Archives for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire – TSO

Cape Motorsports Signs Jagger Jones for 2023 Indy Lights Program

The USF2000 rookie of the year makes the jump to the top rung of the Road to Indy ladder


#3: Cape Motorsports, Jagger Jones

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (September 7 2022) – Cape Motorsports has signed the first of two drivers for its 2023 Indy Lights program, as Jagger Jones graduates up the Road to Indy ladder with the team from its championship-winning Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship effort.

“We’re happy to head back to Indy Lights with Jagger,” said brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “He’s fast, and he’s shown what a solid driver he is with his performance in USF2000 this year. He learned the tracks and the car so quickly and we don’t expect next year to be any different. Continuity is so important for our team, and bringing Jagger along makes much of this quite seamless – he gets along with the entire team and fits in so well. We’re ready to get started on 2023.”

Jones, 20, captured USF2000 rookie of the year honors with a victory at Barber Motorsports Park, three pole positions, and five podium finishes. The Arizona native, currently a dean’s list student at High Point University in North Carolina, eagerly anticipates the challenge as he aims toward his ultimate goal: the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

“I’m super happy to continue progressing in my Road to Indy career,” said Jones. “This is a great opportunity to move up to Indy Lights with Cape Motorsports. I’ve had such a good year learning from everyone on the USF2000 team, so once Cape announced they were moving to Indy Lights, I knew it was my chance to continue my development with them. Dominic and Nicholas are completely committed to winning at every level. It will be a new challenge for me and for Cape, but I know with our dedication, we’ll be fighting for podiums and wins next year. I can’t thank all those who have made this happen enough – TotalSim US, Apex Motor Club, Simcraft, and so many others for trusting me.”


On paper, it would seem like a big jump from the 175 hp Tatuus US-22 to the 450 hp Dallara IL-15 – but the grandson of Indianapolis 500 legend Parnelli Jones is a quick study, having spent several years racing 650 hp stock cars and late model cars, finishing second in the 2019 NASCAR Menards Series West. Jones adapted quickly to open-wheel cars, setting the quickest time at last year’s Road to Indy Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and earning a victory in his fourth start. Jagger and his management advisor Mike Hull believe that the time is right for him to move into Indy Lights.

“I think everyone’s path is different,” said Jones. “I started open wheel a little later in my racing career. I’ve done a great deal of stock car racing, with really big horsepower so while that is quite different from driving the Indy Lights car, I have experience driving other cars. Yes, it is a big jump, but I’m ready for the challenge and I have the background to help me learn quickly.”

Cape Motorsports first contested Indy Lights in 2007, 2008 and 2010. In 2007 and 2008, the Cape brothers managed the RLR Andersen Racing team (a partnership between Dan Andersen and Rahal Letterman Racing) with a driver lineup that included future series champion JR Hildebrand, with whom they had captured the USF2000 title in 2006. The 2010 effort was formed in partnership with Wayne Taylor Racing, with Gustavo Yacamán behind the wheel.

The team expects to take delivery of the first of its pair of Dallara IL-15s later this month, with the announcement of its second driver coming within the next several weeks. Testing is scheduled to commence at Sebring International Raceway in November.


About Cape Motorsports:

Cape Motorsports returns to the Indy Lights series in 2023, having competed in the series in 2007, 2008 and 2010. The winningest operation in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship history, Cape Motorsports captured 10 of the last 12 USF2000 Driver Championships and 14 titles in total, with drivers such as Matthew Brabham, Petri Suvanto, Scott Hargrove, Florian Latorre, Nico Jamin, Anthony Martin, Oliver Askew, Kyle Kirkwood and Braden Eves.

The goal of Cape Motorsports is to provide unmatched driver development both on and off the track. It is difficult for a young driver to jump into a professional series and win, regardless of talent. Through coaching and mentoring, Cape Motorsports provides young drivers with as much knowledge of motorsports as possible, to help them earn success.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Friday Evening Practice Notes and Timesheet

By Patrick Stephan

I am filling in for Steve Wittich who had to depart the track a little early for a different commitment.

8 minutes in to the 3o minute session, Hunter McElrea got knocked out of P1 by Christian Rasmussen who turned a lap of 1:06.5170.  As every0ne else got back out for what looked like their second run of the session, the times started dropping as Benjamin Pedersen took the top spot briefly until McElrea bested him with a 1:06.3722.

Another lap or two later Rasmussen jumps back to P1 as the drivers worked around the 1.8 mile St. Petersburg street course. Shadows are startign to fall over portions of the track as this session approaches halfway (and 6:00pm local time).

Danial Frost moved to P2 as HMD tries to break up the Andretti Autosport part on the time sheet. Frost then drops a 1:05.8655 to take the top spot, giving us a Top 5 of Frost, McElrea, Pedersen, Abel and Rasmussen.  That’s HMD with DCR, Andretti, Global with HMD, Abel and Andretti from a team standpoint respectively.

With a little more than 15 minutes to go, the track went red for Ernie Francis, Jr who was off track near Turn 12.

Due to long shadows and possibly the local time rules, the session was shortened by it appears to be 5 minutes judging by the clock on timing and scoring.

