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


#520

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Legacy Autosport is expanding and bringing Jose Sierra back on the grid…

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Announced today, the new USF2000 team Legacy Autosport will not only bring the French / British phenom Alexandre Baron to race, but he will have a teammate in Mexican Jose Sierra - something of a phenom himself.

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Jose Sierra

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The 19-year-old had a typical start in karts with great success, rising to the national title in 2014. He moved into cars at the age of 15, driving in F4 in both Mexico and France, taking two Vice-Championships in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 Jose drove for DEForce Racing in USF2000, earning 6 TOP TENS, 2 podiums and a pole at St.Pete. (The other pole that weekend was taken by his new teammate, Alex Baron, who went on to dominate the race).

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"Pepe" Sierra takes the pole in the season opener in 2018

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Said Jose, “I’m very excited to start the season in St. Pete! It has been a long winter and we’ve work hard to be able to start the season. I want to thank Legacy Autosport for the opportunity. I’m sure Alex and I, and the team, are going to fight for wins this year.”

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Jose and Alex will be joining the other CONFIRMED drivers in USF2000, including…

Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing
Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport
Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
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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If Legacy can back them up, then Jose and Alex have a great shot at success in 2019. They are that good. Rather than come to Homestead-Miami for Spring Training, Legacy is testing at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Oklahoma.

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M


#521

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Saturday at Homestead-Miami…USF2000 does Test 1 of the weekend…

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The first test of Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Road to Indy were the kids from USF2000, coming out in good weather - cloudy but dry, temps in the low 80s. We have the results!

Here was the order of speed for the USF2000 T-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 1:25.4257s for a speed of 93.134mph

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2 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:25.6172s for a speed of 92.925mph

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3 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing - time of 1:25.8038s for a speed of 92.723mph

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4 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing - time of 1:25.8356s for a speed of 92.689mph

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5 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 1:26.0147s for a speed of 92.496mph

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6 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing
7 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
8 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing
9 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
10 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development

11 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing
12 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
13 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
14 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing
15 - Nate Aranda [R], Team E-Jay Racing
16 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports
17 - Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
18 - Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • No surprises on top. These are all fast guys.

  • Darren Keane for Cape Motorsports only put in 5 laps, and we don’t yet know why, but hopefully he will put in a good test this afternoon.

  • Both Christian Bogle and Manu Cabrerra put in no time.

Christain Bogle (left) and Manuel Cabrera

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Next up, the Indy Pro 2000 field takes to the track for their first test of the day…

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M


#522

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Saturday at Homestead-Miami…Indy Pro 2000 come out for their first test of the weekend…

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…and there were a few surprises right off the bat. Biggest of these is to see 2018 Vice-Champion Parker Thompson in a car for Abel Motorsports. Parker was angling to get a ride in Indy Lights with Team Pelfrey last September at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test. That he is here doesn’t necessarily say that deal is undone, but it might mean he is trying to WIN the title in 2019 in Indy Pro 2000, to get the scholarship for Indy Lights in 2020. Time will tell, but if indeed Parker is back, he is an immediate title contender in Indy Pro 2000.
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Parker Thompson

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In addition, 2018 USF2000 Champion Kyle Kirkwood has CONFIRMED that he has landed at RP Motorsport Racing for his rookie season of Indy Pro 2000. This bodes well for the team and for Kirkwood, as RPMR was one of the better-performing teams in 2018, despite being rookies in the series. In Kirkwood, they have one of the most dominant champions in years, WINNING 12 of 14 races in USF2000. Kirkwood was also the F3 Americas Champion in 2018, WINNING 15 of 17 races - a PHENOMENAL talent.

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Kyle Kirkwood

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Next, RP Motorsport Racing also announced that their 2nd car in Indy Pro 2000 will be driven by Damiano Fioravanti, a 22-year-old from Rome who has previously driven for RPMR in Euroformula Open and World Series Formula V8 3.5, where he collected WINS and podiums for the team. In 2018 Damiano drove in International GT Open for Ombra Racing, collecting a WIN, 4 podiums and 2 poles.

