Update from IMS- Rain Delays Rookie Tests

A damp morning pushed back the start of on track activity by 10 minutes this morning. Jimmie Johnson left thepits first Romain Grosjean followed. Both drivers did an installation lap and returned to the pits. Johnson left to begin Phase 1 of his roomie test. Grosjean started out, but the yellow light came on for moisture at the south end of the track.

Johnson had completed five laps with a top speed of 208 mph.

Track drying efforts halted after a soaking rain hit the track.

Track drying has just resumed. More rain may arrive around 3:30.

Here are some photos from this morning.

Johnson, Grosjean Take Next Step in Indycar Careers

Photo: Romain Grosjean set for his new team.

Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean hope to complete Rookie Oientation tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today in preparation for their Indianapolis 500 debuts next May.

Jimmie Johnson. Indycar photo by Chris Jones

Johnson did not run any ovals in 2021, while Grosjean ran one, At World Wide Technology Raceway. Grosjean did a great job on his initial oval run.

Today’s activity begins at 10:30 am. ROP was originally scheduled to begin at noon, but was moved up because of a chance of rain this afternoon. The Turn 2 viewing mounds are open. There is no streaming of the tests.

Each car gets three sets of tires for the three phase test.

Phase 1- 10 laps 205-210 mph

Phase 2- 15 laps at 210-215 mph

Phase 3- 15 laps at at 215 + mph.

It will be hard to get used to seeing the 28 car with someone other than Ryan Hunter-Reay in it.

Road to Indy Final Day Saw Title Hopes Slip Slidin’ Away

Photo: Will Kyle Kirkwood find an Indycar ride for 2022?

David Malukas slim title hopes for the Indy Lights championship got a bit more life as he won the pole for Sunday’s final race of the season at Mid Ohio. The pole was only one of three things that needed to happen for him to take the crown from Kyle Kirkwood.

At turn 1 after the start, however, it was all over as Malukas overshot the turn and was in last place by turn 4. All Kirkwood had to do was finish the race in virtually any position. Kirkwood finished fifth.

Give Malukas credit. he did not give up. He worked his way through the field on a very slippery track to finish second. Kirkwood won the title by 13 points. Malukas had one of the best Road to Indy drives i have ever seen. it was right up there with Spencer Pigot at Sonoma, who was spun out on the first lap and came from last place to finish fifth, which is where he needed to be to win the championship. Linus Lundqvist won the race, and was third in the season standings. Lujndqvist and Malukas both plan to drive in Indycar in 2022.

Kyle Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood is the first driver to win the title on all three levels of the Road to Indy. In a twist of irony, he accomplished that feat on the day he lost a race at Mid Ohio for the first time. Kirkwood had won seven straight open wheel races at this track.

In a normal year, we would definitely see Kirkwood in Indycar next year, but where he drives next year is uncertain. I will have more about that later this week.

USF 2000- Running Out the Clock

Going first can have its disadvantages, and the USF 2000 Series had the worst race and qualifying conditions of the day. Qualifying was abandoned after the time time period ran out. The number of slideoffs and red flags didn’t allow for the guaranteed 20 minutes of green flag running. The grid was set using Saturday’s second fastest qualifying laps.

On lap 1 Josh green got past pole sitter Michael D’Orlando in turn 4 to take the lead. Green kept the position as numerous spins caused the race to run under caution most of the time. The race ended as the time limit expired.

Kiko Porto, Banco Daycoval/Petromega, DEForce Racing, Victory Lane Championship winner

Kiko Porto, the season champion, finished third. Porto will move to Indy Pro 2000 in 2022. It’s nice to see another brazilian driver moving up the ladder.

Indy Pro 2000- Improved Conditions Lead to Best Race of the Day

The final race of the day saw bits of sunshine on a rapidly improving track. It still wasn’t perfect, but the racing was the best of the day. Three lead changes among three driver made for a good event. James Roe won the race for his first victory of the year. He edged Emaan Ahmed by 0.1412 seconds at the line.

