Archives for 2022 Indy Lights Coverage

Monterey GP Indy Lights race two notes






Time for the final Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race – and with Firestone stepping in next season, this is Cooper Tires’ last day with the series.

In late 2013, Andersen Promotions took over management of the series (though INDYCAR retained ownership), and from 2014 to 2021 all three Road to Indy series (the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights) rode on Cooper Tires. Cooper’s director of motorsports, Chris Pantani, has worked tirelessly to promote the Road to Indy – and all the drivers who graduated to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. INDYCAR took Indy Lights back in house this season and announced that the series would run on Firestone tires beginning in 2023.

The series championship was decided yesterday, with Linus Lundqvist finally securing the title. But two through five in the final standings is up for grabs.

First – the points:

1 Linus Lundqvist 543 Back
2 Sting Ray Robb 443 100
3 Hunter McElrea – R 436 107
4 Matthew Brabham 436 107
5 Benjamin Pedersen 415 128
6 Christian Rasmussen – R 386 157
7 Danial Frost 356 187
8 Jacob Abel – R 325 218
9 Kyffin Simpson – R 294 249
10 Ernie Francis Jr – R 282 256

Second – the season finale starting lineup:

SP Car Driver Name Time

1 28 Rasmussen, Christian (R) 01:15.3618

2 26 Lundqvist, Linus 01:15.3788

3 2 Robb, Sting Ray 01:15.5028

4 24 Pedersen, Benjamin 01:15.6120

5 83 Brabham, Matthew 01:15.6536

6 68 Frost, Danial 01:15.7075

7 99 Francis Jr., Ernie (R) 01:15.8729

8 51 Abel, Jacob (R) 01:15.9349

9 27 McElrea, Hunter (R) 01:16.3453

10 21 Simpson, Kyffin (R) 01:16.4406

11 11 Siegel, Nolan (R) 01:16.5671

12 7 Bogle, Christian 01:16.6484

13 15 Lazier, Flinn (R) 01:16.8634

Sting Ray Robb took a dominant victory from pole yesterday – can he get back to the front today? With two of the series most assertive drivers – Rasmussen and Lundqvist – on the front row, it’s going to be a very interesting turn one.

Green flag at 10:00 a.m.

Rasmussen with the early jump with Lundqvist hanging on the outside, with Robb putting a nose inside Lundqvist but thinking better of it in turn two.

Brabham makes a feint in turn three but slots back into fifth.

McElrea all over Ernie Francis Jr. for eighth – McElrea is third in points, hoping to get to second as he looks to 2023.

Robb makes the pass on Lundqvist on the inside in turn nine.

Penalty on Francis for avoidable contact with McElrea, required to give McElrea eighth position.

Brabham by Lundqvist in the Corkscrew – looked like brief wheel-to-wheel contact between the two. Brabham goes over the kerbs in eight and shoves Lundqvist over the kerbs in turn nine.

Andretti 1-2-3 – and the top three are all former Indy Pro 2000 champs.

Robb packing five-tenths of a second quicker than Rasmussen on lap six, Rasmussen three-tenths quicker on lap seven.

Nolan Siegel and Kyffin Simpson in a battle of the 17-year-olds. Siegel doing a nice job in his series debut weekend.

Top four evenly spaced, so the Siegel/Simpson battle really the only one on track.

Jagger Jones in the booth with Kevin Lee and Charlie Kimball – Jones (grandson of Parnelli) will join Cape Motorsports, moving up to Indy Lights from USF2000 in 2023.

“We’ve seen the talent here (in Indy Lights) and we’ve seen what they’ve done in INDYCAR. This is the place to be,” said Jones.

“We had a few minutes to celebrate last night but Henry (Malukas, team owner) will throw us a party after this,” championship-winning HMD Motorsports team manager AJ Smith tells Georgia Henneberry.

Tire management is critical in this 35-lap race as we hit the halfway point – lap times starting to go up, over five-tenths of a second now.

