKiT Group of Companies, has supported Calderón’s career since 2020 when she competed in the World Endurance Championship and Super Formula Japan.

“One of our fundamental principles in the overall marketing of the ROKiT brand worldwide is our support and promotion of women in motorsport and, as part of that principle, we’ve supported Tatiana for a long time now,” Kendrick said.

Kendrick listens as Foyt answers a question at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

“We recognized her talent and charisma early on,” he continued, “which we’ve seen grow and develop, so we’re very excited to be expanding our partnership with Larry and the AJ Foyt Racing Team by having Tatiana drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet alongside Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet this season. We know Tatiana is already a role model to many young female drivers around the world and we think the huge exposure of the NTT INDYCAR Series will serve only to increase her reach even further to become an inspiration to many more women to get involved in motorsports.”

Calderón spent the last two seasons competing in Super Formula in Japan for Threebond Drago Corse and for Richard Mille Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship. She has been a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team for the past four years. Her extensive resume includes stints in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5 where she was the first female on the podium in Bahrein in 2017, GP3, European Formula 3, and the British Formula 3 Series, where she was the first female to score a podium.

Calderon testing at Mid-Ohio in July.

Born in Bogota, Colombia and currently living in Madrid, Calderón tested the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio last July which prompted talks of competing for the team in 2022.

Those talks resulted in Team President Larry Foyt signing an extension and expansion of the ROKiT sponsorship along with the hire of Calderón who impressed Foyt.

Foyt said, “I’m thrilled with the continuation and expansion of the ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Team. We welcome Tatiana Calderón in car number 11 joining Kyle Kirkwood in car 14, both in the very cool ROKiT liveries. Tatiana showed a lot of potential in her test at Mid-Ohio. With Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet, I think our three-car team is in for an exciting season.”

Calderón will test with Kirkwood in Sebring, Fla. this week. Kellett is planning to attend in an advisory role.

Calderón and Kirkwood, the 2021 Indy Lights Series champion, will make their INDYCAR Series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 27th which will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12 noon ET. Kirkwood and Kellett will compete in all of the races while Calderón will run in 12 of the 17 races on the schedule.

About ROKiT ROKiT Group is a next-generation global media company engaged in multiple aspects of content production and distribution, including movies, television, sports, music, drinks, and mobile entertainment. ROKiT leverages each of these business units, independently and together, to create content across all mediums, giving consumers what they want, when they want it on their mobile phones.

The Price of Free TV

First, Happy birthday, A. J. Foyt.

The good news that NBC will have 14 NTT Inycar Series races on network television s tempered by the loss of night races. The closest race to a night event is at World Wide technology Raceway., with a broadcast start time of 6 pm Eastern. That means the race starts around 5:30 Central time and will be done around dusk.

I really don’t understand why this race is not under the lights since it is slated for USA Network. I get that big NBC doesn’t want to show a prime time weekend night race. But why can’t USA show a night race.

The other race scheduled for USA Network is Belle Isle. I find that puzzling as well, considering that Roger Penske is the race promoter. Why not make that an NBC and put Iowa’s Saturday race on USA at night?

I hope this is a temporary schedule transition and there is at least one true night race in 2023. Indycars at night look fantastic. The colors really pop under the lights. They seem to be faster. Most important is that at Iowa and Gateway, to a lesser extent, the racing is better at night. As the track cools, the cars’ handling changes. A fast car early in the race can turn into a handful later, while someone struggling before sundown can turn into a rocket.

Maybe we will get a long rain delay at Iowa like there was in 2019 when a twilight race turned into a late night/early morning affair. It appears my night racing will be limited to the Rolex 24 in a couple weeks.

The absence of night races is my only complaint with the television schedule. Generally, I like the early start times for most of the races. Fans should be able to get home in time to get some sleep before going to work on Monday.