Frost was looking good to stay in P1 as the clock was winding down, but Hunter McElrea jumped back to the top spot with a lap of 1:05.7693.

Earlier today, McElrea took the top spot in qualifying with a lap 1:05.2812.

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires will have tomorrow off, and then McElrea will lead the field to green at 9:30AM ET on Sunday morning.

Hunter McElrea on track at St. Petersburg. Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

Here is the time sheet from today’s final practice session:

Pos Car # Driver Best Time Diff Total Laps Best Lap Team
1 27 Hunter McElrea 1:05.7693 1:05.7693 17 17 Andretti Autosport
2 68 Danial Frost 1:05.8655 0.0962 15 8 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
3 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:06.0056 0.2363 16 16 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
4 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:06.1055 0.3362 16 8 Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports
5 83 Matthew Brabham 1:06.1678 0.3985 17 16 Andretti Autosport
6 51 Jacob Abel 1:06.2174 0.4481 17 11 Abel Motorsports
7 28 Christian Rasmussen 1:06.2226 0.4533 14 9 Andretti Autosport
8 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:06.3766 0.6073 17 16 Andretti Autosport
9 59 Manuel Sulaiman 1:06.4843 0.715 14 13 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
10 21 Kyffin Simpson 1:06.5756 0.8063 15 9 TJ Speed Motorsports
11 12 James Roe Jr 1:06.7291 0.9598 17 15 TJ Speed Motorsports
12 99 Ernie Francis Jr 1:07.1893 1.42 10 10 Force Indy
13 11 Antonio Serravalle 1:07.7730 2.0037 16 8 Abel Motorsports
14 7 Christian Bogle 1:07.8800 2.1107 12 11 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing

Indy Lights Road America Qualifying for Race 1 – Results

By Patrick Stephan

Danial Frost – Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires qualifying session got started promptly at 2:30pm Central Time…for some of the field. The 30 minute session saw several drivers sit on pit lane for most of the session including Kyle Kirkwood. Others put in a quick lap early and then sat on pit lane themselves.

Devlin DeFrancesco had the top spot with 1:56.0898 for much of the session. Kirkwood finally went out with around 10 minutes remaining and promptly went P3 and just 0.0335 off P1.

With 6 minutes to go, DeFrancesco maintained the P1 spot over Danial Frost, then Kirkwood, Megennis, and Peroni.

With four minutes to go, David Malukas jumped to P4.

Then with a little over 2 minutes to go, Danial Frost moved to P1 with a 1:55.5938, while Malukas moves to P2. DeFrancesco, Kirkwood (still having done just 4 laps), and Sowery now round out the Top-5.

Point leader Linus Lundqvist was 7th at the time, but would jump to 5th with his final lap.

The top four were crazy close until Frost put in his pole winning time, gapping Malukas by 0.4766 – nearly half a second, a pretty large margin in this series. Just a little over a tenth separates 2nd through 6th.

This is Danial Frost’s first career Indy Lights pole, and he comes in to the race weekend 7th in points 72 back of Lundqvist.

During his pit lane interview he said he didn’t do anything special on that quick lap, he just did what he always does “go fast.” He said they have been working really hard lately and now are just one step away from the top step of the podium.


Pos Car # Driver Best Lap Diff Gap Total Laps Best Lap Team
1 68 Danial Frost 1:55.5938 0.000 7 6 Andretti Autosport
2 79 David Malukas 1:56.0704 0.4766 0.4766 8 7 HMD Motorsports
3 17 Devlin DeFrancesco 1:56.0898 0.4960 0.0194 6 2 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
4 28 Kyle Kirkwood 1:56.1233 0.5295 0.0335 4 2 Andretti Autosport
5 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:56.1691 0.5753 0.0458 9 9 Global Racing Group w/HMD
6 51 Toby Sowery 1:56.1974 0.6036 0.0283 9 7 Juncos Racing
7 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:56.4357 0.8419 0.2383 9 7 Juncos Racing
8 27 Robert Megennis 1:56.5380 0.9442 0.1023 5 3 Andretti Autosport
9 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:56.6035 1.0097 0.0655 9 7 Global Racing Group wHMD
10 5 Alex Peroni 1:56.6111 1.0173 0.0076 6 5 Carlin
11 59 Nikita Lastochkin 1:57.0997 1.5059 0.4886 11 9 HMD Motorsports
12 11 Antonio Serravalle 1:57.2283 1.6345 0.1286 12 11 Pserra Racing
13 7 Christian Bogle 1:57.8645 2.2707 0.6362 6 2 Carlin

Road America – Friday Morning Session Results

By Patrick Stephan

Steve Wittich is attending to a family matter, so I will be pinch hitting on the side today.  And unfortunately, I was on an airplane (and then in the rental car) from Denver to Milwaukee when the first three official sessions of the weekend were completed.

Here is a quick recap of those sessions (please note, I didn’t actually see them so I can’t comment on red flags, etc.)

I’ll be covering the rest of today’s Road to Indy action live (and more completely of course) now that I am here at beautiful Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The first session of the day was Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship practice #1  at 8:00am.

That session was led by Matt Round-Garrido, followed by Prescott Campbell and Spike Kohlbecker.