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Damiano Fioravanti

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continued…

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M


#523

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Saturday at Homestead-Miami…Indy Pro 2000 come out for their first test of the weekend…(part 2)…

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The Indy Pro 2000 field consisted of 12 cars, though only 11 of them answered the bell for the first test of the day.

Here was the order of speed for the Indy Pro 2000 T-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie
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1 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport - time of 1:20.7784s for a speed of 98.492mph

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2 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports - time of 1:20.8092s for a speed of 98.454mph

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3 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:21.3802s for a speed of 97.763mph

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4 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 1:21.4123s for a speed of 97.725mph

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5 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports - time of 1:21.4845s for a speed of 97.638mph

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6 - Damiano Fioravanti [R], RP Motorsport Racing
7 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development
8 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing
9 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing
10 - Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport

11 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!
12 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • The TOP THREE are all returning veterans and they are showing their strength and experience. Parker Thompson held the top spot for much of the session with Nikita right below him, but the Moscow native jumped to the top in the final minutes of the session.

  • Impressive is rookie Jacob Abel, who is driving for the family team, Abel Motorsports. Abel Motorsports was the team that brought Kyle Kirkwood to the F3 Americas title in 2018. Jacob was Kyle’s teammate at the time.

  • Danial Frost put in no time, but we haven’t been told why not.

Danial Frost

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Indy Pro 2000 will come out for the 2nd test later, today. Next up, the kids from USF2000 come out for their 2nd test…

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M


#524

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Saturday afternoon at Homestead-Miami…USF2000 comes our for the 2nd test of the day…

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Following a quick break after the Indy Pro 2000 guys did their Test 1 of the day, the kids in USF2000 came out for their 2nd test of the weekend.

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Here was the order of speed for the USF2000 T-2 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:24.5835s for a speed of 94.061mph

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2 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 1:24.6568s for a speed of 93.979mph

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3 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports - time of 1:248975s for a speed of 93.713mph

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4 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 1:25.0114s for a speed of 93.587mph

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5 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing - time of 1:25.3393s for a speed of 93.228mph

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6 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
7 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing
8 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing
9 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
10 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing

11 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing
12 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
13 - Nate Aranda [R], Team E-Jay Racing
14 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
15 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing
16 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
17 - Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
18 - Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • The rookie class is strong, as expected, and the TOP FIVE have only Darren Keane as a veteran, but we knew that once Keane got his T-1 session problem sorted out, he would be there.

  • The “Speed Boys” at Pabst Racing have to be happy, putting all 4 of their drivers in the TOP TEN. We are especially impressed with Bruna Tomaselli, who showed flashes of speed last year, driving for Team Pelfrey. She’s got a good shot now, hangin’ with the “Boys”.

  • We’re also impressed with 14-year-old Reece Gold from San Juan, Puerto Rico - TOP TEN in both tests. Cape Motorsports can ferret out talent and they may have something, here.

  • Manu Cabrera again put in no time. He’s now lost a day and has only Sunday.

left to right, Bruna Tomaselli, Reece Gold

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Next, the Indy Pro 2000 guys hold their final test of the day…

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M


#525

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Saturday afternoon at Homestead- Miami…The Indy Pro 2000 guys hold their final session…

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…of the day, and the top performers were a good mix of veterans and rookies.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Pro 2000 T-2 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 1:20.3721s for a speed of 98.990mph

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2 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 1:204022s for a speed of 98.953mph

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3 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 1:20.5496s for a speed of 98.7712mph

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4 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 1:20.5600s for a speed of 98.759mph

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5 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports - time of 1:20.6113s for a speed of 98.696mph

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6 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing
7 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport
8 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
9 - Damiano Fioravanti [R], RP Motorsport Racing
10 - Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport

11 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!
12 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • The two rookies in the TOP FIVE, Kirkwood and Lindh, were expected, as was veteran Parker Thompson, but Sting Ray and Antonio were not, necessarily. Both drivers came straight from karting to Pro Mazda, skipping USF2000, and they obviously took advantage of their rookie year to learn…a lot!