The schedule with broadcast times:

Wickens Races Again

It has been a long, torturous path for Robert Wickens since that awful July day at Pocono in 2018. He will be back in a race car in two weeks at Daytona, driving a Hyundai Elantra for Bryan Herta Autosport in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series. The race on January 28 is a preliminary event to the Rolex 24.

It isn’t Indycar, but it is thrilling that Wickens will be back ina race car competing again.

Announcements from the team are below.

The announcement from BHA:

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 14, 2022 – Three-time International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) Champions, Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) and Hyundai Motor North America, announced they have signed international racing star, Robert Wickens to co-drive the #33 Elantra N TCR racecar. Wickens will drive with fellow Canadian champion Mark Wilkins in the 2022 IMPC.

“Today is a monumental day for us as a team and as fans of Robert Wickens,” said Bryan Herta, president of BHA. “We have followed along with Robert’s rehabilitation and marveled at his determination and dedication, along with his many, many fans. To now announce that he will be making his professional motorsports return in one of our Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars is truly incredible. We thank Hyundai for their amazing support and helping us build a path for Robert to get back to where he belongs.”

In May of 2021, Wickens successfully evaluated the BHA #54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR using hand controls. It was his first time driving a race car after 989 days of rehabilitation following an IndyCar accident that left him paralyzed in 2018. Wickens will return to competition, taking the green flag at the IMPC season opener, a four-hour endurance race commencing the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race weekend at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 28.

“I’ve spent a lot of nights thinking and dreaming of this moment, and with the support from Bryan Herta and Hyundai it is all becoming a reality,” said Wickens. “I am hungrier now than I was before my accident to compete for wins again! I’m really looking forward to incorporating myself with the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and finally get my first taste of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.”

Wickens, a former Formula One test driver, took the American IndyCar scene by storm as a rookie in 2018. He won the pole position and led all but two laps in his first IndyCar race, went on to score four podium finishes and earned the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honor, all in his first 12 IndyCar races in 2018. Race number 13 of his stellar rookie IndyCar season changed his life forever. Wickens was involved in an accident on lap 7 at Pocono Raceway, where he suffered a thoracic spinal fracture, spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, a fractured right forearm, fractured elbow, a concussion, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion. Since the accident, Wickens’ perseverance and persistence has led to triumphant breakthroughs in his relentless regimes of physical rehabilitation and therapy that continues daily. Wickens and his team of therapists and trainers have become trailblazers in developing innovative technology and treatment methods for the spinal cord injury community.

The #33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR has been fitted with a custom hand-control system designed by BHA Technical Director David Brown and Development Technician Jonathan Gormley. The system features a custom metal ring connected to the brake pedal by a series of rods specifically tailored to the Elantra. The ring is attached behind the steering wheel that is pulled with fingers to activate the brake. Two linked throttle paddles and shift paddles, all attached behind the steering wheel, allow the driver to accelerate, shift and make steering inputs. The system also features a switch for Mark Wilkins when he takes over the cockpit in pitstops that deactivates the hand throttle. The Elantra will accelerate and brake using the traditional foot pedals when Wilkins is driving.

Wickens and Wilkins join the previously announced 2022 BHA driver lineup featuring six Elantra N TCR entries to defend the team’s trifecta of series titles, and they will vie for Hyundai’s third straight manufacturers title. The 2022 season kicks off with the season opening test days, the “Roar Before the Rolex 24,” at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 21-23, 2022. Round one of the 2022 IMPC season takes place the following weekend with the BMW Endurance Challenge, a four-hour race during the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race weekend on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai Motor America focuses on ‘Progress for Humanity’ and smart mobility solutions. Hyundai offers U.S. consumers a technology-rich lineup of cars, SUVs and electrified vehicles. Our 820 dealers sold more than 738,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, and nearly half were built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. For more information, visit www.HyundaiNews.com.