Pos Car Driver Best Time Speed Diff Gap Best Lap Total Laps
1 92 Matt Round-Garrido 02:11.4794 109.906 –.—- –.—- 9 9
2 11 Prescott Campbell 02:11.4888 109.898 0.0094 0.0094 4 9
3 5 Spike Kohlbecker (R) 02:11.4974 109.891 0.0180 0.0086 9 10
4 12 Kiko Porto 02:11.5092 109.881 0.0298 0.0118 10 10
5 4 Michael d’Orlando 02:11.5577 109.841 0.0783 0.0485 5 5
6 10 Nolan Siegel 02:11.5648 109.835 0.0854 0.0071 10 10
7 2 Thomas Nepveu (R) 02:11.5964 109.808 0.1170 0.0316 9 9
8 22 Yuven Sundaramoorthy 02:11.6383 109.774 0.1589 0.0419 10 10
9 29 Erik Evans (R) 02:11.7183 109.707 0.2389 0.0800 8 9
10 33 Josh Green 02:11.7932 109.645 0.3138 0.0749 8 8
11 24 Josh Pierson 02:11.8265 109.617 0.3471 0.0333 8 9
12 6 Bijoy Garg 02:11.9036 109.553 0.4242 0.0771 8 8
13 34 Dylan Christie (R) 02:11.9388 109.524 0.4594 0.0352 8 8
14 23 Jace Denmark (R) 02:12.3850 109.154 0.9056 0.4462 9 9
15 1 Ely Navarro (R) 02:12.6691 108.921 1.1897 0.2841 4 4
16 99 Myles Rowe (R) 02:12.6802 108.912 1.2008 0.0111 9 9
17 19 Simon Sikes 02:12.6832 108.909 1.2038 0.0030 3 8
18 91 Billy Frazer (R) 02:12.7994 108.814 1.3200 0.1162 9 9
19 8 Jackson Lee (R) 02:13.0741 108.589 1.5947 0.2747 8 8
20 9 Peter Vodanovich (R) 02:13.2325 108.460 1.7531 0.1584 7 7
21 3 Evan Stamer (R) 02:13.3902 108.332 1.9108 0.1577 8 9
22 44 Christian Brooks 02:13.6922 108.087 2.2128 0.3020 2 3
23 16 Kent Vaccaro (R) 02:13.8744 107.940 2.3950 0.1822 6 6
24 63 Trey Burke (R) 02:13.9112 107.910 2.4318 0.0368 8 8
25 42 Michael Myers 02:14.0283 107.816 2.5489 0.1171 9 9

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship would get back on the track at 11:30am for Race #1 Qualifying.

This time it was Kiko Porto, the 17 year old from Brazil, that picked up the pole position for DE Force Racing. He will start the race alongside his teammate Nolan Siegel, with Michael d’Orlando starting third.

Porto goes in to today’s 3:30pm Central Time race trailing 5th starting Yuven Sundaramoorthy by just 7 points (177-170). Spike Kohlbecker will start the race in 4th.

d’Orlando is tied for third in the points, with Christian Brooks, who will have to come from the 12th starting spot.

Porto has a win already this season on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Pos Car # Driver Best Time Diff Total Laps Fast Lap Team
1 12 Kiko Porto 2:10.7892 6 3 DEForce Racing
2 10 Nolan Siegel 2:11.0411 0.2519 5 2 DEForce Racing
3 4 Michael d’Orlando 2:11.2916 0.5024 6 3 Cape Motorsports
4 5 Spike Kohlbecker 2:11.3259 0.5367 5 2 Ignite Autosports w/Cape
5 22 Yuven Sundaramoorthy 2:11.3968 0.6076 5 2 Pabst Racing
6 11 Prescott Campbell 2:11.4094 0.6202 6 4 DEForce Racing
7 24 Josh Pierson 2:11.5483 0.7591 5 2 Pabst Racing
8 33 Josh Green 2:11.5819 0.7927 5 2 Turn 3 Motorsport
9 23 Jace Denmark 2:11.6630 0.8738 5 2 Pabst Racing
10 92 Matt Round-Garrido 2:11.7005 0.9113 7 6 Exclusive Autosport
11 6 Bijoy Garg 2:11.7744 0.9852 6 2 Jay Howard Driver
12 44 Christian Brooks 2:11.8479 1.0587 6 2 Exclusive Autosport
13 2 Thomas Nepveu 2:11.8565 1.0673 3 2 Cape Motorsports
14 34 Dylan Christie 2:11.9074 1.1182 5 3 Turn 3 Motorsport
15 1 Ely Navarro 2:12.1118 1.3226 6 3 DEForce Racing
16 19 Simon Sikes 2:12.1244 1.3352 7 4 Legacy Autosport
17 8 Jackson Lee 2:12.2632 1.4740 5 5 Jay Howard Driver
18 29 Erik Evans 2:12.3180 1.5288 7 4 Velocity Racing Development
19 99 Myles Rowe 2:12.3203 1.5311 6 3 Force Indy
20 63 Trey Burke 2:12.4888 1.6996 7 5 Joe Dooling Autosports
21 9 Peter Vodanovich 2:12.5592 1.7700 5 4 Jay Howard Driver
22 91 Billy Frazer 2:12.7529 1.9637 6 6 Exclusive Autosport
23 3 Evan Stamer 2:12.7715 1.9823 7 6 Ignite Autosports w/Cape
24 16 Kent Vaccaro 2:13.7131 2.9239 8 4 Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
25 42 Michael Myers 2:14.2880 3.4988 7 5 Michael Myers Racing

IndyPro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires took to the track at 9:45am, and Artem Petrov just bested his Exclusive Autosport teammate Braden Eves by 0.0333 of a second. Reece Gold was third quickest.