Christian Rasmussen claimed the season title just by starting the race. he will be a force in Indy Lights next year.

Christian Rasmussen

Grosjean, Johnson Take IMS Rookie Tests Wednesday

From Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway & NTT INDYCAR SERIES
Grosjean, Johnson To Take Indy 500 Rookie Test Wednesday at IMS


Grosjean and Johnson, both series rookies in the 2021 season, will attempt to complete the test that involves a series of laps at three controlled speed phases on the 2.5-mile oval. The Rookie Orientation Program is a prerequisite for participation in the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29, 2022.
Former Formula One standout Grosjean plans to compete in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in the No. 28 DHL Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport, while seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson is exploring possible participation in the race in the No. 48 Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.

Note

I understand that fans may view the tests from the turn 2 viewing mounds.

Wet Qualifying, Dry Races

I woke up to an improved forecast this morning which shows any rain should be gone before 10 am. Some qualifying might be affected, but the races should be dry.

From last night:

Points Leaders On the Verge of Road to Indy Titles

Today’s Schedule:

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2021
6:30 AM – 3:00 PM TECH OPEN – USF2000 & INDY PRO 2000 (CLOSED FROM 12:00 PM -1:00 PM)
7:00 AM – 1:30 PM TECH OPEN – INDY LIGHTS
7:30 AM – 1:00 PM CREDENTIALS OPEN – MAIN GATE
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM USF2000 QUALIFYING 2 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING 2
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM INDY PRO 2000 QUALIFYING 2 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
10:15 AM – 10:40 AM SBRS QUALIFYING 2
11:00 AM – 11:40 AM USF2000 RACE 2
12:00 PM – 12:50 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 2
1:10 PM – 2:00 PM INDY PRO 2000 RACE 2
2:15 PM – 2:40 PM SBRS RACE 2

The Road to Indy tv app will have the action live today.

Points Leaders On the Verge of Road to Indy Titles

One championship is over and the other two will be when the green flag begins the respective races tomorrow.

Yuven Sunaramoorthy (center) won the race, but Kiko Porto (right) won the season title. Photo from Road to Indy

Kiko Porto, 18, from Brazil, clinched the USF2000 title by finishing third in Race 1 today. Porto qualified fifth and moved t third after an early accident took out the drivers running second and third. Porto has a 45 point lead over Braden Eves, who finished fifth today.

Yuven Sundaramoothy won his fourth race of the year. He passed pole sitter Michael D’Orlando just before the yellow flag came out for the incident between Jace Denmark and Prescott Campbell . Sundaramoothy will finish third in the points.

The USF2000 race was the day’s final event, and it was the best race of the best race of the day. There was lots of passing and quite a bit side by side action in turns 5 and 6.

Christian Rasmussen’s crew cheers him on after winning. He celebrates on the podium. Photo from Road to Indy

Rasmussen Clinches Indy Pro 2000 Title with Win

Christian Rasmussen extended his narrow lead over Braden Eves by winning the Indy Pro 2000 Race 1. To officially claim the title, Rasmussen just needs to start tomorrow’s race.

Kyle Kirkwood gets his seventh checkered flag at Mid Ohio. Photo from Road to Indy

Kirkwood Keeps Mid Ohio Record Perfect

Kyle Kirkwood has never lost an open race at Mid Ohio. He started from pole today and built a six second lead over his nearest competitor, David Malukas. Kirkwood led the entire race. He has ane asy path to the championship- win the pole or if he doesn’t, just start the race.

Kirkwood’s win was his seventh straight at Mid Ohio and fourth straight in his late season run.

A Pleasant Day at the Track

Today was one of the most pleasant days I have ever spent at a race track. The weather was perfect, the races were fun to watch, and the crowd was sparse. It was nice not have to constantly rub elbows with other fans or stand in a long line for anything.

I don’t know if this how the Road to Indy plans to end their seasons from now on, but I hope this continues. After the intense grind of the Indycar season, it was refreshing for me just to watch kids race and not have much rooting interest. Kirkwood was the only driver I was cheering for.

