IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off


#209

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Sunday at Indianapolis - The Chris Griffis Memorial Test concludes…

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…and just like on Saturday, each of the three series that make up the Road to Indy ladder system had 3 test session apiece for the drivers who showed up to test. This is their opportunity to impress a team enough to get signed and it is ALSO the team’s opportunity to impress prospective drivers, so come March the best drivers possible are in their cars.

As with Saturday, we’re going to post the TOP SIX performances on the day from each series. Saturday was cooler and almost all the times posted then were overall faster than Sunday, but the weather was good on the Indy road course all day, Sunday. Let’s start with the Indy Lights, sessions 4, 5 and 6 for the weekend…

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Here was the order of speed for the TOP SIX in Indy Lights, with all 3 sessions COMBINED: [R] denotes rookie in the series; the session for the driver’s time is in ( )

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1 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.0008s for a speed of 117.071mph (4)

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2 - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.0749s for a speed of 116.955mph (5)

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3 - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:15.3428s for a speed of 116.539mph (4)

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4 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.3470s for a speed of 116.533mph (4)

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5 - David Malukas [R], Belardi Auto Racing - time of 01:15.5715s for a speed of 116.187mph (5)

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6 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing - time of 01:16.1702s for a speed of 115.273mph (4)

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Notable

  • Oliver topped the morning session, Ryan Norman topped the mid-day session and Rob Megennis topped the last session. Andretti drivers lead the parade. Ryan Norman’s Saturday time was the best of the weekend.

  • Victor Franzoni did not drive a Lights car at all today but concentrated instead on shaking down the Tatuus PM-18 Pro Mazda car for new team Turn 3 Motorsport, for which he works full-time as mechanic, driver coach and test driver.

  • Also in Lights cars today were Parker Thompson for Team Pelfrey and Heamin Choi for Juncos Racing

Oliver Askew (left) Parker Thompson and Heamin Choi (right)

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#210

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Sunday at Indianapolis - The Chris Griffis Memorial Test concludes…(part 2)…

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Here was the order of speed for the TOP SIX in Pro Mazda, with all 3 sessions COMBINED: [R] denotes rookie in the series; the session for the driver’s time is in ( )

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1 - Victor Franzoni, Turn 3 Motorsport - time of 01:19.6712s for a speed of 110.208mph (4)

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2 - Julian Van der Watt [R], BN Racing - time of 01:19.7691s for a speed of 110.073mph (4)

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3 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:19.9740s for a speed of 109.791mph (4)

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4 - Mathias Soler-Obel [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 01:19.9980s for a speed of 109.758mph (6)

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5 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport - time of 01:20.0324s for a speed of 109.711mph (4)

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6 - Danial Frost [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:20.2530s for a speed of 109.409mph (4)

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Notable:

  • Instead of driving a Lights car, as he did yeasterday, 2017 Pro Mazda Champion Victor Franzoni spent the day shaking down the # 92 Tatuus PM-18 for new team Turn 3 Motorsport. Victor is their mechanic, driver coach and test driver. Predictably, he has lost none of his stuff and posted the TOP TIME for the day, topping T-4 and T-5.

  • Darren Keane’s TOP TIME from Saturday remains the best Pro Mazda time of the weekend, but he stuck to driving the USF2000 car for Cape Motorsports today.

  • Colombian Mathias Soler-Obel is the 2nd youngest guy at the Test, at 16 years old, but that didn’t stop him from posting the TOP TIME in the final session.

  • Also testing today were Kyle Dupell for BN Racing, Moises de la Vara for DEForce Racing and Igor Fraga for Exclusive Autosport

Victor Franzoni - the Champ’s still got it

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#212

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The Chris Griffis for 2018…What did we learn?..

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The annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test is over for 2018 and, as it does every year, it tells us a lot of what to expect in the Road to Indy ladder system for 2019…and it also doesn’t tell us enough. It can’t, because we can never know, unless and until announcements are made, who at the Test will end up in a seat driving in anger in 2019.