Point leader Christian Rasmussen was 5th quick, but is only 0.0849 off the fast time. In fact, the Top-5 are within a tenth of a second and 11 of the 12 cars here are within a single second. That’s amazingly close, especially for a 4.014 mile 14 Turn race course.

These same drivers will be back out at 1:45pm Central Time for their first qualifying session.

Pos Car # Driver Best Time Diff Total Laps Best Lap Gap Team
1 42 Artem Petrov 2:05.3626 8 6 0.000 Exclusive Autosport
2 91 Braden Eves 2:05.3959 0.0333 9 4 0.0333 Exclusive Autosport
3 55 Reece Gold 2:05.4019 0.0393 8 8 0.0060 Juncos Racing
4 22 Manuel Sulaiman 2:05.4268 0.0642 9 7 0.0249 Juncos Racing
5 1 Christian Rasmussen 2:05.4475 0.0849 6 4 0.0207 Jay Howard Driver Development
6 40 Jack William Miller 2:05.6263 0.2637 9 6 0.1788 Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
7 21 Kyffin Simpson 2:05.7644 0.4018 9 9 0.1381 Juncos Racing
8 51 Jacob Abel 2:05.8131 0.4505 9 7 0.0487 Abel Motorsports
9 3 James Roe 2:05.9182 0.5556 9 3 0.1051 Turn 3 Motorsport
10 18 Hunter McElrea 2:05.9571 0.5945 10 10 0.0389 Pabst Racing
11 5 Wyatt Brichacek 2:06.1943 0.8317 8 5 0.2372 Jay Howard Driver Development
12 11 Hunter Yeany 2:06.4782 1.1156 10 4 0.2839 Velocity Racing Development


The drivers in the incredibly tight Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires points battle made it’s way on to the track at 10:30am this morning, but it was 9th in the season standings Robert Megennis that topped the practice session over Alex Peroni and Toby Sowery.

Point Leader Linus Lundqvist was 7th quick. Trailing him by just a single point coming in to this weekend is David Malukus, who was 9th. Third (by 4 points) Kyle Kirkwood was 4th quickest.

The Indy Lights drivers will be back on the track at 2:30pm for their first qualifying session of the weekend.

Pos Car # Driver Best Time Diff Total Laps Fast Lap Team
1 27 Robert Megennis 1:56.0097 14 4 Andretti Autosport
2 5 Alex Peroni 1:56.2950 0.2853 8 5 Carlin
3 51 Toby Sowery 1:56.7138 0.7041 12 3 Juncos Racing
4 28 Kyle Kirkwood 1:57.0261 1.0164 14 3 Andretti Autosport
5 7 Christian Bogle 1:57.1973 1.1876 13 3 Carlin
6 17 Devlin DeFrancesco 1:57.3066 1.2969 12 3 Andretti Steinbrenner
7 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:57.3943 1.3846 14 10 Global Racing
8 68 Danial Frost 1:57.4236 1.4139 5 5 Andretti Autosport
9 79 David Malukas 1:57.6210 1.6113 14 7 HMD Motorsports
10 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:57.8748 1.8651 14 4 Juncos Racing
11 59 Nikita Lastochkin 1:57.9368 1.9271 16 7 HMD Motorsports
12 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:58.0628 2.0531 17 4 Global Racing
13 11 Antonio Serravalle 1:58.3118 2.3021 16 5 Pserra Racing

Linus Lundqvist to Make Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Debut with Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports

“FR Americas Champion moves to Road to Indy with eye on IndyCar”

Linus Lundqvist will make his Road to Indy debut as the third driver named to the Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports partnership