  • Danial Frost again put in no time. much like Manuel Cabrera in USF2000, the day was effectively lost to him. Hopefully, he will be on track on Sunday.
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    On Sunday, both series will hold three more test sessions each - a very busy day that will tell us a lot.

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M


#526

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IndyCar driver Scott Hargrove collects a podium at Circuit of the Americas…

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In the first 2019 race of the SRO Blancpain World Challenge America series, Road to Indy ace driver Scott Hargrove brought the Wright Motorsports # 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a P3 at Circuit of the Americas.Taking over the car from co-driver Patrick Long mid-race, Hargrove passed Toni Vilander in the R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 to get on the podium.

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The # 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3 R at COTA today
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Scott Hargrove
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The WINNERS of the race were Maxime Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista in the # 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 while the sister car, the # 9 Bentley driven by pole-sitter Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente, was P2.

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The series will hold a second 90-minute race at COTA on Sunday.

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#527

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Moments we love…

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Today in Adelaide, Australia, IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro learned how to fly her Kelly Racing Nissan Altima L33 Supercar in the first race of the Superloop Adelaide 500

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Take a look:
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Simona de Silvestro

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Track limits?? It seems to us that her tires were only and ever on the track at any time. We love it.
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#528

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Sunday morning at Homestead-Miami…Spring Training continues…

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It’s warm and humid at Homestead Miami Speedway and it’s going to be partly cloudy all day but no rain is forecast to spoil the show, as Spring Training for all three series that make up the Road to Indy ladder system take to the track for the final time before the season starts. Today, USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 continue to steal the scene as the Indy Lights await their turn on Monday.

First out this morning are the kids from USF2000, with their 3rd of five tests scheduled for the weekend.

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Here was the order of speed for the USF2000 T-3 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports - time of 1:24.5314s for a speed of 94.119mph

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2 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 1:24.6882s for a speed of 93.945mph

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3 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:24.7157s for a speed of 93.914mph

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4 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 1:24.7997s for a speed of 93.821mph

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5 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports - time of 1:24.8646s for a speed of 93.749mph

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6 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing
7 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing
8 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
9 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
10 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing

11 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing
12 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
13 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing
14 - Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport
15 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
16 - Nate Aranda [R], Team E-Jay Racing
17 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing

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Notable:

  • The TOP FIVE traded the top spot all through the session, with Darren securing it with about 4 minutes to go. Keane was the only driver to crack 94 miles per hour in this session. This is Eduardo’s first crack into the TOP FIVE.

  • Cape Motorsports has to be delighted to have two of their drivers battling for the P1 spot, and then to have 14-year-old Reece Gold once again make TOP TEN is gravy on top.

  • We’re delighted to see everyone turning laps, including Manu Cabrera, who was in the pits all day, yesterday. He put in 16 laps in this session.

  • Christian Bogle for Jay Howard Driver Development was only scheduled for Saturday and won’t be out today.

Christian Bogle

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Next, the Indy Pro 2000 guys come out for their 3rd session of the weekend…

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M


#529

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Sunday Morning at Homestead-Miami…Indy Pro 2000 do their first test of the day…

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Following the kids from USF2000, the guys in Indy Pro 2000 did Test # 3 of the weekend, with no real surprises, as the fast guys remain the fast guys.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Pro 2000 T-3 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports - time of 1:19.9506s for a speed of 99.511mph

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2 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 1:20.2312s for a speed of 99.163mph

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3 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:20.3355s for a speed of 99.035mph

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4 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 1:20.4180s for a speed of 98.933mph

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5 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport - time of 1:20.4460s for a speed of 98.899mph

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6 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
7 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development
8 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing
9 - Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport
10 - Damiano Fioravanti [R], RP Motorsport Racing

11 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!
12 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport

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Notable:

  • This is Parker Thompson’s 21st birthday and he celebrated it with the TOP TIME. He was the only guy to crack the 1:19s on time. He still isn’t saying where he will land in 2019 - if at all.