What it DOES do is make clear who SHOULD be in a car in 2019 and, if they get a ride, what we are likely to see from them in the new season. But if a guy or gal comes out of the woodwork, just before the season starts, and signs with a team, they can still fool all of the prognosticators and take a series by storm.

It should always be remembered that the number of cars and drivers at the test is NOT indicative of the number of cars that will grid for the 2019 season of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. These are just the folks that wanted to show up now and show what they can do. With ALL THAT SAID, it’s time to analyze what we saw over the last two days on the Indianapolis road course, starting with Indy Lights:
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The TOP TIME for the two days was put in by veteran Ryan Norman for his 2018 / 2017 team, Andretti Autosport. Ryan posted two P1s, a P2 and a P3 and a P4, and that was even with missing the T-1 session, due to a mechanical. We’re not surprised. Norman knows the IL-15 well and ended 2018 with a pole at Portland, following his first WIN at Gateway. He has all the skills and he now knows he can win. Ryan will be one to watch in 2019.

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Ryan Norman

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Rookie Oliver Askew was also impressive, with a P1, three P2s, a P3 and a P5. Oliver drove for Andretti Autosport and seemed to get better with each test… Rookie Rob Megennis, who also piloted an Andretti car, was also hovering in the TOP FIVE all the test long, with two P5s, two P3s a P2 and then his outstanding P1 in the final test session. In 2018 Rob was in the shadow of his Juncos Racing teammate Rinus VeeKay in Pro Mazda, but in this test Rob waxed the Nederlander on pure performance over the two days in the Lights car.

Oliver Askew (left) and Robert Megennis

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Lastly we have to mention Victor Franzoni. The exciting and excitable Brazilian only ran 3 tests for Belardi Auto Racing on Saturday but collected two P1s and a P3. Like Norman, Franzoni knows the IL-15 after his rookie season in 2018, where he collected a spectacular WIN at Road America and 5 podiums over the season with Juncos Racing. IF Victor can pull together the budget for a sophomore year he would have to be considered a title contender from the start…but that’s a big “IF” in Victor Franzoni’s world.

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Victor Franzoni

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#213

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The Chris Griffis for 2018…What did we learn?..(part 2)…

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Now let’s take a look at the Pro Mazda score card…A couple of the fastest guys didn’t drive on both days so it’s harder to score Pro Mazda, but we will start with the guys who drove all 6 tests…

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The best score of the guys who did all 6 tests was easily turned in by Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh, who was one of the “speed boys” at Pabst Racing in USF2000 in 2018. Ras drove for Juncos Racing in the Test and collected three P3s, two P2s, and a P1. We saw that Rasmus was always fast in 2018, collecting 5 podiums and 3 poles, but he lacked the discipline to WIN races. If he has matured enough to begin to WIN, he will win a lot.

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Rasmus Lindh

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We were also impressed with South African Julian Van der Watt, who turned in the 2nd best score for those who did all six tests. Julian pulled down two P4s, two P3s and two P2s. If not for the presence of Victor Franzoni on the grid Julian would have collected at least one P1.

Franzoni, an Indy Lights pilot in 2018, drove for new team Turn 3 Motorsport in their Pro Mazda car for 3 sessions and collected two P1s and a P5 in the process. We DO NOT think Victor is going to return to Pro Mazda in 2019, but rather was shaking down the car for Turn 3…but who knows? If he DOES return he is an instant threat to become Champion for a 2nd time, to match his 2017 title, despite this being an entirely different car than it was in 2017.

Also doing only one day was Darren Keane for RP Motorsport Racing and he did it WELL. Darren got a P5, a P3 and then a P1 - the fastest Pro Mazda time of the weekend.

left to right, Julian van der Watt, Victor Franzoni and Darren Keane

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#214

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The Chris Griffis for 2018…What did we learn?..(part 3)…

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Finally, let’s see who was the wizard of USF2000 for the test. This was the biggest field, as it always is, with kids coming from all over the world to take a test or two.

