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


#500

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It’s time for another visit from Pato O’Ward and his video series, “Behind the Visor”…

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…wherein the 2018 Indy Lights Champion is recounting his title-WINNING season, race by race, with all the ups and downs.

We left off in post # 443, as Pato left Mid-Ohio triumphant, and headed to Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis to do the last oval of the season - a place he was coming to with some trepidation.

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Take a look:

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Given the recent developments in his career, (see post # 444) it’s important to remember just how talented this young driver truly is. This superbly produced series reminds us all. Next week, Pato heads to Portland to capture yet another major motorsports Championship, following his 2017 IMSA title.

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#501

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Jay Howard Driver Development adds another great driver to their roster for USF2000…

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JHDD already have Christian Bogle and Christian Rasmussen in their 2019 stable, and we expect that Rasmussen will be a big factor in the season. Now, they have added the 2018 Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Champion, Matthew Round-Garrido.

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Matthew Round-Garrido

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The very tall 18-year-old former karter from Stourbridge in England not only took the NIFF title with 5 WINS and 8 podiums in 10 rounds, but he also competed in England’s BRSCC Formula Ford and Scottish Formula Ford and WON races in both those series, too. The Northern Ireland title earned him an Entry Ticket to the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout.

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Matthew in his Medina JL17 Formula Ford for Team Dolan

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Said Matthew, “I’m really excited that I’ll be racing in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship with JHDD this season. It’s been a target of mine to race abroad for a number of years now and with the Road to Indy scholarship system they’ve got here, there’s no better place to be racing than America right now.”

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Matthew and both Christians at JHDD will join already CONFIRMED drivers…

Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing
Alex Baron, Legacy Autosport
Jason Reichert [R], Marotti Racing
Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing
Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing
Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing
Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing
Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing

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That’s 16 confirmed drivers, now. More to come!

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#502

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Sting Ray Robb will return to the fray in Indy Pro 2000 in 2019…

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The 17-year-old from Payette, Idaho, will be joining Juncos Racing for a second full season of Indy Pro 2000 (formerly “Pro Mazda”) following his abbreviated 2017 season and full 2018 season in the series. Sting Ray will team with already CONFIRMED Rasmus Lindh to create a strong squad.

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Sting Ray Robb

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Sting Ray (not a nick-name, by the way), had an excellent karting career, with multiple championships in his back pocket when he switched to cars in 2015-2016, taking a Vice-Championship in the Skip Barber Winter series. The then-15-year-old dived into the deep end and switched up to Pro Mazda right away, driving for World Speed Motorsports, earning 4 TOP FIVES and 12 TOP TENS in his rookie season. In 2018 he moved to Team Pelfrey where he earned another 4 TOP FIVES and 13 TOP TENS, with a best finish of P3. Sting Ray is always in the mix and with a team as good as Juncos he stands a chance of many more podiums and that elusive first WIN.

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Sting Ray in the PM-18 for Team Pelfrey in 2018

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Said Sting Ray, “I am excited about the 2019 season as I return to the Road to Indy with the series dominator, Juncos Racing. Juncos has proven to be the best in the industry and will, I’m sure, be challenging me to sharpen and hone my race craft to even higher levels. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be racing amongst this very deep and talented pool of competitors.’’

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Sting Ray and teammate Rasmus Lindh will be joining fellow CONFIRMED drivers…

Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing
Kory Enders [R], DEForce Racing
Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport
Danial Frost[R], Exclusive Autosport
Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport

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More to come!

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#503

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Bruna Tomaselli comes back for the 3rd season of USF2000, but with a great team…

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The 21-year-old from Brazil had a season with ArmsUp Motorsports in 2017 and a season with Team Pelfrey in 2018 and as decent as those teams are, her best shot will be this year, when she will drive for the “Speed Boys” at Pabst Racing - even though she’s no boy.