  • Kyle Kirkwood hovered outside the TOP FIVE for most of the session, then put in a flyer with 1 minute to go and made the grade.

  • Singapore’s Danial Frost has still not turned a lap all weekend. We fear his car is terminal, at this point, and no one is talking.

Danial Frost

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Next, following a lunch break, the kids of USF2000 once again run…This time for Test 4…

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#530

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Sunday mid-day at Homestead-Miami…USF2000 comes back on track for T-4…

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The kids in USF2000 had lunch and then rejoined the fray for their 4th test of the weekend.
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Here was the order of speed for the USF2000 T-4 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:24.8466s for a speed of 93.769mph

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2 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports - time of 1:25.2162s for a speed of 93.363mph

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3 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports - time of 1:25.2756s for a speed of 93.297mph

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4 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing - time of 1:25.2823s for a speed of 93.290mph

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5 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing - time of 1:25.5796s for a speed of 92.966mph

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6 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
7 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
8 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
9 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing
10 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing

11 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing
12 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
13 - Nate Aranda [R], Team E-Jay Racing
14 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
15 - Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport
16 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing
17 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing

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Notable:

  • Darren Keane and Manuel Sulaiman traded the top spot a few times before Manuel finally got it, busting into the 1:24s on time. Darren has yet to confirm he is driving for the Cape brothers in 2019 - or for anyone at all.

  • Yuven Sundaramoorthy flies the flag for Pabst Racing, getting into the TOP FIVE for the first time, while Bruna Tomaselli also returns to the TOP TEN for the team. The other “Speed Boys,” Colin Kaminsky and Hunter McElrea, put in no time, this session. They may be done for the weekend.

  • Jack William Miller gets into the TOP TEN and Anthony Famularo returns there, while Reece Gold falls out of it for the first time and Nolan Siegel tickles it. All are 15-years-old or younger.

left to right, JW Miller and Anthony Famularo…

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…and Reece Gold and Nolan Siegel

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Next, the Indy Pro guys return to the track for the T-4 session…

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M


#531

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Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami…Indy Pro 2000 holds their 4th test of the weekend…

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…and a welcome face showed up to run, finally, and did what we expected he would, once on track.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Pro 2000 T-4 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports - time of 1:20.4619s for a speed of 98.879mph

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2 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 1:20.8769s for a speed of 98.372mph

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3 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport - time of 1:20.9493s for a speed of 98.284mph

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4 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 1:20.9746s for a speed of 98.253mph

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5 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 1:21.2371s for a speed of 97.936mph

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6 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
7 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing
8 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport
9 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development
10 - Damiano Fioravanti [R], RP Motorsport Racing

11 - Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport
12 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!

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Notable:

  • Canadian Parker Thompson once again takes the cake - 2nd time in four sessions - and is making a statement: I’m the guy you want in your car. Veteran Sting Ray Robb gets another P2 and almost tops the session, while Rasmus and Kyle are right where they should be - TOP FIVE.

  • Finally, Danial Frost gets to drive his car and he immediately goes where we suspected he might - TOP FIVE.

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Next, USF2000 come out for the last time this weekend…

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M


#532

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Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami…USF2000 closes out the weekend…

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…and the results are a little skewed, as not everyone runs. That allows the youngsters to show their stuff, and they did.

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Here was the order of speed for the USF2000 T-5 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports - time of 1:24.9935s for a speed of 93.570mph

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2 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 1:25.1114s for a speed of 93.477mph

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3 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports - time of 1:25.1940s for a speed of 93.387mph

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4 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing - time of 1:25.3979s for a speed of 93.164mph

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5 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:25.5514s for a speed of 92.997mph

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6 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
7 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing
8 - Manuel Cabrera, Exclusive Autosport
9 - Nate Aranda [R], Team E-Jay Racing
10 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing

11 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports
12 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
13 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
14 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing
15 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing
16 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing
17 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing

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Notable:

  • While Eduardo’s time is excellent, Some of the top runners up to now were not competing, including Hunter McElrea - not on the track - and Darren Keane, who only put in 5 laps and retired, as did Braden Eves after 4 laps. But Eduardo beat both Christian Rasmussen and Manuel Sulaiman - both fast guys.