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The guy who killed it was American-born but New Zealand-raised Hunter McElrea. Hunter got the best score of any driver at Indianapolis, with three P2s and three P1s for Pabst Racing, continuing their tradition of putting up the “speed boys”. He also turned in the best USF2000 time of the weekend. There is a reason this guy is creaming the competition in Formula Ford Australia, right now. Hunter made a stab at getting into USF2000 a couple years ago but the stars didn’t align. If he makes it this year he will be an instant threat to everyone else.

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Hunter McElrea

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Almost JUST AS GOOD as Hunter was Floridian Darren Keane, but he only did 5 of 6 tests. He got two P2s and three P1s in the five he did for Cape Motorsports and he also pulled in the 2nd-fastest time of the weekend. Making his weekend even more impressive is the fact that he also did 3 rounds of Pro Mazda and pulled in the fastest time of the weekend there! Keane was equally as impressive at the 2017 Chris Griffis Memorial Test but that speed didn’t translate to WINS or even podiums in the 2018 season. If the 17-year-old is finally ready to WIN he certainly has the speed to do it - in EITHER USF2000 or Pro Mazda!

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Darren Keane

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We were also impressed with England’s James Raven. His first test only yielded a P8 and the 2nd test a P6, but then James got the hang of it and pulled in four P3s in a row. A bit schizo was Alex Baron for new team Legacy Autosport. Alex was P2 once, P3 twice and also P4 once and P6 twice - inconsistent, but very fast, at times. Also, keep an eye on Yuven Sundaramoorthy who was TOP FIVE for Pabst Racing in 5 of 6 tests - three P4s, two P5s and a P8.

left to right, James Raven, Alexandre Baron and Yuven Sundaramoorthy

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That’s it for the 2018 Chris Griffis. Soon, the teams will begin to make announcements and we will know if all this work by everyone at Indy was worth the effort. But if and when these guys start to WIN races in 2019, you’ll know well ahead of time that they were expected to.

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#215

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The 2019 Road to Indy schedules are OUT!..

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On the heels of the Chris Griffis Memorial Test (see posts # 177 through # 188, inclusive) the Road to Indy ladder system and Anderson Promotions have released the 2019 season schedule for USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights.

The Lights schedule looks like this, with 18 races total. Most are double-headers on the same tracks the IndyCars will be on, the same weekends. The two single race events are the two ovals - the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park, in late August:

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Next, here is the Pro Mazda schedule. 16 races total, again mostly double-headers supporting the IndyCars at the same venues. They too will do 2 oval races - the race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Carb Day for the Indy 500 and Gateway in late August, along with the Lights. They will NOT do Circuit of the Americas:

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Finally, here is the schedule for USF2000. 15 races total, it mimics the schedule for Pro Mazda, except it doesn’t have the oval race at Gateway. Note also that all three series are going to have their finales at Laguna Seca, right along with the big cars. What a weekend that will be!:

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There are three notable events in the Road to Indy BEFORE the 2019 season begins:

  • An open test is scheduled at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course on Dec. 3-4.

  • Mazda will host the 3rd annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout sometime in December, to award a $200,000 scholarship for a full season of USF2000 in 2019. Participants will come from all over the world to compete. This will be Mazda’s swan song as the Road to Indy chief sponsor. The venue and date will be announced soon.

  • The Spring Training open test at Homestead is set for March 2-4, 2019, a week before the season openers.

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#216

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Gabby goes SportsCar Racing…

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IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves has been asked to help fill in the driver line-up in the # 31 Whelen-sponsored Cadillac DPI V.R. for Action Express at the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at the Petit Le Mans. Gabby will be added to the P-class championship-leading squad of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr, which says a LOT about their faith in the American-Colombian to get them over the top of the hill.

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Gabby Chaves

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This will actually be Gabby’s 2nd call to duty with the AX team in 2018, as they asked him to fill in for injured Joao Barbosa in the team’s # 5 Caddy at Watkins Glen, this season. He was a very quick study in the car and helped Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi take it from a P13 start to a P6 finish in the 6-hour event.