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Bruna Tomaselli

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Bruna was driving in the hotbed of karting in Brazil at the age of 10 and was in cars by the time she was 16, driving Formula Junior. By the age of 18 she had risen to 4th in points in Formula 4 South America, with 5 podiums and 18 top-10 finishes. She then committed to coming to the United States to drive for ArmsUp. Her best finish in USF2000 thus far is her P7 at St. Pete, last year, but Tomaselli is looking forward to having a great car:

“I’m very excited for this season. This will be my third season, so I know the car, I know almost all the tracks, and with that experience and with a very competitive car, I hope to achieve great things. I did some tests with Pabst, and I’ve been preparing myself and my body with simulator training and going to the gym every day to be in a good shape for the season.”

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Bruna for Team Pelfrey at Lucas Oil Raceway

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Bruna and teammates Hunter McElrea, Colin Kaminsky and Yuven Sundaramoorthy will join already CONFIRMED…

Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing
Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Alex Baron, Legacy Autosport
Jason Reichert [R], Marotti Racing
Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing
Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing

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More to come…Stay tuned!

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#504

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Scott Hargrove is gettin’ busy this season…

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The Canadian Road to Indy ace driver and multiple Porsche Cup Champion has been asked to add to his driving duties this year. Already on the PFAFF Motorsports WeatherTech GTD-class squad, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R with co-driver Zacharie Robichon, he will also drive the # 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Wright Motorsports in the SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge America series, (formerly known as the Pirelli World Challenge) co-driving with 16-year Porsche factory driver Patrick Long.

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Scott Hargrove

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Hargrove is actually the current GT3 Sprint Champion - the first rookie ever to do so - having acquired his 2018 title driving for PFAFF in the Pirelli World Challenge. During the off-season Hargrove was named by Porsche as one of two 2019 Porsche Selected Drivers, and that likely helped get him this ride.

The team will be driving the new iteration of the successful 911 GT3 R. Wright Motorsports will also field a 2nd car, the # 91 in the PRO/AM-class, to be driven by Anthony Imperato and either Matt Campbell or Romain Dumas, depending on a race schedule for each.

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The # 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Wright Motorsports

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The first of seven Blancpain GT World Challenge America events will kick off March 2-3 with two 90-minute races at Circuit of the Americas. The races are much like the “Sprint X” races of the Pirelli World Challenge, with two drivers per car.
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UPDATE!

Romain Dumas has been rated as a Platinum driver by the FIA, and thus cannot partner with Anthony Imperato, classified as a Silver, in the PRO/AM class of the SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge America series. He will thus be replaced this season by Norwegian Dennis Olsen, who is coming off a spectacular WIN at the LiquiMoly Bathurst 12 Hour. Olsen is a Gold-rated driver. He will co-drive the # 91 Porsche with Imperato this weekend at Circuit of the Americas - the first round of the season.

Dennis Olsen

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#505

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On Monday, 3 IndyCar teams tested at Sebring International Raceway…

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Chip Ganassi Racing, AJ Foyt Enterprises and Carlin sent cars to test on the short course at Sebring. No times were released, but more important were the drivers. AJ Foyt sent Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist, Chip Ganssi sent Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist and significantly, Carlin sent RC Enerson in the # 23 Chevy, even though he is still not CONFIRMED in the car for 2019.

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RC Enerson

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The young Road to Indy ace driver is now clearly going to drive a number of races for the team, but how many?..which ones? Charlie Kimball will drive the car 5 times in 2019, including at the season opener at St.Pete. There is also now the possibility that Pato O’Ward - now loose from Harding Steinbrenner (see post # 444) - may find a partial season with Carlin.

Charlie Kimball (left) and Pato O’Ward

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For AJ Foyt Enterprises the Sebring test was very good, as the team showed up for the test at Laguna Seca in early February (see post # 441) but elected not to run, due to the rain that shortened the day, thus they had this extra test day in their pocket and made good use of it.

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left to right at Sebring, Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist and Larry Foyt
AJBoys

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#506

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"Manu" Cabrera is returning to USF2000 in 2019…

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…and will once again drive for Michael Duncalfe’s Exclusive Autosport. Following a short season for the team in 2018, Manuel is the first 2019 CONFIRMATION for Exclusive in the USF2000 series, and is slated to run the entire season in the EA # 90 Tatuus USF-17 car.