  • Also not on track were Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Colin Kaminsky and Bruna Tomaselli and Reece Gold only put in 7 laps. There’s just no way to know how this session would have played out if everyone was on the same program.

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That’s it for the kids from USF2000. There is one more session for Indy Pro 2000 left to go…

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M


#533

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Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami…Indy Pro 2000 ends their weekend…

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The middle rung of the Road to Indy ladder were the last guys to drive in anger today at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and they all came out - except for perhaps the top guy, as Parker Thompson parked it.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Pro 2000 T-5 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 1:19.7509s for a speed of 99.761mph

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2 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 1:20.0066s for a speed of 99.442mph

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3 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 1:20.4198s for a speed of 98.931mph

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4 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing - time of 1:20.4198s for a speed of 98.931mph

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5 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport - time of 1:20.5869s for a speed of 98.726mph

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6 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development
7 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport
8 - Damiano Fioravanti [R], RP Motorsport Racing
9 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports
10 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!
11 - Parker Locke [R], Exclusive Autosport
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Notable:

  • While Parker may have beaten him, had he been there, Sting Ray beat all the other fast guys who were there. In fact, he put in the fastest lap of anyone this weekend, so far…until the Lights run on Monday.

  • The only other guy to post a 1:19 this weekend is Parker Thompson and Robb beat his time by almost 0.2 seconds - a clear advantage. The sophomore is proving to be a contender to be reckoned with.
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    That’s it for Indy Pro 2000. On Monday, the Indy Lights take over the track for two test sessions that will total five hours of track time.

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M


#534

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IndyCar driver Scott Hargove collects another podium at COTA on Sunday…

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The Road to Indy ace and multiple Porsche Cup Champion took the Wright Motorsports GT3 Pro-class # 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a second P3 on the weekend at Circuit of the Americas, following the P3 he and co-driver Patrick Long garnered on Saturday (see post # 487). The circuit is hosting the season openers of the SRO Blancpain World Challenge America series.

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Pat Long (left) and Scott Hargrove - two podiums to start their season
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Scott started the race from P10 and did one of his famous charges in the opening laps, bringing the car to P5 in one lap and collecting another spot a few laps later. Midway through the 90-minute race Scott handed the car to Pat in P4 and Long collected two more spots, but lost one late in the race to end up P3.

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Scott on the charge in the # 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R
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The race WINNERS were Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina in the # 61 Ferrari 488 GT3 for R. Ferri Motorsports. P2 was the # 9 Bentley Continental GT3 for K-Pax Racing, driven by Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente, mimicking their performance on Saturday.

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The next rounds of Blancpain GT action will be at St Petersburg, this next weekend, as they support the NTT IndyCar series opener, but that will be GT4 and TCR classes, only. Scott next goes into action at VIRginia International Raceway, April 26-28.

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M


#535

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Monday morning at Homestead-Miami…The Indy Lights begin to test…

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Spring Training for the Road to Indy ladder system continues at Homestead-Miami Speedway, following two days of test for USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000. Now it’s time for the top rung of the ladder - the Indy Lights - to have their own time onthe track. Today they willput in five hours of testing with a T-1 session of 90 minutes and an afternoon marathon of 3 hours and 30 minutes.

But first, some housekeeping. In addition to the drivers mentioned in post # 479, we have two additional drivers here to test - Julien Falchero and Toby Sowery.

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French driver Julien Falchero has tested in a Lights car twice already for Andretti Autosport - Once at Homestead-Miami last December and then again at Circuit of the Americas, about two weeks ago. Both times he showed great speed, posting several P3s and several P2s for the team. But today, Julien will be driving for Belardi Auto Racing, in their # 4 IL-15, teaming with Lucas Kohl in the # 5 and Zachary Claman in the # 13.