Robb with the fastest race lap so far – back on lap four.

Benjamin Pedersen with a big off in turn 6, allowing Jacob Abel to get past in turn eight for fifth position.

McElrea reports to pit lane that his push-to-pass system is not working – team answers that the telemetry is working on pit lane.

Rasmussen with a two-car length lead on Robb, with Brabham another eight car lengths back.

Brabham puts four wheels into the dirt between turns four and five.

As the laps wind down, is Robb content with second on track and in the final point standings, or will he make a move?

Simpson spins in turn two and continues.

Checkered flag and the second win of the year for Christian Rasmussen.

P No Name Laps FL FTime Team
1 28 Christian Rasmussen 35 10 1:18.4480 Andretti Autosport
2 2 Sting Ray Robb 35 4 1:18.3304 Andretti Autosport
3 83 Matthew Brabham 35 5 1:18.4620 Andretti Autosport
4 26 Linus Lundqvist 35 8 1:18.6817 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
5 51 Jacob Abel 35 11 1:19.0546 Abel Motorsports
6 24 Benjamin Pedersen 35 11 1:18.8426 Global Racing Group with HMD
7 68 Danial Frost 35 12 1:19.1314 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
8 27 Hunter McElrea 35 11 1:18.9633 Andretti Autosport
9 11 Nolan Siegel 35 6 1:19.5782 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
10 7 Christian Bogle 35 8 1:19.4563 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
11 15 Flinn Lazier 35 13 1:19.4503 Abel Motorsports
12 99 Ernie Francis Jr.* 35 7 1:19.4021 Force Indy
13 21 Kyffin Simpson* 35 6 1:19.5863 HMD Motorsports

* Francis, Jr. receives a post-race penalty for avoidable contact, will move to 13th behind Simpson.

And a very nice set of donuts from series champion Linus Lundqvist.

Andretti Autosport’s Hunter McElrea wins rookie of the year honors.

Christian Rasmussen: “That was an awesome way to end the season. It’s been a tough one for us so to end on a high note is awesome. Good job to Andretti Autosports, they put a great car under me all weekend.

“The start was the most nerve-wracking part, especially knowing Sting Ray had the better car. I was excited to get the pole position yesterday, qualifying has been tough for me to figure out, so second yesterday, the pole and the win today is awesome. It’s all about getting better and better and we developed a lot this year. I’m a different driver than I was then and that’s what this series is all about. I’m happy with my progression this year, Andretti Autosport has helped me so much this year. I’m looking to come back to Indy Lights next year so I hope I can keep the momentum and go for the championship.”

Sting Ray Robb: “I don’t think I did as good a job as yesterday saving the rear tires. Once I got into Christian’s aerowash, it felt like I was on ice. I was happy with my pass on Linus – I don’t know if he saw me coming. I made too many mistakes early on and didn’t have anything for Christian but to see another all-Andretti podium sweep and finish second in the championship is great. We were getting better and better every race and eight podiums speak to our consistency.”

Matthew Brabham: “It was one of the most fun races I’ve had. A few passes in the Corkscrew, it was a lot of fun. It was a great year, hats off to the entire team. We worked so well together as a team – they’re like family to me. We’ve all stolen points off each other but the team gave us great cars. Unbeatable in the second half of the year.”

Unofficial Final Top Five Points:

1 Linus Lundqvist 575
2 Sting Ray Robb 483 92
3 Hunter McElrea – R 460 115
4 Matthew Brabham 471 104
5 Benjamin Pedersen 443 132


Indy Lights race one quotes, with championship

By Diane Swintal

Quick quotes from the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires podium – Sting Ray Robb takes his first series win while Linus Lundqvist finally secures the championship title.