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Manuel Cabrera

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The 18-year-old Mexican had a typical start toward the Road to Indy with a great karting career that included a number of championships. By the age of 16 Manuel was in cars in the Skip Barber series. He then moved over to the Formula PanAm series in 2017 and earned the championship title with 4 WINS and 6 podiums in 6 races. That earned him an exclusive Entry Ticket to the 2017 Road to Indy Shootout. In 2018 Manu hooked up with Exclusive Autosport for the first 7 races of the season, getting 3 TOP TENS with a best finish of P7 from a P22 start.

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Manuel in the EA # 90 at the Indy GP in 2018

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Said Manuel, “I feel extremely happy to be back with the Exclusive Autosport team and I’m really anxious to be back behind the wheel and start the season. Last year was quite tough for me, but I’m really convinced that this year is going to be different. We are preparing ourselves differently and I hope this will show during our on-track performance."

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Manuel joins already CONFIRMED drivers…

Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing
Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Alex Baron, Legacy Autosport
Jason Reichert [R], Marotti Racing
Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing
Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing
Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing
Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing
Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing
Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing

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That’s a great field of young talent. More to come! Stay tuned…

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#507

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The 2018 Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks Champion is Matthew Brabham…

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…as the superlative Road to Indy driver took the title at the 2019 Race of Champions at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, last month. Not only were the Super Trucks added to the roster of cars for the ROC contenders to drive, but the final two races of the 2018 season for the SSTs was also held, the same weekend at the same place.

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"Matty Brabs" finally gets his title in Super Trucks.

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We’ve waited until video of the event was available, and we have it now. Brabham went into the event leading in the title chase, but that was the same situation in 2017, when he ended up losing the championship to Paul “the Dude” Morris on the final race weekend, and by only 1 point. Matty was determined that wouldn’t happen again.

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Lots of fun heats and racing, here. Take your time and take a look, first at Race 1:
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…and then at Race 2:

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Congrats Matty!

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#508

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He’s done it!.. Rinus VeeKay is the Champion of the Asian F3 Winter Series…

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The Indy Lights driver and current Indy Pro 2000 champ wrapped up the championship today in Sepang, Malaysia, following 2 races on Saturday and the series finale today. Driving for Dragon HighTech GP, Rinus actually had a rough weekend, compared to the previous two weekends, with a P6, a P3 and another P3, but those points were enough for the Nederlander to take the title, with 184 points over Ye Yifei for Absolute Racing, with 155 points. That makes two titles in one year for Rinus.

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Rinus victorious - 2nd championship in a single year
RinusChamp

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Ye Yifei actually made a great run for it, with two dominationg WINS at Sepang on Saturday, but he finished today’s race 11 laps down in P13. Rinus had his worst race of the season on Saturday, when he and teammate Alessandro Ghiretti collided following a safety car restart. VeeKay was able to rejoin, but finished P6.

Eshan Pieris for Absolute Racing and Victor Martins for Pinnacle Motorsport were P1 and P2 respectively today, with Rinus in P3. This makes 4 WINS and 8 podiums for VeeKay in the 9-race season.

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Rinus battles for Dragon HiTech GP in the # 21
RinusCar

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Congrats, Rinus!..Proud of you!

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#509

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There will be a new team at Indy this May and Pippa Mann will be their driver…

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It appears that Clauson-Marshall Racing, the team that fielded superstar Bryan Clauson in USAC racing before his death, will put Pippa in an IndyCar for the 2019 Indy 500 - Their first effort at the Indy 500, but the 7th entry for the British driver at the great race.

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The team is apparently getting their chassis / engine from AJ Foyt Enterprises and along with it goes technical assistance. That bodes well for Mann, as the AJ Foyt team has always been able to run very competitively at Indy. The Indy 500 is actually the main reason that Foyt remains in IndyCars and he devotes the majority of his attention to it.

That is going to be even more important this year, as it is expected that there will be as many as 38 entries in the 500, and only 33 qualifiers will make the start. Mann, driving for Dale Coyne Racing, and James Hinchcliffe, driving for Arrow Schmidt Peterson, were both bumped out of the race last year during qualifying.

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Pippa Mann

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This tie-in with AJ Foyt Enterprises is probably the best hedge against that happening to Mann, again. Confirmations expected soon.

