Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire Friday notebook

  • The three quickest drivers of this afternoon’s Indy Lights practice session – Shelby Blackstock, Garth Rickards, and Zachary Claman DeMelo – all set their quickest lap times on sticker Cooper Tires. Rickards told us that him (and his three Carlin teammates) are all suffering from understeer.
  • The No. 51 Belardi Auto Racing entry was undergoing an engine change when we walked though the Indy Lights paddock after practice.
  • Current points leader Colton Herta turned the fifth quickest time in Indy Lights practice (only 0.2920 seconds behind leader Blackstock), but DID NOT put on a set of sticker tires. The second-generation driver told TSO that he is quite happy with the balance of his Deltro Energy sponsored No. 98 Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing car.
  • A pretty common refrain from drivers from both MRTI series that have competed at Barber Motorsports Park before is that the track is more difficult, especially during the afternoon sessions, then they can ever remember experiencing.
  • USF2000 veteran Luke Gabin told us that the Exclusive Autosport team is suffering the exact opposite problem that Carlin is facing in Indy Lights, oversteer. The problem has the Canadian based three-car team completely perplexed. Gabin has one podium and one top five at Barber Motorsports Park, and his teammate Parker Thompson has two wins and five top five finish. Exclusive Autosport engineer Daryl Bear has also had success at this track, working with Gabin and winning three times as race engineer for RC Enerson.
  • The 39 Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire entries are not the only Mazda powered cars in attendance at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend. When you add the 31 MX-5 Cup cars and the 13 Mazda powered Prototype Challenge entries, you get a grand total of 83 cars that are powered by various iterations of Mazda 2.0-liter power plants.
  • Road To Indy TV rolled out an Official App for Xbox One this weekend giving MRTI fans another option (along with the mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku.) “With the launch of our Xbox App, we’re not only spearheading a new medium that provides free accessibility to viewers worldwide, but we’re delivering an experience into the heart of their home,” said Manterola. “In the U.S. alone, 65 percent of households own a video game console, so we are excited to witness how this will impact the next generation of racing fans.”
  • Team Pelfrey rookie Indy Lights driver Pato O’Ward now has his own app that allows you to find his schedule, photographs, social media, post and other content. You can get the app for iOS and Android.