The day was also a good way to get a look at who might be some future stars of Indycar.

Weather May Be a Factor in Road to Indy Championships

The Road to Indy championship rounds begin this morning with qualifying, followed by the first races this afternoon.

Today at Mid Ohio the temperature should be 78 degrees, mostly cloudy, with only a 15% chance of rain. Tomorrow, however, calls for a high of 73 degrees and a 72% chance of rain.

The forecast could make for some intense racing today since tomorrow’s conditions could be less than optimal.

Today’s schedule:

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2021
7:30 AM – 5:00 PM TECH OPEN – USF2000 & INDY PRO 2000 (CLOSED FROM 12:30 PM -1:30 PM)
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM TECH OPEN – INDY LIGHTS (CLOSED FROM 11:30 AM -12:30 PM)
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM CREDENTIALS OPEN – MAIN GATE
8:00 AM – 8:25 AM SBRS PRACTICE 2
8:40 AM – 9:10 AM USF2000 PRACTICE 1
9:25 AM – 10:05 AM INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING 1
10:20 AM – 10:50 AM INDY PRO 2000 QUALIFYING 1 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
11:05 AM – 11:30 AM SBRS QUALIFYING 1
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM USF2000 QUALIFYING 1 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
1:00 PM – 1:50 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 1
2:05 PM – 2:55 PM INDY PRO 2000 RACE 1
3:10 PM – 3:35 PM SBRS RACE 1
3:50 PM – 4:30 PM USF2000 RACE 1

The action today and tomorrow will be on Road to Indy TV.

Robin Miller Celebration

The Celebration of Life for Robin Miller today will be streamed live on RACER.com at 11:45 Eastern. The live program is closed to the public. The celebration should last about 75 minutes.

Road to Indy Championship Weekend ; Lights, Pro Titles Up for Grabs

Kyle Kirkwood takes a 15 point lead into the final weekend for Indy Lights

The Road to Indy goes to Mid Ohio this weekend for double headers in each series- USF 2000, Indy Pro 2000, and Indy Lights. While the USF 2000 series looks to be firmly in Kiko Porto’s grasp, there are close battles for the top spots and the scholarships that come with them in both Indy Pro and Indy Lights. Indy Lights carries the added importance of a bit of a budget to take to an Indycar team.

In Indy Pro 2000, Christian Rasmussen leads Braden Eves by 18 points. Kyle Kirkwood holds a 15 point advantage over David Malukas in Indy Lights. Both drivers are expected to be in Indycar next season.

The track is open to spectators for a $20 admission for the weekend. Tickets are only available at the gate. The paddock is open to spectators.

Skip Barber Racing School is also racing at Mid Ohio Saturday and Sunday.

The schedule:

MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE (V1)
SEPTEMBER 30 – OCTOBER 3, 2021
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
5:00 PM RTI TEAMS LOAD-IN

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2021
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM TECH OPEN – USF2000 & INDY PRO 2000 (CLOSED FROM 12:00 PM -1:00 PM)
9:00 AM – 9:20 AM SBRS TEST SESSION 1
10:00 AM – 10:20 AM SBRS TEST SESSION 2
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM TECH OPEN – INDY LIGHTS
11:00 AM – 11:20 AM SBRS TEST SESSION 3
12:00 PM – 12:20 PM SBRS TEST SESSION 4
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM CREDENTIALS OPEN – MAIN GATE
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM TIRE SCANNING – USF2000, INDY PRO 2000, INDY LIGHTS
2:20 PM – 2:45 PM SBRS PRACTICE 1
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM INDY LIGHTS PRACTICE 1
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM INDY PRO 2000 PRACTICE 1