Daly Full Time at ECR

Images from ECR

One thing about Indycar- despite a whirlwind of changes, some things stay the same. Ed Carpenter Racing announced this morning that Conor Daly will be back in the 20 car with a new sponsor in 2022. The announcement reads “full time.” Is Ed Carpenter going to just run the Indianapolis 500, a move I have thought was long overdue? According to the release below, Carpenter may race in the non Indy ovals as well.

No driver has worked harder this off season to procure sponsorship than Daly, who lost the US Air Force sponsor deal after last season.

The announcement from ECR:

Conor Daly Elevated to Full-Time Driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season

(INDIANAPOLIS) January 14, 2022 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today a new partnership with BitNile Holdings, Inc. to serve as primary partner for the No. 20 Chevrolet in a multi-year deal. ECR welcomes back Conor Daly, who will become full-time driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. BitNile will also serve as an associate sponsor on ECR’s second entry, the No. 21 Chevrolet.

BitNile Holdings, Inc. is a diversified holding company specializing in disruptive technologies, including cryptocurrencies and innovations in the field of Decentralized Finance (“DeFi”). BitNile focuses on large-scale crypto mining with energy-efficient, powerful operations strategically located in North America. In addition, they currently operate their own high-density data center. With a mission to simplify the DeFi process for all involved, BitNile invests in technology platforms that provide crypto holders a vehicle to earn interest on their crypto assets.

BitNile Founder and Executive Chairman, Milton “Todd” Ault, III, has spent his entire career investing in undervalued assets and disruptive technologies. He believes joining in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Ed Carpenter Racing will yield similar rewards. “I’ve been a fan of Indy car racing for a long time, and we are proud to have the opportunity to team up with Ed Carpenter Racing. It’s a natural fit for BitNile to join an Indiana business like Ed’s as we have a number of investments in the Midwest, including our mining facilities,” stated Mr. Ault. “BitNile operates with a ‘Risk On’ philosophy where risk is an integral element if you want to win. Conor Daly and ECR share that mindset, making us in perfect alignment.”

The upcoming season will mark Daly’s return to Ed Carpenter Racing for a third year, though it will be his first as full-time driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet. For the past two years, Daly has split his talents between two teams. For the road and street course events and the Indianapolis 500, Daly raced for ECR; for the remaining oval events, he drove for Carlin. Over the past eight years, the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in 80 Indy car races. The 2021 Indianapolis 500 proved a career highlight for the hometown favorite as he paced the field for nearly a quarter of the race, leading the most laps of all drivers.

Daly, who turned 30 in December, is thrilled to be a part of BitNile’s very first sponsorship program and introduce the company to motorsports. “Being chosen to represent BitNile is without a doubt one of the most important opportunities of my career. This is an incredible partnership that we look forward to being able to strengthen and grow as we go after race wins together!” Daly continued, “To be able to come back to Ed Carpenter Racing for the full season is incredible. I haven’t had the chance to be with one team for the entire year since 2017, so this is something I am very, very thankful for. I have a lot of faith in ECR and each year we continue to get better together. I couldn’t be more excited to get on track in the BitNile Chevrolet!”

Team owner Ed Carpenter became well-known in the Bitcoin space in 2021 as he welcomed the first decentralized sponsorship in the history of racing. The Bitcoin community supported all necessary on-track activities for ECR’s Bitcoin Chevrolet during the Month of May. Carpenter later spoke at the Bitcoin 2021 conference and continues to be recognized as a paddock leader in the crypto industry. “I am extremely proud to welcome BitNile to the ECR family! It is exciting to be able to expand our team’s involvement in the culture of Bitcoin after running the Bitcoin car last May,” said Carpenter. “We will also represent a few other exciting brands within BitNile Holdings as the year progresses, so there is more to come!”

ECR will continue to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with two full-time entries in 2022. Daly’s season-long teammate is fellow third-year ECR driver Rinus VeeKay, who remains in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Carpenter, a three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner, will join Daly and VeeKay to round out ECR’s three-car program for the 2022 500-mile race. Confirmation of Carpenter’s participation in the three additional oval events may come at a later date.

