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.

Matthew Brabham Returns to Indy Lights with Andretti

Photo from Andretti Autosport

Matthew Brabham will return to Indy Lights, driving the number 83 car for Andretti Autosport. Brabham has spent the last few years driving in Stadium Super Trucks. Andretti as usual has a solid stable of drivers in Indy Lights, including veteran Sting Ray Robb.

The announcement from Andretti Autosport:

01.10.22

Indy Lights veteran Matthew Brabham will return to the Road to Indy ladder system in 2022 with Andretti Autosport as he steps into the No. 83 Indy Lights machine. Brabham and Andretti Autosport have a storied history together competing in both the Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championships. The second-generation driver was crowned the 2013 Indy Pro 2000 Champion (formerly Pro Mazda). Brabham returns to the American open-wheel series with unfinished business as he finished in the top four of the Indy Lights championship in 2014.

“We’re really excited to have Matty back in our Indy Lights lineup,” said Michael Andretti, Chairman and CEO, Andretti Autosport. “He’s always shown natural talent behind the wheel and was a great Road to Indy contender for us in the past. I’m really looking forward to seeing what our Indy Lights lineup accomplishes this year as all of their talents continue to grow.”

Brabham first entered the Road to Indy ladder with the USF2000 Championship in 2012, where he captured the 2012 championship with four wins and 11 podium finishes. The 2012 USF2000 scholarship propelled the Australian-American to the Indy Pro 2000 field where 13 victories, 10 pole positions and 15 podiums led to the 2013 title and the chance to compete in Indy Lights for the 2014 season. Brabham went on to collect one victory, one pole position and 10 top-five finishes in 17 Indy Lights race starts.

“I’m extremely grateful to Michael, JF and everyone who is a part of Andretti Autosport,” said Brabham. “They have given me many great opportunities over the years, including this one. We have accomplished amazing results together. We have won a total of 14 races and a championship in the past. I’m absolutely ecstatic to be back racing full time in a proper open-wheel car again with a top team. I feel it’s where I’ve always belonged. I’m willing to give everything I have at this and more to follow my dream of getting back into the INDYCAR SERIES.”

Brabham completes Andretti Autosport’s lineup piloting the No. 83 Dallara for the 2022 Indy Lights season alongside teammates Sting Ray Robb [No. 2 Dallara], Hunter McElrea [No. 27 Dallara] and Christian Rasmussen [No. 28 Dallara].

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.

Happy Holidays From The Pit Window

Merry Christmas, Happy belated Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa- whichever you celebrate, I hope you enjoy your holiday. I want to thank all of you for reading and for helping The Pit Window smash all records this year. In keeping with tradition, I have some gifts for the racing community.

For Roger Penske, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Doug Boles-

An Indianapolis 500 run on the scheduled date with fans.

For the NTT Indycar Series-

A full 17 race schedule.

For Indy Lights-

A 15 car field at every race.

For Scott Mclaughlin and Jimmie Johnson

A successful first year in the Indycar Series.

For Jack Harvey and Pato O’Ward

Your first Indycar wins.

For A. J. Foyt Racing and Sebastien Bourdais

A consistent season with better qualifying and stronger race results.

For the Music City Grand Prix-

A successful debut event.

For Scott Dixon-

A seventh championship.

For Josef Newgarden-

An Indianapolis 500 victory.

For Graham Rahal-

A return to the winner’s circle.

For the fans-

Going to the races you want to as conditions approve.

And for all the readers of this humble column-

A safe holiday and a happy new year.

I will be back next with two columns as i end this year.

Carlin Returns to Indy Lights; Another IMS Icon Passes

Carlin Racing will field two cars on the Indy Lights grid in 2021, marking a return to the series in which the team began its journey into Indycar. Carlin first entered Indy Lights with drivers Max Chilton and Ed Jones. The goal was to move into Indycar while maintaining an Indy Lights program for driver development. Carlin’s return gives a little more prestige to the series and insures that the the 2021 field will have more than 10 cars. The official release:

Carlin return to Indy Lights with Peroni

Alex Peroni

2016 Indy Lights Champions Carlin will re-join the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series for the 2021 season with former FIA F3 driver Alex Peroni. The Anglo-American team are joining forces with the Australian born racer as he makes his debut in US racing.

21-year-old Peroni comes to the US having raced in the FIA Formula 3 Championship in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.  Peroni missed the final round of the 2019 season following a horrific crash at Monza but came back strong in 2020 to claim three podium finishes and two fastest laps to take 10th in the standings in the 30-car field.