January 19, 2021 – Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports are excited to announce the third driver who will be joining the newly-formed partnership for the 2021 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Championship. Linus Lundqvist – reigning Formula Regional Americas Powered by Honda Champion and recipient of the first Honda Performance Development Indy Lights Scholarship – is set to join the field in a Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports entry and make his debut in the Road to Indy.
“We are thrilled to have Linus join Indy Lights in 2021 and happy that we can continue our working relationship,” explained GRG’s Christian Pedersen. “Linus has one goal, and we look forward to helping him achieve that. The partnership between Global Racing Group and HMD Motorsports solidifies the defined commitment for success and Linus will be part of a very strong four car driver lineup in the partnership.”
“Linus’ performance in 2020 was incredible,” added HMD Motorsports Owner Henry Malukas. “We are happy that he is racing in our program, and not against it.”
The 21-year-old Swedish driver made a massive impact in his first season racing in the United States. After claiming the BRDC British F3 Championship in 2018 and finishing fifth in the Euroformula Open in 2019, Lundqvist made the move over to the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda for the 2020 season – where he accomplished a nearly perfect season. Over the course of 17 races, Lundqvist and Global Racing Group earned 15 wins, 16 podiums, 16 pole positions, 14 fastest laps and set new track records at five of the six venues.
After claiming the FR Americas Championship, Lundqvist was presented with a scholarship from Honda Performance Development to help move him to the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires in Indy Lights. New to the Road to Indy program, Lundqvist will experience all new tracks [with the exception of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Barber Motorsports Park – which he competed on in FR Americas in 2020] in the 2021 season and will get his first taste of oval and street course action. This past season, Lundqvist conquered new and unfamiliar tracks each weekend and is looking to continue dominating new circuits in the upcoming season.
“Finally, able to announce my intentions for 2021 and shift my focus to race wins and the quest for the championship,” explained Lundqvist. “The partnership between Global Racing Group and HMD Motorsports has really formed a powerhouse program in the Road to Indy and their support together with Honda’s scholarship program has allowed me to put together what I believe to be the best possible foundation for a successful 2021”.
“HPD is pleased to support Linus in his next career move to Indy Lights with Global Racing Group,” added John Whiteman Commercial Motors Division Manager for HPD. “The intent of HPD and the F4 US and FR Americas series is to provide racers with an accessible platform to develop their skills and achieve their dreams. We look forward to watching Linus continue his success in the INDYCAR paddock.”
Lundqvist has already completed a two-day test at the Sebring International Raceway and will join Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports at a handful of private tests prior to making his Indy Lights debut in the 2021 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama over the April 9 – 11th weekend.
One additional driver announcement from HMD Motorsports will be communicated in the coming weeks.
To stay up to date with Global Racing Group, follow @GlobalRacingGroup on Instagram and @GRGInfo on Twitter and Facebook or visit Please be sure to also follow HMD Motorsports on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching @HMDMotorsports or visit

Roger Penske confirms commitment to Indy Lights – hints at possible involvement of INDYCAR teams

By Steve Wittich

Since TSO Ladder broke the news about the suspension of the 2020 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season, there have been numerous questions and concerns regarding the future of the series.

Off-the-record, TSO Ladder has been informed about a few possible positive initiatives between Penske Entertainment and Andersen Promotions, but we couldn’t get anybody to go public with it.

Thankfully, Mr. Penske took care of that for us by sharing one of those ideas with Jack Arute on his Brick by Brick radio show on SiriusXM. 

“We decided not to run Indy Lights this year,” explained Penske to the veteran Indy car broadcaster. “We only had six or seven cars that we thought might compete. And, we can’t be putting on a series with six or seven cars. I think that’s a detriment to the brand.

“We’re going to sit down with (Dan) Andersen and the teams that are competing, and we’re going to look at a new rule package, possibly even for (20)21. Each team that’s registered as a leaders circle team will provide at least one entry.”

“So, we can bring that back, and it will be a key part of our ladder series, where can bring these drivers up the ladder and into the Indy 500.”

Penske is not a stranger to the American Ladder system. His son Roger Penske, Jr. was a frequent visitor to Formula Super Vee (precursor series to Indy Lights) podium in the early 1980s, and the automotive magnate’s Penske Auto Centers were a regular sponsor of Clint and Casey Mears during their Indy Lights careers.

Roger Penske celebrates 2011 Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden’s second NTT INDYCAR® SERIES championship (Photo Courtesy of INDYCAR- Joe Skibinski)

Penske, who employs, 2011 Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden, understands the importance of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, saying:

“The new young drivers that have hit the pavement, (Colton) Herta has done a great job, and you’ve got two or three more coming this year. The continued route to Indy (Road To Indy) is very important with young drivers, and that will only make us stronger.”

BREAKING – Indy Lights suspended for the 2020 season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Catching up with Indy Lights silly season – an increased car count and some interesting names

By Steve Wittich

With 80 days remaining before the 2020 Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season officially gets started at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March, it’s a little early for us to be sending out a silly-season update.

However, the teams have been busy locking down drivers, so we thought it would be prudent to get you caught up with what has been going on.

Watch for updates for all three series over the next three days. First up is the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series.

The Indy Lights teams, along with Dan Andersen and Andersen Promotion staff, have been working hard to lower the budgets and increase the entries for the top rung of the Road To Indy.

The 2019 season had 22.8% more races contested by drivers over the first 17 races of the season (we used the first 17 race because the 2018 season had 17 races). TSO Ladder expects another notable increase in car count for the 2020 season. There is a high probability that at least a dozen drivers will start the season in St. Petersburg, and an outside chance that number could be as high as 15.

As far as teams go

Andretti Autosport’s J.F. Thorman has made it clear they are planning on entering four cars again in 2020 after dropping to a three-car program last year.

Belardi Auto Racing is expected to run a minimum of two cars, with three cars possible.

New entrant Exclusive Autosport is also expected to have a minimum of two cars, and team owner Michael Duncalfe did confirm that they could 100% run a third car.

HMD Motorsports, who had two tubs last year, purchased a third car in anticipation of expansion to field a trio of drivers.

Ricardo Juncos, the team owner at Juncos Racing, told TSO Ladder that a pair of cars and crew are ready to go and that he expects to be part of the series again in 2020.