Always eager to hone his driving talents, Daly returns to dirt track racing this weekend as he competes in the Chili Bowl Nationals today and tomorrow. Next Wednesday, January 19, Daly and Carpenter will be guests on Mr. Ault’s podcast, Risk On. Viewers can watch a live stream from the ECR shop on YouTube at 4 p.m. ET. The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin on Sunday, February 27 in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

About BitNile Holdings, Inc.
BitNile Holdings, Inc. is a diversified holding company pursuing growth by acquiring undervalued businesses and disruptive technologies with a global impact. Through its wholly and majority-owned subsidiaries and strategic investments, BitNile owns and operates a data center at which it mines Bitcoin and provides mission-critical products that support a diverse range of industries, including defense/aerospace, industrial, automotive, telecommunications, medical/biopharma, and textiles. In addition, BitNile extends credit to select entrepreneurial businesses through a licensed lending subsidiary. BitNile Holdings’ headquarters are located at 11411 Southern Highlands Parkway, Suite 240, Las Vegas, NV 89141; http://www.bitnile.com/.

Charities and INDYCAR Teams Can Win Big through PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge

This is the kind of activation from sponsors Indycar needs more of. The announcement from Indycar:

Winner To Split $1 Million with Chosen Charity in 2022 Season

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022) – The driver and race team seeing the checkered flag first on all three types of circuits in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES can win $1 million in the 2022 season for themselves and a charity through the new PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge.The PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge is part of a new partnership between industrial staffing giant PeopleReady and INDYCAR.

WATCH: PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge Video

The first driver who wins at least once this season on the three types of tracks that comprise the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule – road course, street circuit and oval – will share $500,000 with their team and donate $500,000 to that driver and team’s chosen charity.
“The PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge will help drive home PeopleReady’s mission to connect people and work as a force for good in the communities they serve while highlighting the skill of NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams and drivers and our collective commitment to helping others,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said.
“This program will keep fans engaged all season and continue to raise vital awareness for a variety of worthy charities. ”
History shows there’s a very good chance of a driver, team and charity winning big in 2022 through the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge. One driver achieved the feat of winning on a road course, street circuit and oval for six consecutive seasons from 2015-20, with that streak finally ending last season (see chart below).A Team Penske driver won on all three types of tracks in a season four times in five years between 2016-20, with Josef Newgarden in 2017 and 2020, Simon Pagenaud in 2019 and Will Power in 2016.
“Our partnership with INDYCAR will accelerate our ability to put work and workforces within reach by raising awareness with race fans,” said Taryn Owen, president and COO of PeopleReady.
“We are excited to challenge all NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers to compete for the grand prize of $1 million and provide them with the opportunity to give back to a charity they are passionate about.”
There will be a winner in all 17 races this season, even if a driver can’t pull off the “triple crown” of winning on all three types of INDYCAR circuits. PeopleReady is offering an additional $10,000 to the winner of every race this season, also to be split with their selected charity.
“PeopleReady is committed to making a difference through our mission and by giving back to the communities we serve,” said Patrick Beharelle, CEO of TrueBlue, the parent company of PeopleReady.
“We are excited for the opportunity to amplify that work through the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge in partnership with the talented NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams and drivers.”
Recent Winners on Road, Street, Oval in Same NTT INDYCAR SERIES SeasonYearDriver/TeamWinning Tracks
2021NoneNone
2020Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)Iowa, Indy RC, St. Petersburg
2019Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske)Indy RC, Indy Oval, Toronto
2018Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport)Long Beach, Mid-Ohio, Pocono
2017Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)Barber, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Gateway
2016Will Power (Team Penske)Detroit, Road America, Toronto, Pocono
2015Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing)Long Beach, Texas, Sonoma
About INDYCAR
INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including six-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, 2021 series champion Alex Palou and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2022 season will consist of 17 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.
About PeopleReady
PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI), specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of blue-collar industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, waste and recycling, and hospitality. Leveraging its game-changing JobStack platform and 600-plus branch offices across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, PeopleReady served approximately 98,000 businesses and put approximately 221,000 people to work in 2020. Learn more at www.peopleready.com.