It’s no surprise to us that Chaves is good in a SportsCar. We once saw him WIN the 6 Hours of Bogata in two different cars in the same race! Gabby was a co-driver in two cars in two different classes and he switched back and forth, driving one car and then the next over the 6 hours, and both cars WON their class. It’s never been done before or since.

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The Whelen # 31 Cadillac DPI V.R. for Action Express

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Gabby has effectively lost his IndyCar ride for 2019, as Harding Steinbrenner Racing has already committed to fielding Indy Lights Champion Patricio O’Ward and Indy Lights Vice-Champion Colton Herta, instead. (see post # 172) This effort at Petit Le Mans could very well be an audition for a 2019 ride in SportsCars, if nothing comes for him in IndyCars.

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The 10-hour Petit Le Mans is not only the season finale for the WeatherTech gang, but is also the final of the four Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races for 2018, and the TPNAEC Championship is also up for grabs. Always hugely entertaining, it will be held as always at Road Atlanta, October 10-13.

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#217

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IndyCar celebrates the 2018 season with the “Victory Lap”…

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On Tuesday the IndyCar Championship was celebrated at the Indianapolis restaurant, Union50. In attendance were several drivers, team members and team owners who accepted various awards, as well as Honda’s racing boss, Art St. Cyr, who accepted the make’s first Manufacturer’s Award since returning to IndyCar racing in 2012. Here is a quick look at the event:

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Attendees were also treated to a pre-taped “hello” and congrats to all from recovering driver Robert Wickens, who is going through rehab for his serious injuries incurred at Pocono in 2018.

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#218

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Justin Bell sits down with Katherine Legge for a visit…

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IMSA ace and former Champ Car / IndyCar driver Katherine Legge drives for Meyer Shank Racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, piloting the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 in the GTD class with co-driver Alvaro Parente.

The car was only budgeted to do the four North American Endurance Cup races but then the car was doing so well - better than the full-season # 93 Acura - that Mike Shank kept finding the cash for one more race…then one more…then one more, until they were committed to finish the whole season, and it’s a good thing they did, as Kat is 2nd in the points, only 6 points out from Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, who drive the # 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Paul Miller Racing. Katherine has 6 podiums, including 2 WINS, up to now - 1 with Alvarao and 1 with fill-in Mario Farnbacher…

Here, she is interviewed by fellow Brit Justin Bell:

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The last race of the season will decide the title in all three classes - P class, GTLM class and GTD class - and that race is the Petit Le Mans - the great 10-hour endurance finale at Road Atlanta, October 10-13. We’ll be pulling for Kat!

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#219

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The worst-kept secret of the Silly Season is out, as Felix Rosenqvist joins Chip Ganassi…

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Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that the 26-year-old phenomenal Swede will end his participation in Formula E and join IndyCars for 2019 and beyond, driving the # 10 Honda that was driven by Ed Jones in 2018. Teaming with the latest IndyCar champion, Scott Dixon, Rosenqvist apparently has a multi-year deal to match a multi-year deal with the car’s sponsors, NTT Data.

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Felix Rosenqvist

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The much-accomplished former karter already has to his credit the 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Asia Championship, the 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 NEZ and Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden titles and the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In 2016 Felix drove 10 Indy Lights races with Belardi Auto Racing, teaming with Zach Veach. Each guy collected 3 WINS for Brian Belardi. Since then, he has contested Formula E with 3 WINS for Mahindra, and in the interim tested twice with Chip Gansssi, impressing the team each time.

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Zach Veach (left) and Felix - 3 apiece for Brian Belardi

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Said Felix of the news, “To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement. Coming to IndyCar and driving for Chip is just a dream come true. I’ve followed the team for as long as I can remember, and it’s the kind of team and owner any driver would want to race for. Scott has had another tremendous season with three wins and a fifth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate. I can’t wait to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone at NTT DATA.”