Jay Howard Driver Development purchased a pair of IL-15s but is only expected to run an extensive test program next year in anticipation of entering the Indy Lights series in 2021.

One team that TSO Ladder does not expect back in the series is Carlin. The IL-15s that the Delray Beach, Fla. team were utilizing have been purchased by Exclusive Autosport and Jay Howard Driver Development.

As far as drivers go

The signed driver

At present, only David Malukas has been confirmed by a team. The 19-year-old, who had a pair of podiums last year will return with HMD Motorsports.

David Malukas didn’t test with HMD Motorsports at Sebring, but the 19-year-old was on hand to help Lindh and Serravalle get acclimated to the team. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“We are very happy to have David back in 2020,” explained HMD Motorsports Team Manager John Cummiskey. “2019 was a great learning year for David, and he was able to gather podium results in Austin as well as on the oval in St. Louis. Returning for 2020 with renewed focus, energy and experience by his side, David will be a contender for the series title as we head towards Laguna Seca next September.”

The multitude of unsigned drivers

Yes, we have an idea of where a few of these drivers mentioned below are headed and what teams they are talking with, but until deals are signed, we aren’t comfortable putting any deals in jeopardy. Also, we expect a few other unexpected names to pop up.

It would be surprising to see Robert Megennis, a 19-year-old New Yorker and a freshman at Fordham University, anywhere but back with Andretti Autosport. Especially, with a post Sebring International Raceway test statement like this.

“I’ve never done a second year in the same car before, and now I’m able to really work on pinpointing every little mistake and get better,” said Megennis. “And [team manager] Don Lambert is awesome, as is the whole team. I’ve done a full year with them now and we can just work on improving everything. They understand what I need to go fast, so it’s all working great.”

Robert Megennis on track at Sebring International Raceway in the familiar No. 27 Andretti Autosport IL-15 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Megennis, who won last year on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, drove four different cars – the Van Diemen\Elan DP08 & Tatuus USF-17 in USF2000, the PM-18 in Indy Pro 2000 and the Dallara IL-15 in Indy Lights – in his first four seasons of Road To Indy action.

One name that has been absent from the timesheets at the last two official tests is Lucas Kohl, but TSO does expect to see him on the Indy Lights grid in March. The Brazilian made the difficult jump from USF2000 to Indy Lights with Belardi Auto Racing last year. The 21-year-old made progress throughout the season, and it will be interesting to see how he fares if he chooses to do a second season with the Brownsburg, Ind. based team.

Toby Sowery, who contested the full 2019 Indy Lights season, winning once and collecting eight podiums with HMD Motorsports, is eager to return to this side of the Atlantic Ocean. The 23-year-old has been talking with several teams.

Reigning Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion Kyle Kirkwood sat out the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in October but was behind the wheel of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport machine during testing at Sebring last week. The Floridian finished the recent test at Sebring with the second quickest time in his first outing in an IL-15.

Rasmus Lindh, runner-up to Kirkwood in both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 the past two seasons, tested with Andretti Autosport during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test before sampling the No. 2 from the HMD Motorsports stable at Sebring. The 18-year-old from Sweden turned in the quickest time during that test for the Brownsburg, Ind. based team.

Rasmus Lindh led the most recent Indy Lights open test at Sebring International Raceway with HMD Motorsports (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)


Two-time Indy Pro 2000 winner Danial Frost tested at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test and Sebring open test for Andretti Autosport. The 18-year-old from Singapore also took part in a private test for Exclusive Autosport at Palm Beach International Raceway, the team he drove for during the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 season.

Link to Frost’s Instagram post

Nikita Lastochkin and Exclusive Autosport made their Indy Lights debut together in impressive fashion at Sebring during the series open test last week. The Russian driver and Canadian team ended the first day with the third quickest time. TSO expects this pairing to make the jump from Indy Pro 2000, where Lastochkin made 44 starts, together in 2020.

Nikita Lastochkin and Exclusive Autosport got their first taste of Indy Lights action together during Indy Lights testing at Sebring International Raceway. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Antonio Serravalle has contested 23 Indy Pro 2000 races with his family-run team over the past two seasons. The young Canadian was only a half-second off the top spot during the recent test at Sebring, impressing the HMD Motorsports team that provided him with a seat for the two-day test.

Another driver that impressed his team during the open test last week in Central Florida was third-generation driver Flinn Lazier. The Vail. Colo. native and winner of the 2019 SCCA run-offs in the Formula Atlantic class was testing with Belardi Auto Racing.

Andretti Autosport has introduced a pair of European trained drivers to the top level of the Road To Indy over the past two tests.

Egor Orudzhev, a Russian with an extensive racing background, including two wins and 22 podiums in three seasons of Formula Renault 3.5 Series action, tested with the team at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test. TSO Ladder has also heard that the SMP racing driver, who has been concentrating on sports car racing the past two years, is exploring NTT IndyCar Series options.

Nineteen-year-old Tristian Charpentier was behind the wheel for the team that has produced the last two Indy Lights champions during the Sebring test. The Frenchman ended the test as one of four Andretti Autosport that were all within two-tenths of a second in second to the fifth spot on the timing screens.