Carlin return to Indy Lights with a two car team following two years out of the series as the team became established in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.  Working in conjunction with former Indy car driver and Indy Lights champion Jay Howard, the Carlin team will also serve as the top rung of Jay Howard’s Driver Development (JHDD) and will be based out of Carlin’s US base in Delray Beach, Florida and run alongside the team’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES operation.

“I’m seriously pumped to be joining the 2021 Indy Lights field and to be doing it with a team such as Carlin who I know have been successful in the series before and of course I know well from Europe,” said Peroni. “I’m so thankful to Blundstone and the state of Tasmania for their continued support and for allowing me to follow my dream.

“No doubt there will be a lot to learn in terms of both the car and the different circuits, but I am absolutely ready for the challenge and know I will have a great team behind me to bring me up to speed.”

Speaking about the team’s newest signing, Trevor Carlin said, “We’re really excited to be back in Indy Lights having been so successful in the series in the past. It’s a fantastic series to prepare drivers for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and it was always our aim to return to the junior formula once we had become more settled in INDYCAR.

“We’re very proud that Alex and his sponsors have chosen Carlin as the team to take his first steps into US racing.  We know having raced against him in the immensely competitive FIA Formula 3 Championship what he is capable of and I can’t wait to see his potential evolve in the Indy Lights field.”

Photo, John Mahoney, USAC

Bill Marvel, longtime IMS public relations, died last night at the age of 90. I have never known the Speedway without Bill Marvel being a part of it. USAC, where Bill had several positions and was one of the founding members, released his obituary Sunday evening:

BILL MARVEL PASSES AWAY AT 90

BILL MARVEL PASSES AWAY AT 90

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (December 20, 2020)………They broke the mold when they made Bill Marvel.

There have been few individuals who achieved as much in as many different realms in their lives and did so with as much passion and dedication from start to finish than did Bill Marvel, who passed away Sunday evening, December 20, 2020, at the age of 90 years old.

From the day of his birth to his last breath, Marvel was one a of a kind.  With an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, his contributions to the sports world and the subsequent impact he’s made on others, are the kind of which that will be forever admired.

Marvel, a charter member of the United States Auto Club, was there on the scene of the very first USAC event ever held, a National Midget race on January 8, 1956 at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind.  Marvel was on hand to greet feature winner Gene Hartley in victory lane with a Hoosier Auto Racing Fans jacket, an organization of which he was the president of at the time.

With USAC, he has served in the official capacities as a Corporate Advisor from 1978-1982 as well as a Vice President/Corporate Affairs from 1983-1997.  Marvel dedicated much of his life to assisting injured drivers in need of financial aid through the USAC Benevolent Foundation as the Executive Director.

In 1997, Marvel was presented the Ross Hadley Achievement Award for his dedication to the United States Auto Club and the sport of auto racing.  In 2014, Marvel was the recipient of the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, presented annually by the President of USAC in memory of USAC Executive Vice President and former champion driver Roger McCluskey, recognizing the standards of excellence he set in the sport of auto racing.

Born on June 21, 1930, Marvel graduated from Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, Ind., class of 1948, then set forth on serving his country as a United States Marine between 1948-1955 with active duty for three years between 1950-1952 in the Korean War.

Following his honorable discharge from the military, Marvel set forth on a 60-plus year journey in management, public relations, editing, publishing (magazine and newspaper), radio, public address, television announcing, retail sales, marketing and sales.

Marvel was the News Media Liaison Officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between 1953 and 1967 and was an Off-Track Coordinator for major accessory companies.

Marvel was there at the introduction of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway in 1969 in the role of General Manager & Director of Public Relations, as well as the General Manager for Texas World Speedway, New Jersey’s Trenton Speedway, the World Series of Auto Racing, plus the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Indiana’s Winchester Speedway, where he was also on the track’s Public Address system as an announcer.

His media prowess expanded to all aspects as he was the Editor & Publisher of Charger Auto Racing News, the National Racing Editor of U.S. Auto Sports Magazine and the Midwest Racing Editor for National Speed Sport News.  On the radio, he was an auto racing reporter for WIBC in Indianapolis as well as the Color Commentator & Coordinator for Indianapolis 500 activities on WISH-TV in Indianapolis.

Marvel also had his hand in the movie business as a consultant with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward for the 1969 racing movie, “Winning,” starring Hollywood heavyweights Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner.

In addition to his racing duties, Marvel was the Sports Information Director for Butler University and served as the Director of Public Relations for the Indiana Pacers during their ABA and NBA days during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s.  He served in the same role for the World Hockey Association’s Indianapolis Racers during the 1970s, the team best known as the first professional stop for future NHL greats and Hockey Hall of Fame players Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

Marvel was also in charge of Marketing & Sales for the Indiana Loves, a charter franchise in World Team Tennis.