Of course, this means that Ed Jones is out of a ride, but the rumor is that Trevor Carlin may be talking to his former Indy Lights Champion about joining back with him in 2019 in one of his big cars. Time will tell.

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It’s been said that the talent level in IndyCars has never been better than it is today. This acquisition by CGR only makes that an understatement.

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#220

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It’s OUT!..The final 2018 season episode of Road to Indy TV is here…

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This is the Championship episode, wherein each of the 2018 Road to Indy Champions - Kyle Kirkwood for Cape Motorsports in USF2000, Rinus VeeKay for Juncos Racing in Pro Mazda and Patricio O’Ward for Andretti Autosport in Indy Lights - explains how he got there, race by race.

By May it was clear that Kirkwood was repeating his WINNING ways from his 2017 championship season of F4 United States, but O’Ward and VeeKay had a much longer and harder fight to take their titles. Hosted by Tony Laporta:

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#221

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It’s a birthday!..Spencer Pigot just turned 25 on Saturday…

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Pigot remains the highest-achieving junior formula car driver in the world, having scored 40 WINS in junior formulas, such as Skip Barber, USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights.

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After collecting a fistful of regional and national karting titles young Pigot went to Skip Barber in 2009 and WON a Team USA Scholarship for that year. He then returned to Skip Barber in 2010 and WON that title. In 2011 Pigot took the USF2000 Vice-Championship and also WON another Team USA Scholarship - one of a handful of drivers to win it twice.

In 2012 he won another Vice-Championship in USF2000, with 8 WINS and 11 podiums. He then took the title in Winterfest for USF2000, with 5 WINS. In 2014 he advanced to Pro Mazda and took that title with 6 WINS and 7 podiums. He also took the Pro Mazda WInterfest title that year. Finally, in 2015, his first year of Indy Lights, he took that title for Juncos Racing with 6 WINS and 10 podiums. Since then he has had two partial seasons of Indycars and 2018 was his first full season for Ed Carpenter Racing, for whom he will drive again in 2019.

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Spencer Pigot with GF Katie Bell

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One of Pigot’s favorite roles since graduating to IndyCars has been helping to judge the annual Road to Indy Shootouts, where dozens of kids from all over the world compete for a $200,000 scholarship to be applied to a full season of USF2000. In that role Pigot is also a driver coach for every contestant, giving advice and leveling criticisms that they respect from a man who is the embodiment of their dream - going from Skip Barber all the way to IndyCars on hard work and talent.

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Spencer (left) coaches some of the 2016 Shootout contestants at Laguna Seca.

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The 2018 Shootout judges / coaches haven’t been announced yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Pigot will again be asked to help and the Californian will be be Johnny-on-the-spot. Happy Birthday, Spencer!

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#222

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Breaking!..Santino Ferrucci will be Dale Coyne Racing’s 2nd driver in 2019…

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Racer Magazine’s Marshall Pruett is reporting that the young American from Connecticut will be announced as driving the # 19 car for the full season for Dale Coyne Racing in 2019, teaming with 4-time Champion Sebastien Bourdais.

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Santino Ferrucci

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Ferrucci had 4 outings in 2018 with Dale Coyne Racing. He drove the # 19 at both Detroit outings and the # 39 car at Portland and at Sonoma, with a best finish of P11 from a P20 start at Sonoma. His practice and qualifying was praised for his quick seizing of the car, completely new to him, and he had a best start of P13 at Detroit # 2.

With this coming announcement 20 drivers have made their commitments for 2019 in the indyCar series. NOT YET known is who will be in the # 20 car for Ed Carpenter Racing (road & street course driver), # 23 for Carlin, the # 32 for Juncos Racing and the # 6 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. In 2018 the driver of the # 23 was Charlie Kimball, the driver of the # 20 was Jordan King, the driver of the # 32 was either Kyle Kaiser, Rene Binder or Alfonso Celis and the driver of the # 6 was Robert Wickens, until his Pocono crash, and then Carlos Munoz. Wickens has been promised the car, when he recovers, but that may take a very long time.