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#510

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It’s time for the final installment of Pato O’Ward’s video series, “Behind the Visor”…

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…wherein the 2018 Indy Lights Champion has been detailing each race of his title-winning season, with both the highs and the lows. We last left off in post # 461, the report on the race at Gateway Motorsports Park. Pato wisely took a P3, rather than push for a better result on the oval, for which he had trepidation. That left him in the series points lead, with only Portland left in the season.

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Take a look:

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Given that Pato’s 2019 ride with Harding Steinbrenner recently fell apart, through no fault of his, it’s a bit heartbreaking to see how enthused he was at the end of the 2018 Lights season to be a paid driver in IndyCars in 2019. We can only hope that Pato finds a way to get on the grid sometime, somewhere in 2019. IndyCar needs this marvelous talent running in races.
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Thanks to Pato and his media handlers for this terrific series - one of the best in terms of production values we’ve ever seen.

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#511

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Dalton Kellett is returning to Indy Lights in 2019, but for Juncos Racing…

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The very bright (undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada) Indy Lights veteran will saddle up for a 4th season of the Lights in 2019, following 3 seasons driving for Andretti Autosport. This season he will be the teammate to 2018 Indy Pro 2000 (formerly “Pro Mazda”) Champion and 2019 Asian F3 Winter Series Champion Rinus VeeKay at Juncos Racing.

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Dalton Kellett

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In 3 seasons of the Lights that first WIN has eluded Kellett, though he has managed a number of podiums. His best discipline are the ovals, where he has proven to be the most competitive, even earning a pole at the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. It is his expertise on ovals that makes him the most attractive to Juncos, as Kellett is expected to strengthen the team’s effort at IMS and Gateway, helping their talented rookie VeeKay acclimate quickly.

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Dalton on the pole at IMS in 2018

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The 25-year-old said, “For me, consistency, podiums, and, of course, wins will be the focus this year. It’s been a long off-season, so I am ready for St. Pete and can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.”

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Dalton and Rinus will join already CONFIRMED drivers…

Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport
Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport
Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport
David Malukas [R], BN Racing
Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing
Zachary Claman DeMelo, Belardi Auto Racing
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Dalton will get sponsorship from K-Line Insulators USA and Ten80 Education in the # 67 Dallara IL-15. Welcome back!

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#512

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It’s CONFIRMED!..Clauson-Marshall Racing is going to the Indy 500 with Pippa Mann…

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The story in post # 470 has been confirmed by Tim Clauson and Richard Marshall - British IndyCar driver Pippa Mann will pilot the very successful USAC team’s first-ever full effort at the Indy 500 this May, with sponsorship from Driven2SaveLives, the Indiana donor network that the late Bryan Clauson was so much a part of.

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Here, Racer magazine’s Robin Miller interviews Tim and Richard about this effort and about Pippa’s friendship and involvment:

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Neat guys, neat team, neat story…Good luck in May!

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#513

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Sage Karam will be at Indy this May for his 6th shot at the 500…

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Announced today, the 24-year-old Indy Lights Champion (2013) will once again partner with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing to bring the # 24 Chevrolet back in the field for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, again sponsored by Wix Filters.

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Sage Karam

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Karam, one of the Road to Indy’s most succesful drivers, has had 4 previous starts at the 500 with Dreyer and Reinbold and one start with Chip Ganassi. He has only finished one of those starts - his rookie assault on the 500 in 2014 at the age of 19, where he went from a P31 start to finish in P9, impressing everyone in the process.

In 2015 he drove the race for Chip Ganassi and TWICE topped pre-race practice sessions with astonishing speed. He started P23 but tangled with Takuma Sato early in a Turn 1 crash and ended the day P32.

In 2016 he was back with D & RR, starting the race in P23 and was running TOP TEN but once more in Turn 1 came to a bad day, trying to pass Townsend Bell, and ended the day P32, again.

In 2017 Sage was again very speedy during the race for D & RR but a dead battery took him out of contention and he ended the day in P28 from his P21 start.

Last year, Sage was once again very, very fast and TOPPED the last full day of practice. He qualified P24 and was again running great - TOP TEN - when he lost it in Turn 4 on lap 154 and hit the wall. The reason remains a mystery but a similar thing happened to Helio Castroneves and to Sebastien Bourdais in the same turn.