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Julien Falchero

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England’s Toby Sowery was one of several good European drivers that rotated into the 2018 season of Pro Mazda (now “Indy Pro 2000”) on a limited basis, and to great affect. As with the other European drivers, Toby performed brilliantly, posting two P2s at his two outings for BN Racing at Road America. Today, Toby will drive in the # 2 car for BN Racing / Team Pelfrey, aside BN’s driver David Malukas.

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Toby Sowery

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continued…

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M


#536

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Monday morning at Homestead-Miami…The Indy Lights begin to test…(part 2)…

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The first session was a 90-minute session, starting right before noon. The results were a good mix of excellence from both rookies and veterans alike.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Lights T-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 1:16.0139s for a speed of 104.665mph

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2 - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 1:16.2383s for a speed of 104.357mph

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3 - David Malukas [R], BN Racing - time of 1:16.2514s for a speed of 104.339mph

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4 - Zachary Claman, Belardi Auto Racing - time of 1:16.4055s for a speed of 104.129mph

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5 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport - time of 1:168470s for a speed of 103.530mph

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6 - Julien Falchero [R], Belardi Auto Racing
7 - Toby Sowery [R], BN Racing / Team Pelfrey
8 - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing
9 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing
10 - Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing

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Notable:

  • Rookie Oliver Askew waited until late in the session to exert himself, as did Rob Megennis and Dave Malukas. Then, they pounced and broke the hearts of Julien Falchero and Toby Sowery, both of whom were flirting with the top, at the time. Veterans ZCD and Ryan Norman then stomped on their broken hearts - Welcome to Indy Lights, boys!

  • Nevertheless, don’t count either Falchero or Sowery out. These are excellent drivers, and they will try to show that in the big afternoon session.

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The field will have lunch and then return for the 3 and a half-hour session in the afternoon.

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M


#537

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Monday afternoon at Homestead-Miami…The Indy Lights wrap up their testing…

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The 10 cars that came to test at Homestead-Miami Speedway spent much of the afternoon session in the pits and in the paddock, adjusting the cars and going over the morning’s data, but when they finally got on track it was once again a mix of veterans and rookies in the top spots.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Lights T-2 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport - time of 1:15.1962s for a speed of 105.639mph

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2 - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 1:15.3661s for a speed of 105.565mph

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3 - Julien Falchero [R], Belardi Auto Racing - time of 1:15.4966s for a speed of 105.382mph

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4 - Zachary Claman, Belardi Auto Racing - time of 1:15.7506s fora speed of 105.029mph

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5 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 1:15.8627s for a speed of 104.874mph

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6 - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing
7 - Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing
8 - David Malukas [R], BN Racing
9 - Toby Sowery [R], BN Racing / Team Pelfrey
10 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing

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Notable:

  • Predictably, everyone went faster in the T-2 session - sometimes much faster. Ryan ended up turning the fastest lap of any car for the whole weekend.

  • Rob Megennis made a stab at taking the top spot in the final minutes and Julien Falchero did too, but they both only improved marginally and Ryan held on.

  • The two drivers with the least time in an IL-15, Toby Sowery (first time today) and Lucas Kohl were of course the slowest guys, but there is only 1.2 seconds between Ryan Norman and Lucas Kohl, so this is a group of fast runners.

  • No word yet from the Sowery and Falchero camps if they will be on the grid at St. Pete, this coming weekend, and for whom they will drive, if they are.

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That’s it for Road to Indy Spring Training for 2019. Next, we will analyse what we saw from all three series that tested.

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#539

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Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway…What did we learn?

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Following three days of testing for USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights at Homestead, we have a very good idea of who will be fast, right out of the gate, when we arrive at St. Petersburg, this weekend.

First and foremost, not everyone who tested has been confirmed to drive and we won’t know everyone who will start the season until the season starts. That said, we have to assess everyone who did test, because they MAY be in a car this year. So let’s get to it, starting with the kids in USF2000 - the bottom rung of the Road to Indy ladder:

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We have a points system - car positions for each test added together, then that number divided by the number of tests each driver ran in. A session with less than 10 laps for the driver is thrown out, as they never got up to proper speed and temps, for whatever reason.