NOT getting the # 19 at Dale Coyne Racing are either Pietro Fittipaldi or Zachary Claman DeMelo, both of whom also drove the car in 2018, at one time or the other. Getting at least 10 planned races will be Jack Harvey in the # 60 for Meyer Shank Racing.

Pietro Fittipaldi (left), Zachary Claman DeMelo and Jack Harvey (right)

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There are also possible 3rd cars at Rahal Letterman Lanigan and at Carlin in the offing, but as of now, the car count should be at least 24 cars on all the grids in 2019, with 25 when you factor in the 10 planned races for Jack Harvey.

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#223

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Pippa’s on the move!..

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Every year at this time IndyCar driver Pippa Mann and husband Robert Gue - an engineer with SchmIdt Peterson Motorsports who is known in her tweets and Instagrams as “Himself” - take a fabulous vacation somewhere in the world and bring us all along for the ride. Last year it was Europe to visit England - Pippa’s home - and for some primo skiing in the Alps. This year the couple are going to South America.

Robert and Pippa at a Clemson game in 2017 - Robert is a Tiger alum

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Pippa and Himself left the States on September 21 and dropped first into the beautiful wine country of Argentina, near Mendoza:

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They find the stash!

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#224

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Pippa’s on the move!..(part 2)…

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More from Mendoza, Argentina…

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Pippa: Normally I prefer more horses than one per person, but I promised Himself I would try to slow down while we are on holiday…

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On the morning of the 24th the couple boarded a plane for Santiago, Chile…Stay tuned!

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#225

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Great news for Alex Baron - he appears to have a full season ride in 2019…

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The word is out that Legacy Autosport is going to field French / English driver Alexandre Baron in USF2000 for the full season in 2019. The 23-year-old drove 7 races for Swan / RJB Motorsports in 2018, collecting a WIN at St. Petersburg and a WIN and a P2 at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis before dropping out for the rest of the season in June, following Road America, due to budget woes.
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Alex Baron WINS at Indy in 2018

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In 2013 the then 18-year-old Baron came on the scene in USF2000 late in the season and drove to 2 WINS in four outings, showing brilliance in all four races. In 2014 he jumped up to Indy Lights, driving for Belardi Auto Racing and again looked like a natural. He collected a P2 at Barber, a P3 at the GP of Indianapolis and then took the WIN at Toronto in another text-book drive that had people on their feet.

Then, DISASTER, as Alex was NOT allowed back in the United States following the Toronto race because of visa problems with the American State Department. His career came to a crashing halt and for 2 years he wasn’t able to race at all. Finally, in 2017 he was able to get four races in USF2000 with ArmsUp Motorsports at season’s end, which got him to Mirl Swan of Swan / RJB in 2018.

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Alex Baron for Belardi at Toronto - from the highs to the lowest lows in one weekend

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Indy-based Legacy Autosport is a new team for 2019. The principals are the father and son Meyer family, whose grandfather and great grandfather was Louis Meyer, the first three-time champion of the Indianapolis 500. Leading the team will be Louis “Mike” Meyer who was Baron’s chief mechanic at Swan / RJB in 2018. Mike has spent the previous 13 years in Indy Lights, helping to WIN 5 championships, countless race WINS, pole positions and four Freedom 100 WINS at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Experience is not the problem. The problem is always budget. We are HOPING that Legacy can indeed keep Baron in the car for the entire season, with sponsorship from Michigan-based Metalloid Corporation.
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No one deserves it more, both from a perspective of talent AND a matter of finally getting the breaks he has missed, due to circumstances beyond his control. Good luck, Alex!

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#226

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We got 'em!..the two Team USA Scholarship drivers for 2018 have been chosen…

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Today, we can report that 16-year-old Colin Mullan and 21-year-old Jake Craig have been awarded the 2018 Team USA Scholarship and with it, the opportunity to represent the United States at the upcoming 2018 Formula Ford Festival and the 2018 Walter Hayes Trophy - both in England and two of the greatest Formula Ford events in the world.