Tristian Charpentier testing with Andretti Autosport at Sebring International Raceway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Also, don’t rule out a return from a couple of former teammates and Indy Lights veterans. Aaron Telitz and Santi Urrutia are both rumored to be interested in, open to, and discussing with teams, another season of Indy Lights action

Belardi Auto Racing teammates Aaron Telitz and Santi Urrutia after sharing the podium together in the 2018 Indy Lights season finale at Portland International Raceway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Urrutia, who has eight series wins to go along with a pair of second place, and third place championship finishes has been talking with several teams about a return to the United States. The Uruguayan spent 2019 in Europe and finished in third in the TCR Europe Touring Car championship, his fifth straight season of racing in which he finished top three in the championship he was contesting.

Telitz has three wins, including a dominant win on the Streets Of Exhibition Place in Toronto last year, in two and a half seasons of Indy Lights action.

Another familiar name to long-time Road To Indy fans that has been sniffing around the paddock again is Tatiana Calderón. The Colombian contested the 2010 and 2011 Indy Pro 2000 (Star Mazda at that time) with Juncos Racing before moving to Europe. Last season, the 26-year-old took part in the FIA Formula 2 Championship as well as completing duties as a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Racing Formula One Squad.

Tatiana Calderon receives guidance from Juncos Racing technical director Ernie Gonella before scoring an Indy Pro 2000 (Star Mazda) podium at Barber Motorsports Park in 2011. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back with more Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires silly season coverage over the next few days

Lindh and HMD Motorsports lead Kirkwood and Andretti Autosport in final official Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires test of 2019

By Steve Wittich

Those of us that follow the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires carefully have spent an inordinate amount of time discussing the rivalry between newly minted NTT IndyCar Series drivers Oliver Askew and Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay). Maybe, it’s time to turn our focus to another pair of drivers that can’t seem to get away from each other. Kyle Kirkwood, who was testing with Andretti Autosport beat Rasmus Lindh (HMD Motorsports) to the USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 titles the past two seasons, but it’s the 18-year-old Lindh who got the jump in Indy Lights.

The Gothenburg, Sweden born driver ended the two-day test with a quick lap that was over two-tenths quicker than Kirkwood, who had the second-fastest lap.

Rasmus Lindh on track in the No. 2 HMD Motorsports machine at Sebring International Raceway during an Indy Lights test. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Note from Steve: With the full trash bin in the background, this is the most Sebring photo ever. It’s a legendary and awesome track, but it’s still located in Central Florida. 🙂

Kirkwood was the quickest of the four Andretti Autosport drivers, but not by much with only just over two-tenths of a second separating Kirkwood from Robert Megennis, Danial Frost, and Tristan Charpentier.

Antonio Serravalle (HMD Motorsports), Nikita Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport), and Flinn Lazier (Belardi Auto Racing), in their first Indy Lights tests, were all within eight-tenths of Lindh at the top of the timesheet.

“The second session, we were able to run the car hard and were pretty competitive with guys who have had a season of running the car behind them,” said Russian Lastochkin after the first day of testing. “The car is a beast – a fantastic car – really awesome! I’m enjoying every lap – learning how to drive it and adapting to more horsepower, and more downforce. As a driver, that is all you can ask for.”

Christian Bogle, who is only testing Indy Lights this year, was within 1.7 seconds of Lindh. A solid effort considering he is jumping from USF2000.

Andretti Autosport was the team to beat on the first day of the test with a trio of different drivers, each leading one of the three sessions.

Wednesday’s morning session saw three teams at the top of the timesheet. But, it Megennis, the only veteran testing, that lead the way early with a lap timed at 57.9455 seconds.

Test session #2 was led by reigning Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion Kirkwood. Danial Frost (Andretti Autosport), Megennis and Lastochkin were all within two-tenths of a second of Kirkwood’s quick lap of 57.2636 seconds.

The nine drivers turned a total of 523 laps during the two-hour test session #3. When the checkered flag flew, it was Frost with a lap of 56.8616 that was at the top of the timing sheet. Megennis, Lastochkin, and Lindh were within 0.07 seconds of Frost, making it four drivers who broke the 57-second mark on Wednesday.

Damp weather impacted the second day of the test, but before the track got slick, the HMD Motorsports duo of Lindh and Serravalle were able to put in a pair of quick laps that were separated by only three-hundredths of a second. Within one-tenth of them was Kirkwood, and within three-tenths were Road To Indy newcomer Charpentier and Frost.

The top seven in the Thursday morning session were separated by less than five-tenths of a second.

The fifth and final session on Thursday afternoon began with rain and a wet track but ended the two-hour session with a dry and blazingly fast 1.67-mile, 11-turn Sebring International Club Course.

Once again, it was Lindh and HMD Motorsports that led the way. The Swedish driver was the only pilot to break the 56-second barrier with his quickest lap timed at 55.9580 seconds.

All nine drivers set their quickest times in the fifth and final session.