Survey Questions – Cause for Concern?

The Global Fan Survey regarding Indycar released Monday by Motorsport Network had some interesting questions. Many fans have commented on some of the more controversial items on the survey. I wonder if Indycar is actually considering some of theses moves or if the ideas were just put out there to take the pulse of the fans. The best news is that playoffs weren’t asked about. That puts this survey a step ahead of the Boston Consulting Group.

My thoughts on some of the questions:

If you have read this column at all, you know my feelings on this. If the yellow is out when the race distance is reached, it’s over, too bad. Things happen. Race Director Kyle Novak seems very quick on the trigger to throw a red flag to get a green flag finish- Detroit Race 1 last year is Exhibit A. Let the race continue unless there is an obvious safety issue with a barrier or the track is completely blocked. Green flag finishes are not an entitlement.

Who says the races aren’t exciting? There will be the occasional snoozer, and some tracks lend themselves to a dull race, but heats (stages) or breaks won’t change that. it’s not worth it for two exciting laps on a restart. I have watched ARCA and Truck races where they have a break. It’s like recess at school. After the break, the race loses a couple more green flag laps for the restart. Can you imagine the Indianapolis 500 with a break after 85 laps?

Who defines dangerous driving? Is blocking dangerous? What about pit violations? I thought Indycar drivers are pretty free to race. I don’t want to see the over regulation that F1 has, where every touch is investigated.

Oval qualifying at non Indy races is pretty lackluster. I don’t know what can be done about it, but heat races and 4 lap qualifying are not solutions. Heat races were tried at Iowa a few years ago, and they weren’t very exciting. No one wanted to risk damaging their car before the race. Let’s leave four lap averages to the Indianapolis 500 to keep it unique.

One modification I would like to see to the non-Indy ovals is qualifying order. Instead of setting the order by point standings, I would like to see the order determined by the order of the final practice session at that track.

I am glad that Indycar is asking for fan input. The results will be announced at the opening round at St. Pete the weekend of February 25-27. If you haven’t taken the survey yet, please do so.

The link:

 2022 Global INDYCAR Survey

Indycar Reveals Indy Lights Schedule: 14 Races, 2 Ovals

From Indycar:

New Era for Series Includes Return to Iowa Speedway, Debut at Nashville

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022) – INDYCAR is launching a new era of operational control of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires with the announcement of a 14-race schedule for 2022.

The schedule features events in 11 key markets and three doubleheader weekends, including a return to Iowa Speedway and the series’ debut on the Streets of Nashville. In November 2021, INDYCAR added the role of promoter to its position of sanctioning body of Indy Lights.

All 14 races, qualifying sessions and practices will happen within 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekends, providing an inclusive atmosphere for the developmental series that serves as the final step toward competing in North America’s premier open-wheel series. Where available, Indy Lights will benefit from a more integrated paddock area as its team garages will be inside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES paddock footprint. Additional integration will come in marketing, digital assets and race officiating.

“To have all 14 races included with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule and its world-class venues is a tremendous step forward,” said Levi Jones, director of Indy Lights. “In addition to competing for the 2022 championship, Indy Lights drivers, crew members and teams will be able to see up close how event weekends run and operate in INDYCAR.

“Racing is the part they’ve known their whole life. Our goal is to also allow them the opportunity to see what it takes to become a true professional. The chance to connect and closely interact with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES paddock is a pathway to realize that goal.”