Sting Ray Robb: “It was great to get the win today, but there’s one more tomorrow. They were telling me to save the tires – and in reality, I was. The car was just that hooked up. It’s reminiscent of 2019, when I gave the Indy Pro 2000 win to Kyle Kirkwood (spinning off course from the lead late in the race), but we learn from our mistakes. I was worried after practice yesterday, that we were off pace, and we had a gearbox issue as well. Today was a totally different kind of day so we took Kirkwood’s winning setup from last year and made a change just before the race to address tire deg but you never know. This track changes so much. We’ll watch INDYCAR quali, we can learn a lot from the big cars.

“We have a big group of family and friends here today so it’s good to have the “local” support. And they must be good luck!”

Christian Rasmussen: “I knew it would happen at the start, or at the very end. I had the calculations on how late I could brake but unfortunately, we got hit. Sting Ray was super quick, I don’t think we could have gotten him. Lesson learned about tire deg – we knew it would be big, didn’t know it would be that big. We’ll see how we can manage that tomorrow.”

Hunter McElrea: “It was an interesting day. Qualifying was a disaster. We’re in a three-way battle for second in points and that doesn’t help. I was still mad at the start and I just threw it in there and came out third. That was one of the most challenging driving races I’ve had, hanging on for dear life. Starting ninth tomorrow but anything can happen. We’ll definitely go in a different direction with setup.”

Linus Lundqvist: “This is difficult to put into words. I thought I had my emotions under control, but I was clearly wrong. Once we crossed the checkered flag, I realized what I had done. It’s been a long journey, proud of where we are and the people we’ve gotten here with. We waited to celebrate until after the race – we wanted to do well in the race! It wasn’t the best race for us, which was annoying – at least until I passed the start/finish line and saw the team on the wall.

“We have a race tomorrow, so not too much celebrating, but tomorrow will be a proper celebration.

Henry Malukas: “This is pure excitement. HMD has been in this series for two years and I can’t take any credit – we have an amazing group. Linus is a true champion, I’m so glad he came back this year so we could show what we can do as a team. There’s more to come.

“We’ve talked about next year, it would be cool to see him with David, they would push each other just like they did last year in Indy Lights. It’s possible.”

Malukas did confirm that the team is considering a solo NTT INDYCAR SERIES effort, but that is in the future, not 2023.

Daiva Malukas: “I’m extremely happy for Linus and for the team – they worked so hard. It’s so exciting.”

Mike Maurini: “To go against Andretti Autosport is great – they have more resources than we currently have but we’re working to change that. Thanks to Henry and Daiva and to the entire team.”

Maurini confirmed eight Indy Lights cars in the team, including some rookies and “some surprises.”


Photo Credit: Mattias Persson / Motorsport Publication

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Race #1

By Patrick Stephan

The penultimate round of the 2022 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season starts with Sting Ray Robb on the pole and his Andretti Autosport teammate Christian Rasmussen alongside. Pedersen, McElrea and soon to be 2022 champion Linus Lundqvist round out the Top-5 starters.

On the pace lap, Kyffin Simpson spins at I believe was Turn 4. He is able to get back on the dusty, slick track surface and get in to position for the start.

Flinn Lazier who had qualified 12th, has an issue getting off pit lane and stalls at the top of the hill at the exit of the pits. He rolls the car backwards on to pit lane, the AMR INDYCAR Safety team has come to his aid and he is trying to get his car started in time to take the green this time by.

The field packs up coming down the hill from the corkscrew, and the green flag waves on what is actually Lap 2.

Robb on the inside is half a car length back at Turn 2 (the Andretti Hairpin), but he uses the better line to keep Rasumussen at bay and leads exiting the turn.  Kyffin Simpson cuts the corkscrew on the initial green flag lap – telling his team he was pushed off by Danial Frost.

The order at the end of Lap 2 is Robb, Rasmussen, Hunter McElrea, Jacob Abel, Benjamin Pedersen and Linus Lundqvist who I believe locked up the title by taking the green.

At the end of Lap, Robb is already up to a 1.9 second lead over Rasmussen.