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Karam and the guys at D&RR hope to parlay a successful showing at the 500 this year into more races during the season. Sage would be a great addition to any grid this season, so we wish him well.

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#514

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Conor Daly gets a full season of Lamborghini Super Trofeo for PPM in 2019…

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The 27-year-old IndyCar driver from Noblesville, Indiana has been asked to step into the # 46 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO in the Pro/Pro class for the king-makers at Precision Performance Motorsports. Conor will share the car with Brandon Gdovic, the series 2015 Champion in the Am class.

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Conor Daly

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A former champion in Skip Barber, Pro Mazda (now “Indy Pro 2000”) and MRF Challenge, and a WINNER of a Team USA Scholarship and the subsequent Walter Hayes Trophy, Daly is also a multiple race WINNER in Indy Lights and GP3. His experience in SportsCars include 6 races in 2015 for Performance Tech Motorsports in the PC class of the United Sports Car Championship, where he earned 3 podiums.

Said Conor, “I couldn’t be more excited to take on another new challenge in my career with Precision Performance Motorsports. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo series is incredibly competitive and I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to jump in with Brandon and go after the championship. Lamborghini has developed one of the best looking race cars out there right now and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel for the first time!”

Brandon Gdovic

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This is a great opportunity for Daly with a superb team. The 10-race season of Lamborghini Super Trofeo starts at Barber Motorsports Park, April 6-7, in support of the NTT IndyCar Series. The season will not conflict with Daly’s already-confirmed ride with Andretti Autosport in the 2019 Indy 500.


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#515

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Antonio Serravalle lands with a new team for Indy Pro 2000 in 2019…

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Last year, the young Canadian karting superstar jumped right out of karts and spent the season driving for Exclusive Autosport in Pro Mazda, (now “Indy Pro 2000”) learning the PM-18 car and learning the tracks, and he’s now ready to return to the series to start kicking some butt. Antonio will drive for the family team that supported his karting career - Pserra Racing. The team will get technical support and coaching from Jay Howard Driver Development. England’s Daniel Mitchell will engineer the car.

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Antonio Serravalle

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The confident 16-year-old said, “My goals are clear. I want to win races! I know I can be the best and I have a few things on my side including my age level of experience, my mechanical knowledge, and a great team. I have been racing since I was eight years old in North America and Europe against some of the best drivers in the world. I’m positive I can be a top contender in the 2019 Indy Pro Series as I work towards my goal.”

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Antonio made his committment just in time to be included in the list of CONFIRMED Indy Pro 2000 drivers, most of whom will be at Homestead Miami Raceway this weekend for Spring Training. They also include…

Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing
Kory Enders [R], DEForce Racing
Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport
Danial Frost[R], Rxclusive Autosport
Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport
Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing
Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing

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There will be more…Stay tuned!

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#516

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For the next 3 days, the Road to Indy ladder system will take over Homestead-Miami Speedway…

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Starting on Saturday the Florida track will host 2019 Spring Training for all three series that make up the Road to Indy ladder system, which trains young talent to be ready for a career in IndyCars. Saturday and Sunday will be reserved for USF2000 - the bottom rung on the ladder - and for Indy Pro 2000 - the middle rung. On Monday, the top-rung Indy Lights will have the facility to themselves.

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We have the entry lists for all three series, so let’s see who is showing up, and for whom they will drive, starting with USF2000:

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Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports

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Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports

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Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports

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Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development

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Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development

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Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development

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Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing

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Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing

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Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing

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Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing

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Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing

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Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing

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Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing

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continued…

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#517

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For the next 3 days, the Road to Indy ladder system will take over Homestead-Miami Speedway…(part 2)…

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USF2000 (continured)

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Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

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Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports

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Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing

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Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • The best-performing returning veteran here is Colin Kaminsky, but all eyes will be on the rookies Hunter McElrea and Cam Shields - the two “down under” boys who come in with terrific resumes.

  • Darren Keane has not been confirmed for anyone, but his outstanding performances at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test last September make him also one to watch. If the Capes pick him up, he should be a championship contender.