The best performer (lowest number) was Darren Keane, a veteran driving for Cape Motorsports. Still unconfirmed, Darren’s score was 2 (P3, P1 and P2) and he also put in the Fastest Lap of the test for USF2000 - Outstanding, by every measure. Get this man a car!!

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Darren Keane

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Second best was Manuel Sulaiman, a rookie confirmed for DEForce Racing, with a score of 2.4. Manuel drove in all five sessions and topped 2 of them - P2, P1, P3, P1 and P5. Had Manuel not slipped in the T-5 test to P5, he would have gotten the top spot, and well-earned. Manuel was outstanding.

Manuel Sulaiman

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Third best was Braden Eves, a rookie confirmed for Cape Motorsports. Braden got a score of 2.75, based on his P1, P2, P2 and P6. Like Manuel, had he not slipped in the T-4 test he would have topped the test. Excellence, here.

Braden Eves

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Fourth best was Christian Rasmussen, a rookie confirmed for Jay Howard Driver Development. The Dane got a score of 4.4, based on his P5, P5, P4, P7 and P2. Christian slipped in the T-4 test but made up for it in the T-5 test, so this is about right for him, and very impressive.

Christian Rasmussen

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Fifth on our list is Cameron Shields, a rookie confirmed for Newman Wachs Racing. Cameron was a bit all over the map, with a P3, P11, P6, P4 and P7 for a score of 6.2. He was much more consistent at the Homestead test in December, where he topped everyone else. Cam is truly a title contender.

Cameron Shields

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Next, let’s look at Indy Pro 2000…(continued)…

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#540

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Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway…What did we learn?..(part 2)…

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Topping Indy Pro 2000 was veteran Parker Thompson driving for Abel Motorsports. The Canadian was the Vice-Champion of the series last year, and it showed. Parker’s score was 2.25, based on P2, P5, P1 and P1. Had he not slipped a bit in the T-2 test he would have been even better, but what he did was enough to take it. Parker and Manuel Sulaiman in USF2000 were the only guys to top two sessions, all weekend. Parker is confirmed for ONLY St. Pete, at this point.

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Parker Thompson

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Second in points is Kyle Kirkwood, a rookie confirmed for RP Motorsport Racing. Kyle is the 2018 Champion of USF2000 and he looked like it, with a score of 2.8, based on P4, P1, P2, P5 and P2. While he was never out of the TOP FIVE, his P4 and P5 hurt him, compared to Thompson, but this guy is a monster, and will be the guy everyone will chase - especially if Parker doesn’t get a full season.

Kyle Kirkwood

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Third in points was Danial Frost, a rookie confirmed for Exclusive Autosport. Danial only got in one full test session the whole weekend but he posted a P3 in it, so his score is 3. While one session would normally not say much his T-4 time was completely consistent with his previous tests and races, so we are confident that his third in points is accurate. Danial is excellent.

Danial Frost

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Fourth in points was Sting Ray Robb, a veteran driving for Juncos Racing this season. Sting Ray was a bit of a surprise for us, as he has been a good but not great performer in the past. His score was 4.2 based on a P2, P8, P2 and P1. Had Sting Ray not gotten that outlier P8 he would have been the TOP driver. In the T-5 session his P1 was also the Fastest Lap for Indy Pro 2000 all weekend. Sting Ray may just be the biggest surprise of the season.

Sting Ray Robb

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Fifth on the list was Moises de la Vara, confirmed for DEForce Racing in 2019. Like Sting Ray, Moises was a bit of a surprise. His score was 4.6, based on a P3, P6, P3, P7, and a P4. It was the two tests outside the TOP FIVE that most hurt Moises, but this is still a lot better than we were expecting from him. Moises may be ready to stat winning races.

Moises de la Vara

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Next it’s the Indy Lights…(continued)…

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