Collin Mullan (left) and Jake Craig - American iron

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Mullan and Craig were chosen from an initial 11 candidates who were then whittled down to 6 and now given to these two. One of the 6, Braden Eves, was originally chosen as one of the two, but Braden had to bow out, due to some recovery time he will need, following surgery.

Braden Eves - not to be

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Mullan, from Danville, California, is currently competing the the Street Tuner class of IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series, driving a Mini JCW with co-driver Mark Pombo. He started racing at the age of 5 and progressed through karts and MiniCups to Miatas, finally getting a full season of open wheel in Formula Car Challenge in 2017, where he was Vice-Champion of the Formula Speed class. He tried F1600 this August and - first time out - WON two races.

Said Colin, “Getting on track in some of the world’s most competitive open-wheel racing series will be an experience I’ll never forget. Races like the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy teach so much about race craft and getting the most out of the car every session. Plus, with changing conditions and unpredictable UK weather, I’ll have to adapt my driving whenever we get on track.
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Colin at work in the ST class of the CTSC

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Jake Craig, like Colin, started racing at 5 but at 21, he has many more years of racing under his belt. The native of Mission Viejo, California, is a karter’s karter - a multi-time regional and national champion. Last fall, he received an invitation from eKartingNews to contest the 2017 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout and was one of the five finalists, despite it being his first crack at a formula car. 2018 was his first year of formula cars and he had a good one, ending as Vice Champion in the Canadian-based Toyo Tires F1600 Championship and F1600 Super Series. That will serve him well in England.

Said Jake, Getting selected for Team USA is a dream come true for me. It’s basically the next step to further my racing career and it will be a great addition to my resume. Getting to race in England is going to be extremely beneficial. I’ll be able to continue to improve my race craft and technical understanding of a car. I’m getting about as much track time in a month as I’ve had all year!”

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Jake takes Vice Championship for 2018 in the Toyo TIres F1600 Championship

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Another great benefit of WINNING the Team USA Scholarship is that both drivers are automatically entered in the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout in December, to compete for a $200,000 scholarship for a full season of USF2000 in 2019. For Colin, his first try and for Jake his 2nd try at the Shootout.

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#227

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Jack Harvey is taking a lesson from 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden…

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No, not a driving lesson, but rather a promotion lesson…and promotion is a HUGE part of the racing game, these days. Josef was the Indy Lights Champion when he started racing in IndyCars in 2012 for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Despite his title he was an unknown among too many IndyCar fans. He correctly saw that a familiarity with race fans translated into a better chance of getting better sponsorship and that allowed him to race.

Josef’s way to get familiar with fans was through video. His “Incognito” series of vids were funny and informative. Look them up and see what great self-promotion looks like. Jack Harvey - despite TWO Indy Lights Vice-Championships - has a similar problems of too many IndyCar fans saying “Jack who?” on a race weekend and he is turning to his own series of vids to help change that. They are called, “You Don’t Know Jack” and we have the first one here:

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When new episodes come up, we will bring them to you.

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#228

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Pippa’s on the move!..(part 3)…

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When we last left IndyCar driver Pippa Mann and husband Robert Gue (“Himself”) in post # 198 they were leaving Mendoza, Argentina and headed to Santiago, Chile to continue their South American adventure.

They made it to Santiago! Here is Robert in front of the city, with the Andes Mountains in the background:

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Pippa on the streets of Santiago

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More street art in Santiago…

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continued…

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#229

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Pippa’s on the move!..(part 4)…

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Santiago is the capitol of Chile. Here is the Capitol complex at the Plaza de Armas:

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…and this is the statue of the Spanish conquistador Valdivia, who founded Santiago in 1541:

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After one day in Santiago the couple headed off to visit the colorful coastal town of Valparaiso…Stay tuned!

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