The 2022 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season begins Sunday, Feb. 27 on the Streets of St. Petersburg. It is the 17th year that Indy Lights has competed on the temporary street circuit. The championship continues Sunday, May 1 at picturesque Barber Motorsports Park before the first doubleheader of the season on the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14.

The second doubleheader of 2022 is scheduled for Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit before the classic American road courses of Road America on Sunday, June 12 and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, July 3.

The first oval of the season comes Saturday, July 23 at Iowa Speedway. It marks the first appearance by Indy Lights on the .875-mile, D-shaped layout since 2018. It is followed by the series debut on the fan-favorite Streets of Nashville on Sunday, Aug. 7 and another oval at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 20.

A series of test days also will be included in the overall calendar for the 2022 season, at the IMS road course (Tuesday, April 5), World Wide Technology Raceway (Wednesday, June 15) and Iowa Speedway (Wednesday, June 22).

“The key is we are training successful athletes today to become superstars tomorrow,” Jones said. “Tests and races at all three venues, combined with the remaining schedule, will help provide each of our drivers the experience they need to be ready for the final step of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”

The 2022 championship finishes with a flurry of three races in eight days. The final stretch starts Sunday, Sept. 4 with an event at Portland International Raceway for the 18th season. The series champion will be crowned at the final doubleheader of the season, Saturday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

In the United States, all races will be broadcast live on Peacock Premium, NBCUniversal’s expanding streaming service, with additional coverage during race weekends provided by the INDYCAR Radio Network.

“Last season, over 20 drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES competed in Indy Lights at some point in their career,” Jones said. “It is a proven pipeline to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and we believe the connection will strengthen as the sanctioning body assumes operational control. There is little question the 2022 championship trophy will be one the champion will keep on their shelf forever and could be a sign of bigger success to come afterward.”

Start times for 2022 events will be announced at a later date.

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 Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden. 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 www.indylights.com. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

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 www.coopertire.comwww.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/coopertire.

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 www.goodyear.com/corporate.

Montoya Returns to 500 with AMSP

From Arrow McLaren SP:

Juan Pablo Montoya, Arrow McLaren SP and Mission Foods will team up for a second consecutive year, with the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion competing in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet for both the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Montoya will again join full-time Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist to complete the team’s lineup for the Month of May.  
 
Montoya returns to Arrow McLaren SP after competing for the team last year, finishing ninth in the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500. This year will see him attempt to qualify for his seventh entry into the race, having competed six times in his career, including winning as a rookie in 2000 and again 15 years later in 2015.  
 
The MISSION brand will be represented on the No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and Montoya’s race suit during both races, as well as continuing to be featured on the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet piloted by O’Ward and the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet piloted by Rosenqvist. 

Mission Foods first partnered with Arrow McLaren SP in 2020 and the successful partnership continues to find new and exciting ways to activate and reach new consumers through the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. 
 
The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place on May 29, 2022 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Follow along with Arrow McLaren SP all season long on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube at @ArrowMcLarenSP.

Juan Pablo Montoya, Driver, No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet:  
 
“I’m excited to return to Indianapolis with Arrow McLaren SP and Mission, to once again compete in a race that holds a special place in my heart – the Indianapolis 500. I had a great experience with the team last year and look forward to building on the progress we made in 2021. I think we have a real shot at competing at the front of the field and challenging for the win.” 
 
Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing: 
 
“We’re delighted to have both Juan Pablo and Mission Foods back for another Indianapolis 500. Juan Pablo is an institution in motorsport, with two Indianapolis 500 victories and an impressive Formula 1 career with multiple wins for McLaren. He adds experience that really benefits our team, giving us another driver with the potential to win anytime he steps into the car.” 
 
Juan Gonzalez, Mission Foods Chief Executive Officer: 
 
“We are thrilled to partner again with Juan Pablo Montoya and Arrow McLaren SP for the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis 500 and Juan Pablo are legendary to racing and loved by race fans everywhere. It’s an honor for our brand to align with icons like these.”