He was Director of Public Relations for the sports management and public relations firm, Sports Headliners, where he represented such racing figures as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Jackie Stewart, Rodger Ward, Billy Vukovich, Roger McCluskey, Graham Hill, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Jim Clark, as well as NFL Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and O.J. Simpson.

In addition, he also was the Director of Special Events for the Houston Astrodome where, among his duties, he organized the driver lineup and the marketing of the mega USAC Midget events inside the building known as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” beginning in 1969.

He was the President of Marvel-ous Racing Promotions and had a tenure as the President of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and also coordinated public relations and publicity for three-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Johnny Rutherford during his successful relationship with the Gatorade/McLaren Racing Team in the 1970s.

A man of many talents, and boundless motivation to succeed, Marvel also found time to own and operate his own personal business, Bill’s Unclaimed Freight, in which he too served as President.

While Bill had a brief race driving career in his younger days, his sons Brad and Billy Marvel Jr. were talented wheelmen in their own right.  Brad Marvel won a USAC National Sprint Car feature event at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in 1996 during Indiana Sprint Week while Billy Jr. was just beginning his sprint car career when he tragically lost his life in an accident at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind. in 1983.  An award in Billy Jr.’s memory is still presented to this day by HARF to the top “first year driver” in the state of Indiana each season.  Bill’s grandson, and Brad’s son, Justin Marvel, was the victor of a USAC National Sprint Car feature at New York’s Canandaigua Speedway in 2006.

An inductee of both the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Hall of Fame and the National Association of Auto Racing Fans, Bill has been honored with the Tom Carnegie Legacy Award from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club; the Angelo Angelopoulos Memorial Award by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association; the Unsung Hero Award presented by Andy Granatelli at the Indy 500; the Indy 500 Old Timers Club Officials Award; the Bob Russo Founders Award from AARWBA; and the Louis Meyer Award for individuals who have contributed significantly to the success of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Zanardi Well Enough to Transfer; Kirkwood Gets a 2020 Do Over

Some bits of positive news:

Alex Zanardi, two time Indycar champion and paralympic gold medalist, continues to recover from his hand cycling accident last June. Zanardi suffered neurological and facial damage when his cycle hit a truck during a race in Tuscany. He had been in a facility in San Rafaella, but is moving to a rehabilitation center in Padua, which is closer to his home.

“The patient has reached a generally stable physical and neurological condition that permitted his transfer to another hospital equipped with all the necessary clinical specialties and closer to the family home,” said a spokesman for the San Rafaella hospital.

Kirkwood Returns to Andretti for Indy Lights

For 2021 Kyle Kirkwood will be where he was supposed to be in 2020. The 2018 USF200 champion and 2019 Indy Pro 200 champion will finally get to drive in Indy Lights for Andretti Autosport, where his 2020 season was going to take place.

Kirkwood spent the past season in IMSA, which is not a bad alternative. For one thing, he received some experience doing pit stops, which drivers don’t get in Indy Lights. I look for Kirkwood, who will be in car 28 for Andretti, to be a strong contender for the title.

Indycar Notes: Indy Lights Looks for Expanded Grid; Ganassi, Montoya Make Sports Car Moves

Some good news for Indy Lights. HMD is teaming with Global Racing Group to field a total of four cars in the Indy Lights field in 2021. Global Racing won the 2020 Formula Regional Americas title with Linus Lundqvist driving. HMD, owned by Henry Malukas ran David Malukas and Toby Sowery in 2019 Indy Lights. Sowery won a race in 2019.

The four car effort will double the current size of the field with the four cars from Andretti Autosport. Dan Andersen, owner of the Road to Indy, expects 11-13 cars on the grid in 2021.

Ganassi to Run DPi Cadillac in IMSA

Chip Ganassi Racing reenters IMSA with a DPi Cadillac entry next year. Ganassi ran the top class of prototypes in the Grand Am series and also entered Fords in the GTLM class through 2019. He takes over the Cadillac entry from Wayne Taylor, who is switching to Acura. Drivers have not been named, but I expect Scott Dixon to be the extra driver for the endurance races.

Montoya Signs with Dragonspeed

Juan Pablo Montoya will drive for Dragonspeed int he World Endurance Championship in 2021. The two time Indianapolis 500 winner drove for Team Penske Acura in IMSA the last three years, winning the championship in 2019. he finished the season with a second place overall at the Sebring 12 Hour race last Saturday.

Montoya will team with Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley. Hanley drove Dragonspeed’s entry in the last two Indianapolis 500s. The team will not compete in any Indycar races in 2021.

