By Steve Wittich

The top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for their ninth year and 15th and 16th races.

NTT IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti won the first race, in support of the Formula One US Grand Prix in 2005 while driving for Andretti Autosport.

Colton Herta became the only multiple race winner when he won both races last year from the outside of the front row.

Colton Herta makes a move on Victor Franzoni on his way to one his two wins on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2018 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Pole sitter and eventual series champion started on pole in both races, but could only manage a fourth and seventh place finish, marking the third and fourth time in the IL-15 that pole sitter finished off the podium.

Previous Indy Lights winners on the the IMS road course




Starting Spot

2018 Race #2

Colton Herta

Andretti Steinbrenner Racing


2018 Race #1

Colton Herta

Andretti Steinbrenner Racing


2017 Race #2

Kyle Kaiser

Juncos Racing


2017 Race #1

Nico Jamin

Andretti Autosport


2016 Race #2

Dean Stoneman

Andretti Autosport


2016 Race #1

Ed Jones



2015 Race #2

Sean Rayhall

8Star Motorsports


2015 Race #1

Jack Harvey

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports


2014 Race #2

Luiz Razia

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports


2014 Race #1

Matthew Brabham

Andretti Autosport


2007 Race #2

Bobby Wilson

Brian Stewart Racing


2007 Race #1

Hideki Mutoh

Panther Racing



Alex Lloyd

AFS Racing



Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport



The advancemnt scholarship chase

A pair of wins in the Lone Star State vaulted rookie Oliver Askew from fifth place after the first two races of the season, to a six-point lead over rival Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) headed into the “Month of May.”

The Andretti Autosport driver has started from the pole in his four previous Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires starts on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, collecting two wins, three podiums and 36 laps led. The 22-year-old is the only driver in the Indy Lights field this weekend that has a previous win on the circuit.

“I think both the Andretti Autosport team and myself have built up a lot of momentum and confidence since our last event at Circuit of the Americas,” said Askew. “We are only focused on extracting as much speed out of the car as possible; I think the speed and results will come as long as we keep executing under every circumstance.”

Askew tested an AER/Dallara IL-15 for the first time on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course during last October’s Chris Griffis Memorial Test, leading one of the test sessions.

Current championship leader Oliver Askew climbs into an AER/Dallara IL-15 for the fist time during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October of 2018 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

His Andretti Autosport squad has won six times on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course including four of the last five races. The Indianapolis, Ind. based team also leads all teams in the laps led category with 133.

VeeKay is the only Indy Lights driver to finish in the top five in all four races this season, but despite a pair of podiums, the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course hasn’t been all that kind to the Dutchman in the past.

The 18-year-old has only failed to finish inside the top five twice in 34 Road To Indy races. Both of those races occurred on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

VeeKay started eighth and finished sixth in his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in USF2000 in 2017. Last year, VeeKay began Saturday’s second race on the inside of the third row. Contact as the field ended the eventual Indy Pro 2000 champions day against the inside pit wall; the only Did Not Finish in 34 races.

The four drivers between third and sixth in the championship are only separated by a scant 11 points, making every position relevant.

Belardi Auto Racing veteran Zachary Claman returns to the site of his first Indy Lights podium, a second place finish in 2017, trailing Askew by 16 points.

“I’m excited to get back to work, and just get back in a racecar. It feels like it has been so long since COTA, which left a bitter taste in my mouth,” said the Canadian. “I’ve still got the same hunger to win that I had at the start of the season, and I am ready to do that once again at the biggest stage in racing.”

Toby Sowery, only three points behind Claman returns in a joint BN Racing / Team Pelfrey entry with support from Rich Energy, a long-time sponsor of the 22-year-old and primary sponsor of the Haas Formula One team. Sowery is the only driver in the field making his first ever start on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

Andretti Autosport rookie Robert Megennis, who led the final Indy Lights test session during the 2018 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway enters the “Month of May” with momentum.

Megennis, who just turned 19-years-old, scored a pair of podiums at Circuit of The Americas while leading his first Indy Lights laps. Megennis has two quickest laps of the race (once at St. Pete and once at COTA) and his fastest average race lap average of 2.5 leads Askew, VeeKay, and Sowery who are tied with an average of 4.0.