Lap 4 and Danial Frost passes Nolan Siegel for 7th as everyone except Siegel sets their fastest lap of the race on this lap. Clearly the grip level is still improving, but drivers are also already thinking of conserving their tires on this high degradation track.

Robb is out to a 2.78 second second lead on Lap 5.  NOTE: Flinn Lazier is still on pit lane with the Abel Motorsports team working on the left rear – possibly a half shaft or something of that nature.  A disappointment for sure as he got in to an accident on Lap 1 at Portland and so far hasn’t turned any race laps here at Laguna Seca.  It was later confirmed that yes, he broke a half shaft. Lazier would join the even 8 laps down just to get some laps in and prepare for tomorrow’s finale.

The closest battles on the track at this point is Jacob Abel trying to hold off Benjamin Pedersen for 4th place.

Nolan Sigel in 8th is also under a lot of pressure Matthew Brabham for 8th, with Bogle, Simpson and Francis also closely following.

Brabham is looking for a place to pass, and gets it down with an over under crossover at Turn 2. Siegel, the 17 year old making is first Lights appearance, had taken the inside inside line, but couldn’t pinch it down enough to keep it on the line in the center. When Siegel slid a little wide on exit, Brabham was right there to take the position and quickly set sail for Danial Frost in 7th.

Lap 11, and the lead for Robb over Rasmussen is 4.17, and it’s 2.5 further back to McElrea another 4.3 to Abel in fourth.

It gets tighter there as Pedersen is just a couple car lengths back in 5th.

On Lap 15, Kyffin Simpson spins at the top of the corkscrew and then slides down the hill off to the left of the racing line, but still on the track. He is able to get the car pointed the right direction and roll down the hill and rejoin the race.

With 15 of the 35 laps completed, Robb leads by 4.7 over Rasmussen and it still be warned to keep managing his tires. Ernie Francis, Jr., down in 11th turns his quickest lap of the race on Lap 15 with a 1:18.6. Robb up front in clear air has the quickest lap of the race himself at 1:16.7720 – which he did on Lap 5.

After that spin, Simpson is posting his quickest laps of the race with Lap 18 being a 1:18.3106…note that Flinn Lazier is also making his quickest laps now at 1:18.5627.

Christian Bogle gets by Nolan Siegel for 9th on Lap 19, and Siegel is now under a lot of pressure by Ernie Francis, Jr., who two laps in a row has nearly hit Siegel’s attenuator.

Up front, Robb is still extending his lead, now up to 6.6 seconds, McElrea, Abel, Pedersen and Lundqvist round out the Top-6. Frost, Brabham, Bogle, Siegel, Francis, Jr., Simpson and Lazier complete the 13 car field.

With 10 laps to go, Robb leads now by 9.27 over Rasmussen, McElrea, Abel, Pedersen and Lundqvist.

5 Laps to go and Robb continues to lead by 9.4 seconds, with the rest of the field also remaining static.

We could see some action for 5th – 8th, as Lundqvist is 1.3 behind Pedersen and Frost and Brabham are also around a second back of each other.

The drivers are still hustling the cars as we come in to the final three laps. We’ve seen several wheels dropped off in the dirt, and driver’s locking tires entering the corkscrew.

Sting Ray Robb continues to expand his lead, taking the white flag 10.8 seconds ahead.

Checkered flag – Sting Ray Robb wins by 11.0674, his first career Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires. On pit lane, we see team owner Michael Andretti congratulating the Robb family. This is Robb’s seventh career podium.  It moves him to 2nd in the points, 100 behind Lunqvist, but 7 ahead of McElrea and Brabham – unofficially of course.