  • Also expected to perform wellk are Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen and American Braden Eves.

  • The youngsters here are Puerto Rico’s Reece Gold and California’s Nolan Seigel - both just 14 years old.

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Next, here are the guys for Indy Pro 2000…

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Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing

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Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing

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Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing

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Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development

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Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports

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Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!

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Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport

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Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • NOT announced yet are two drivers now listed as “TBA” or, “To Be Announced” for RP Motorsport Racing. The Italian team was one of the top performng teams of 2018, so who they end up bringing will be very, very important to the season.

  • One of the two possibles for RP Motorsport Racing may be the 2018 USF2000 Champion, Kyle Kirkwood, who has not yet declared his home in Indy Pro 2000 for 2019. He is expected to be at Homestead on Saturday to make his announcement. He may also go with his F3 Americas team, Abel Motorsports. They brought him to the title in 2018.

  • It also looks like gentleman racer Charles Finelli is returning to have another season in Indy Pro 2000 for FatBoy Racing! FatBoy Racing! has been the home to Charles and other gentleman racers for a few years, now. This year, they may also field 19-year-old Phillippe Denes and he’s no older gentleman.

  • The expected speedsters in this group will be Rasmus Lindh and Kyle Kirkwood, the two best USF2000 drivers of last year, but Danial Frost may surprise everyone.

  • Not testing is Kory Enders for DEForce Racing. Kory has been confirmed for 2019, so this may just be a cost-savings for DEForce.

Kyle Kirkwood - where will he land?

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continued…

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#518

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For the next 3 days, the Road to Indy ladder system will take over Homestead-Miami Speedway…(part 3)…

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Finally, here are the drivers showing up to test for Indy Lights on Monday:

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Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing

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Zachary Claman, Belardi Auto Racing

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Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing

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Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport

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Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport

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Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport

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Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing

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David Malukas [R], BN Racing

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Notable:

  • We are being told that it is possible the Lights will have a few announcements or confirmations over the weekend, so stay tuned.

  • The fastest returning vet here is Ryan Norman, but just as fast if not faster at the recent test at Circuit of the Americas was rookie Oliver Askew. Also, look for Rinus VeeKay to be fast. The Dutch driver is not only the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 Champion but just snagged the Asian Formula 3 Winter Series Championship, too. He’s hot.

  • Zachary Claman DeMelo has let the press know he wants to be known just as “Zachary Claman” and we are happy to accomodate him, from now on.

  • Not here is Frenchman Julien Falchero, who has tested well many times for Andretti Autosport, though Andretti has made it known they want a 4th car in Indy Lights on the grid in 2019.

Julien Falchero

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Testing starts on Saturday afternoon, at 12:30 EASTERN time, with the gang from USF2000, followed by Indy Pro 2000. Then later, USF2000 comes back out for their T-2 session, followed again by Indy Pro 2000 for their T-2 session.

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.Let’s GO!

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M


#519

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There’s another new team with another new driver in USF2000 today…

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The bottom rung of the Road to Indy ladder is once again spawning new talent in the open-wheel racing world. Two former Road to Indy teams have merged to form Team E-JAY Racing - the melding of Jay Green, who for years helmed JAY Motorsports and Neil Enerson who for years helmed Team E Racing. Their first driver will be Lucas Oil School Formula Car series race WINNER Nate Aranda, who will compete in USF2000 for 2019.

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left to right, Jay Green and Neil Enerson, with Nate Aranda in the car
EJay
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After being competitors for years, 2015 saw Green assist Enerson in forming the highly successful Lucas Oil School of Racing and its racing offshoot, the Lucas Oil Formula Car Series. The idea with Team E-Jay Racing is for Lucas Oil School alums to have a place to go in USF2000, after completing training and competing successfully in the Lucas Oil Formula Car series.

The 18-year-old Aranda is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico who has only been racing for two years, but according to Enerson, shows a “natural talent” in a formula car. Aranda got training from Neil’s son, IndyCar driver RC Enerson and super-coach Jonatan Jorge. Jonatan has been the driver coach of some of the sport’s biggest stars.

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The team will be at Homestead-Miami this weekend with Nate.

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M