Combined time sheet Sebring International Raceway Indy Lights test

1 2 Rasmus Lindh HMD Motorsports 55.958 –.—- 132
2 28 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 56.174 0.2156 147
3 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 56.307 0.3494 151
4 68 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport 56.380 0.4220 152
5 98 Tristian Charpentier Andretti Autosport 56.389 0.4313 145
6 79 Antonio Serravalle HMD Motorsports 56.525 0.5666 165
7 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 56.762 0.8040 142
8 4 Flinn Lazier Belardi Auto Racing 56.830 0.8719 192
9 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 57.718 1.7596 130

Teams will be conducting plenty of private testing, but that’s it for official Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action until the annual spring training visit to the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course scheduled for March 7-9, 2020.

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TSO Ladder previews the final Road To Indy action of the year. Nine Indy Lights drivers will head to Sebring International Raceway

By Steve Wittich

The final official Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action of the 2019 season gets underway Wednesday, December 11, for two days of testing on the 1.8-mile, 11-turn Sebring International Club Course.

The ‘short course’ is often utilized by NTT IndyCar Series teams to simulate a street circuit. The circuit with the Hairpin Turn, Cunningham Corner, Tower Turn, and Gurney Bend features several 90-degree turns, surface changes, and bumps.

The nine entered Indy Lights drivers will share the track with Global MX-5 Cup series and will have just under 8-hours of track time spread over Wednesday and Thursday.

The lone returnee from the 2019 Indy Lights field is Andretti Autosport’s Robert Megennis. The Road To Indy veteran from New York City finished his rookie campaign in fifth place on the championship table, winning once at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and standing on the podium a total of six times.

Megennis will be joined at Andretti Autosport by one newcomer and a pair of drivers familiar to Road To Indy fans.

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion, will be joined by fellow Indy Pro 2000 race winner Danial Frost. Kirkwood skipped the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in October, while 18-year-old Frost turned 130 laps with the Indianapolis, Ind. based team.

Joining the three drivers who raced in the U.S.A. in 2019, is Frenchman Tristan Charpentier. The 19-year-old has extensive open-wheel experience, including Championnat de France F4 (one win and six podiums), BRDC British F3 (two podiums), and one start in Super Formula.

Third-generation racer Flinn Lazier is slated to be behind the wheel of lone test entry for Belardi Auto Racing. The 20-year-old has some Road To Indy experience, making a pair of starts at Barber Motorsports Park in USF2000 in 2017 and taking part in the 2019 Chris Griffis Memorial Test in Indy Pro 2000 with Abel Motorsports.

Lazier, a native of Vail, Colo. is not short on other open-wheel experience joining his grandfather Bob as a Formula B/Atlantic champion at the SCCA Runoffs, winning at Virginia International Raceway in October. The elder Lazier won the 1971 Formula B championship at Road Atlanta.

Road To Indy stalwarts Rasmus Lindh and Antonio Serravalle will be piloting a pair of AER powered IL-15s for HMD Motorsports during the two days of testing in central Florida. The Brownsburg, Ind. based team has plans to run three cars during the 2020 season, including the already signed David Malukas.

The team is still working to build up a third car, so Malukas will sit out this test. The just-turned 18-year-old will be on hand to help the team and drivers.

Lindh, an 18-year-old tested with Andretti Autosport during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test. The Gothenburg, Sweeden native, is coming off his second straight runner-up finish in the Road To Indy, finishing behind Kyle Kirkwood for the second straight season.

Serravalle, still only 17-years-old, has a pair of top-five Indy Pro 2000 finishes while contesting a season and a half with a family-run team.

“It’s pretty exciting to have this opportunity and with a quality team such as HMD Motorsports,” explained Canadian Serravalle. “They were arguably the turnaround team of 2019 and made a huge impression during the latter stages of the season. They have hired a pair of high-quality engineers, and I am confident they will help me get up to speed. This will be my maiden voyage in an Indy Lights car, so I will be looking to get up to speed as quickly as possible on Wednesday of next week and then push the limits more on Thursday.”

Exclusive Autosport makes it’s official Indy Lights debut at the two-day test with Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires veteran Nikita Lastochkin. The 29-year-old Russian has made 75 starts across the USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 series. The Russian born Los Angeles, Calif. resident has a pair of podiums and 16 top-five finishes in his five seasons of competition.

The Canadian team that is based in Brownsburg, Ind. has a second IL-15 and is planning on being a two-car program. The second car will be part of a private test at Palm Beach International Raceway later in the week.

Christian Bogle and Jay Howard Driver Development will once again be contesting the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship together in 2020. The Westfield, Ind. based team helmed by 2006 Indy Lights champion Jay Howard purchased a pair of Indy Lights chassis during the off-season. To increase his seat-time, the Covington, La. based driver will be turning as many laps as possible at Indy Lights tests to improve his skills.

“I am super excited to be able to have the opportunity to test an Indy Lights car!” said an excited 19-year-old Bogle. “Coming from F4 and USF2000, it will be a pretty large jump, but I’m sure it will be one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done to date! With the additional testing in Indy Lights, I’m hoping to see that help my performances in F4 and USF2000.”

Juncos Racing does not have any drivers entered in the test. TSO Ladder was able to check in with team owner Ricardo Juncos. He told us that the cars and crew are ready and that he expects to be part of the series again in 2020.

We’ll be back after the test with a recap.

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