Unofficial Results IndyLights presented by Cooper Tires – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Race #1

Pos Car # Driver Laps Diff ST Status Team
1 2 Sting Ray Robb 35 LAP 35 1 Active Andretti Autosport
2 28 Christian Rasmussen 35 11.0674 2 Active Andretti Autosport
3 27 Hunter McElrea 35 19.2306 4 Active Andretti Autosport
4 51 Jacob Abel 35 20.1513 7 Active Abel Motorsports
5 24 Benjamin Pedersen 35 24.5887 3 Active Global Racing Group with HMD
6 26 Linus Lundqvist 35 27.6857 5 Active HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
7 68 Danial Frost 35 28.1225 6 Active HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
8 83 Matthew Brabham 35 28.7642 13 Active Andretti Autosport
9 7 Christian Bogle 35 45.2572 11 Active HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
10 11 Nolan Siegel 35 55.7876 9 Active HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
11 99 Ernie Francis Jr. 35 56.3358 10 Active Force Indy
12 21 Kyffin Simpson 35 57.1577 8 Active HMD Motorsports
13 15 Flinn Lazier 28 7 LAPS 12 Active Abel Motorsports

Monterey GP Indy Lights qualifying Notes


What a difference a day makes – yesterday’s heat is gone, replaced first by a few drops of rain (creeping north from Hurricane Kay, which made landfall in Southern California yesterday before breaking apart) and then by the thick marine layer that is so typical of the Monterey Bay area.

Temperate is 61F, track temps are 71F. The marine layer is making the air quite heavy.

Reminder – there will be two 12-minute qualifying sessions, with a six-minute break in between. The first session will set the grid for race one later today, the second session sets the grid for tomorrow’s season finale.

Started with a brief hold for a line of oil in turn 10 that track workers and the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team needed to finish cleaning up before the green flag.

Race one qualifying

As the drivers all complete their first lap, it’s Linus Lundqvist to the top of the charts with a lap at 1:24.4341.

Benjamin Pedersen with the fastest lap two, at 1:18.8885.

Christian Rasmussen and Matthew Brabham headed out of pit lane with seven minutes remaining.

Christian Bogle spun in turn eight and continued – but received a penalty for causing a yellow flag and impacting another driver’s qualifying effort. Bogle will lose his two quick qualifying laps from this session.

Pedersen remains on top, but Sting Ray Robb posts a lap just 1/100th of a second behind, with Lundqvist third.

Lundqvist through the dirt in turn 10.

Brabham with a big rear wiggle going through turn 10.

Robb with the quick lap at the checkered flag, with a lap at 1:15.7209. Rasmussen second, Pedersen third.

This is Robb’s second pole of the year (first pole was at Road America).

Sting Ray Robb: “That was a good lap. Starting position is so important here if you’re going to go for the win. We saw massive tire deg yesterday so hopefully, it won’t be as bad today. We’ll do our best to stay up front.”

P No Name FTime Team
1 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:15.7209 Andretti Autosport
2 28 Christian Rasmussen 1:15.7976 Andretti Autosport
3 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:15.8297 Global Racing Group with HMD
4 27 Hunter McElrea 1:15.9300 Andretti Autosport
5 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:16.0549 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
6 83 Matthew Brabham 1:16.1377 Andretti Autosport
7 68 Danial Frost 1:16.3295 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
8 51 Jacob Abel 1:16.4801 Abel Motorsports
9 21 Kyffin Simpson 1:16.5339 HMD Motorsports
10 11 Nolan Siegel 1:16.7499 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
11 99 Ernie Francis Jr. 1:16.9470 Force Indy
12 15 Flinn Lazier 1:17.2277 Abel Motorsports
13 7 Christian Bogle 1:18.5105 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing

Race two qualifying

Flinn Lazier will serve a five-minute hold in pit lane for running the checkered flag at the end of the previous session.

Matthew Brabham also received a penalty that voids his times from session one. Per INDYCAR:

The driver was in violation of Rule 14.30.4. of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires rulebook. The rule involves Driver Equivalency Weight.

According to Rule, the penalty can include a minimum $100,000 fine and/or other penalties. Brabham’s qualification laps for Race 1 have been voided and the driver will start in the final position of the 13-car field.