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2021
7:30 AM – 5:00 PM TECH OPEN – USF2000 & INDY PRO 2000 (CLOSED FROM 12:30 PM -1:30 PM)
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM TECH OPEN – INDY LIGHTS (CLOSED FROM 11:30 AM -12:30 PM)
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM CREDENTIALS OPEN – MAIN GATE
8:00 AM – 8:25 AM SBRS PRACTICE 2
8:40 AM – 9:10 AM USF2000 PRACTICE 1
9:25 AM – 10:05 AM INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING 1
10:20 AM – 10:50 AM INDY PRO 2000 QUALIFYING 1 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
11:05 AM – 11:30 AM SBRS QUALIFYING 1
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM USF2000 QUALIFYING 1 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
1:00 PM – 1:50 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 1
2:05 PM – 2:55 PM INDY PRO 2000 RACE 1
3:10 PM – 3:35 PM SBRS RACE 1
3:50 PM – 4:30 PM USF2000 RACE 1


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2021
6:30 AM – 3:00 PM TECH OPEN – USF2000 & INDY PRO 2000 (CLOSED FROM 12:00 PM -1:00 PM)
7:00 AM – 1:30 PM TECH OPEN – INDY LIGHTS
7:30 AM – 1:00 PM CREDENTIALS OPEN – MAIN GATE
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM USF2000 QUALIFYING 2 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING 2
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM INDY PRO 2000 QUALIFYING 2 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
10:15 AM – 10:40 AM SBRS QUALIFYING 2
11:00 AM – 11:40 AM USF2000 RACE 2
12:00 PM – 12:50 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 2
1:10 PM – 2:00 PM INDY PRO 2000 RACE 2
2:15 PM – 2:40 PM SBRS RACE 2

Indy Lights Standings:

Pos.DriverPoints
1Kyle Kirkwood – R488
2David Malukas473
3Linus Lundqvist – R403
4Benjamin Pedersen – R322
5Danial Frost – R304
6Devlin DeFrancesco – R294
7Robert Megennis285
8Toby Sowery

Indy Pro 2000 Standings:

Pos.DriverPoints
1Christian Rasmussen – R392
2Braden Eves374
3Hunter McElrea347
4Reece Gold – R337
5Artem Petrov329
6Jacob Abel259
7Kyffin Simpson – R231
8Manuel Sulaiman214

USF2000 Standings:

Pos.DriverPoints
1Kiko Porto368
2Michael d’Orlando319
3Yuven Sundaramoorthy295
4Josh Pierson266
5Christian Brooks257
6Josh Green229
7Spike Kohlbecker – R210
8Jace Denmark – R203

Your favorite blogger will be heading to Mid Ohio early Saturday morning. I will be going, too.

Andersen Adds USF Juniors

Dan Andersen has added another entry level series, USF Juniors, to the Road to Indy. Andersen believes USF 2000 is attracting drivers above the true entry level and wants to provide a lower starting point for young drivers. The series will be sanctioned by USAC and will have 16-18 races, all on road courses.

Indy Lights Moves to Penske Entertainment

Sunday will be the last Indy Lights race under the auspices of Andersen’s road to Indy. Starting in2022, Indy Lights will become part of Indycar. The move is to create a greater connection between Indycar teams and the step just below it. More Indycar teams are expected to field teams in the series, which has struggled in recent years to have respectable car count.

Dan Andersen saved Indy Lights a couple of years by putting a lot of his own money into the series. The car counts have improved. I wish to thank Andersen for his hard work on the Road to Indy and for keeping Indy Lights running.

Detroit GP to Leave Belle Isle?

Discussions began today in Detroit to possibly move the Detroit Grand prix to a downtown street race. Formula 1 first raced on the downtown streets in 1982, and Indycar also raced in the heart of the city until 1991.

Ayrton Senna on his way to victory in the 1986 Detroit Grand Prix. Image from the Detroit Free Press

The proposed circuit doesn’t look that thrilling. It looks more like a gloriifed oval, something Formula E would run on.

A statement from the Detroit Grand Prix:

As the plans for this proposed new circuit come more into focus, I will discuss some of the pros and cons of the move to downtown.