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.
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.”