“I’m so excited to get the month of May started on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course,” exclaimed the New Yorker. “I love the track, it always makes for great racing, and we finished the last session of the September Chris Griffis test there P1. I’m still on a high from my double podium at COTA, and I’m just looking to keep the momentum going. I can’t wait to get to work again with Andretti Autosport, CyberArk, Optiv, Palo Alto Networks, and Sailpoint.”

BN Racing rookie David Malukas is only eleven points from third place in the championship and his coming off his first Indy Lights podium in the second race at the Circuit of The Americas six weeks ago.

Malukas made his Road To Indy debut on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2016 and tested an Indy Lights car on the circuit during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test.

“We have had some great results so far in 2019, but my first podium has only made me hungrier for more,” explained Malukas. “The team has done a great job, and the speed has been there each and every race weekend. With it being my rookie season in Indy Lights, I am learning along the way and seem to progress as the weekend goes on. With pretty good track knowledge of Indy and already driving an Indy Lights car at the facility in 2018, I am looking to come out of the box even stronger during the first test session later this week.”

Ryan Norman has had a disappointing start to the season, but still has plenty of time to get into championship contention. The veteran Andretti Autosport pilot led the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in October, so he should be quick on the circuit he enjoys.

“I’m really excited to get back on track for the month of May. We’ve had a little bit of a rough start in the first two race weekends of the season, but I’m very confident we will turn it around. We are fast on the road course configuration at Indy, and we showed speed in testing there so I’m ready to see what we can do.”


Indy Lights points headed into the “Month of May”






Oliver Askew – R



Rinus VeeKay – R




Zachary Claman




Toby Sowery – R




Robert Megennis – R




David Malukas – R




Julien Falchero – R




Ryan Norman




Lucas Kohl – R




Dalton Kellett



Other Notes

  • There are no previous winners of this event in the field.
  • Milestones – Lucas Kohl is making his 50th Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires start this weekend.
  • Only two of the 14 races have been won the eventual series champion, with Ed Jones (2016) and Kyle Kaiser (2017) winning one race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on the way to the Indy Lights championship.
  • A pair of current NTT IndyCar Series drivers set the qualifying and race track records for the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course during the Indy Lights event in 2016.
  • A lap of 74.6743 seconds by Ed Jones set during qualifying in 2016 is the overall track record.
  • Felix Rosenqvist set the race track record the same weekend with a lap timed at 75.7230 seconds set in the second race of the weekend.
  • All 14 previous Indy Lights races have finished under the green and checkered flag.
  • Marco Andretti beat Wade Cunningham by 12.705 seconds to win the first Indy Lights race held on an Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2005.
  • In 2014 Race #2 Luiz Razia beat his Schmidt teammate Jack Harvey to the line by 0.6414 seconds, the closest finish of the bunch.
  • Eight of the 14 races have run caution free, including the last four.
  • There has only been a single first lap caution, that occurred during an unseasonably cold race in 2016 when Andre Negrao hit the outside wall after getting on the power coming to the green flag.


Race Weekend Basics

  • Each entry can utilize four new sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as one set of used/scuffed tires from the test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
  • Race Name: Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires
  • Race #1 length: 30 laps or 60 minutes
  • Race #2 length: 35 laps or 60 minutes
  • Each driver will have 20 activations of the 50 horsepower push to pass (PTP), with each activation lasting 10 seconds.
  • PTP is not functional during starts and restarts, and a driver must be within 1.5 seconds of the car ahead of them for the system to become active
  • Drivers failing to slow at least 15% in a timing sector with a local yellow will be subject to a two-place grid spot penalty.
  • Drivers who fail to heed the checkered flag at the end of a session will receive a two-grid spot penalty.
  • Causing one red flag will result in a driver losing their fastest lap.
  • Causing a second red flag will wipe out all of drivers laps, and they will not be able to leave pit road for the remainder of the session.
  • Crossing the white line between Turn 6 and Turn 7 is considered out of bounds. Crossing behind the Turn 7 curbs in qualifying will result in the loss of that lap.
  • Pit lane speed is 45mph.
  • At pit exit, all cars shall exit behind the Turn 1 curb and keep all four wheels to the right of the white line.
  • Driver points are distributed as follows: 30 – 25 – 22 – 19 – 17 – 15 -14 – 13 – 12 – 11 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – an additional one point will be awarded to the pole sitter, and to the driver who leads the most laps – note that no point is given for the quickest race lap because of the use of PTP.

Watch the 2018 races

Race #1

Race #2


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