Quiet at Coyne

We may have gotten spoiled the last couple of years as Dale Coyne Racing had their driver lineups set by Christmas. The quiet from the Coyne shop seems strange, but this is the way it used to be with the team.

I think some news may be coming soon, and it involves a possible new owner in Indycar. Stay tuned.

Requests

What stories would you like to see for the final six weeks of 2020? History? Reprints of previous articles? Let me know. I’m thinking of publishing some my non-racing creative writing, but I like you guys too much to bore you with that.

I will have at least one more column before Thanksgiving. Stay safe, mask up, and wash your hands.

Updated: Indy Lights Schedule Has a Glaring Omission

Indy lights releaed their 2021 schedule as the top rung of the Road to Indy returns next season after a one year absence. The grid should have between 12-15 cars, with a strong field of drivers including IndyPro 2000 champion Sting Ray Robb. I am excited to see Indy lights return.

Missing from the schedule is the Freedom 100, a Carb Day staple since 2001. My understanding is that this was an Indycar decision. It takes away some of the entertainment value of Carb Day. Indy lights has had some great races at IMS. I assume Indycar might get a 2 hour practice that day to make up for it. I would rather watch an Indy Lights race than watch the Pit Stop Competition.

The two oval races will be at World Wide Technology Raceway August 20 and 21. The schedule also has Indy lights returning to the Detroit GP for the first time in a few years.

Update: Indycar has issued a statement regarding no Freedom 100 in May:

The schedule:

I’ll be back tomorrow with my St. Pete preview.

Indy Lights Set for 2021 Return; Increased Scholarship and Testing Opportunities

Lights 1 Banner
Indy Lights returns in 2021 with a bigger incentive package. Photo: Indy Lights

Great news from Indy lights:

Championship Incentives include Larger Scholarship, INDYCAR Test

PALMETTO, Fla. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires has served as a crucial step for many drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES including young stars Oliver Askew, Colton Herta, Patricio O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay amongst many others. Following a year’s hiatus due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series is set to re-emerge in 2021 in its rightful place as the stepping-stone to the pinnacle of American open-wheel racing. The rejuvenated Indy Lights series will benefit from additional initiatives being formulated in conjunction with INDYCAR, its sanctioning body, to ensure continued growth as the top level of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires driver development system.

Enhancements in 2021 include an increased value of the champion’s scholarship award to $1,250,000. A guaranteed entry for the champion into at least three 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES events, including the Indianapolis 500, will remain. Also new in 2021, the top-three finishers in the Indy Lights championship will each receive a NTT INDYCAR SERIES test at the conclusion of the season.

The driver assist program remains an important part of the entire Road to Indy program. Since the formation of the ladder system in 2010, 37 Indy Lights drivers have made starts in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Twenty-three of the 33 starters in this year’s Indianapolis 500 were Indy Lights graduates including eight Indy Lights champions.

“After careful planning with the INDYCAR team, we are pleased to confirm the exciting addition of a season-ending INDYCAR test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway soon after the 2021 season,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We continue to explore additional ways to strengthen the Indy Lights championship. In the interim, we want to spread the word that Indy Lights will be back and it will be stronger than ever.”

“From top to bottom, the entire team recognizes the role and commitment Indy Lights has played in bringing new talent to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment. “We are firmly committed to ensuring its continued success.”

The 2021 Indy Lights grid will see three scholarship cars in what is expected to be a solid field. Reigning Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion Kyle Kirkwood will return in his quest to be the first driver to win successive championships in all three levels of the Road to Indy. The still-to-be-named 2020 Indy Pro 2000 champion will advance to the next level. That field is headed by Juncos Racing’s Sting Ray Robb, who holds a 49-point lead with five races remaining in a battle for a guaranteed Indy Lights program with the team of a driver’s choice. In addition, the FR Americas champion will also earn an Indy Lights scholarship for next season. That championship has been dominated by Swedish driver Linus Lundqvist, who has won 12 of the 14 races held to date.

The Cooper tire-shod Dallara IL-15 with a 450-horsepower AER powerplant will see the addition of a Dallara-designed and installed Titanium Halo in 2021 for increased safety. The package has produced incredible competition with a strong parity across the board showcasing racecraft. With similarities to an Indy car, the equipment package provides the appropriate training for drivers to take the next step including a six-speed, paddle-shift transmission, a 50-horsepower “push-to-pass” feature, “drive-by-wire” throttle control and advanced engine management electronics.

The 2021 Indy Lights calendar will be unveiled prior to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES finale, October 25, on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The schedule will see some change, but will remain a 10-event, 18-race schedule featuring all three circuit types – oval, road course and street circuit.