Nolan Siegel with the fastest first lap in the field at 1:22.7268, with Kyffin Simpson and Ernie Francis Jr. right behind. His second lap at 1:18.0377 keeps him on top.

McElrea and Siegel side by side through turn two – and those moves are under review by race control. McElrea receives a penalty for qualifying interference, losing his two quick laps.

The rest of the top six in points joining McElrea on track now.

Francis Jr. with the quick time of 1:15.8729 with four minutes remaining.

Race control reviewing an incident between Robb and Simpson.

Lundqvist to the top with a 1:15.3788 with 2:30 remaining.

Plenty of drivers putting wheels off between four and five, plenty of dirt on the racetrack now.

Robb with a lap of 1:15.3783 – that’s a whopping 5/10,000th of a second difference.

At the checkered flag, Christian Rasmussen grabs the pole with a lap at 1:15.3618, with Robb and Lundqvist second and third.

This is Rasmussen’s first Indy Lights pole position.

Christian Rasmussen: “It’s been so long! We had a great car underneath us – we made some good changes overnight so I’m very happy. I can’t thank Bob Stellrecht and everyone at Andretti Autosport enough.”

P No Name FTime Team
1 28 Christian Rasmussen 1:15.3618 Andretti Autosport
2 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:15.3788 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
3 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:15.5028 Andretti Autosport
4 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:15.6120 Global Racing Group with HMD
5 83 Matthew Brabham 1:15.6536 Andretti Autosport
6 68 Danial Frost 1:15.7075 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
7 99 Ernie Francis Jr. 1:15.8729 Force Indy
8 51 Jacob Abel 1:15.9349 Abel Motorsports
9 27 Hunter McElrea 1:16.3453 Andretti Autosport
10 21 Kyffin Simpson 1:16.4406 HMD Motorsports
11 11 Nolan Siegel 1:16.5671 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
12 7 Christian Bogle 1:16.6484 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
13 15 Flinn Lazier 1:16.8634 Abel Motorsports

Race one takes the green flag today at 12:25 p.m. Pacific / 3:25 p.m. Eastern.

WRLS Indy Lights practice report


By Diane Swintal

Ask anyone about WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and one of the first things they will tell you is “bring a sweater.”

The cold morning fog on the Monterey Peninsula is legendary – similar to the San Francisco Bay area, which prompted the legendary quote often attributed to Mark Twain: “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

That is not the case this weekend.

The weather is a story

With the entire West Coast enduring the second week of a significant heat wave, the ambient temperatures sit at 85F with track temps of 110F, under blazing sunshine. The forecast was for 79F as a high, and we cleared that at noon.

It’s a fairly light schedule this weekend, relatively speaking, with the Road to Indy having finished the USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 series schedules last weekend in Portland. This weekend, it’s the doubleheader Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and NTT INDYCAR SERIES finales (along with the US Touring Car Championship and Spec Racer Ford series).

The championship

The INDYCAR championship title is up for grabs – but the Indy Lights title is not. All Linus Lundqvist needs to do is start today’s practice session to seal the deal on his championship victory. Where he goes in 2023 remains to be seen, but the 23-year-old Swede hopes to join his mentors Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist behind the wheel of an Indy car very soon.

But first things first. Clearly, Lundqvist would like to add to his five-win tally this season, and his nine podiums – as well as add to his history at WRLS, where he scored two podium finishes in last year’s Indy Lights doubleheader.

Second through fifth is still up for grabs – points as we start the weekend:

1 Linus Lundqvist 515
2 Matthew Brabham 412 103
3 Hunter McElrea – R 401 114
4 Sting Ray Robb 389 126
5 Benjamin Pedersen 385 130

The future

It’s been a good news week for Indy Lights, with Nolan Siegel his debut with HMD Motorsports this weekend. Siegel, 17, has won races in both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000. And Cape Motorsports – moving up the ladder from USF2000 to Indy Lights in 2023 – announced that Jagger Jones (grandson of Parnelli) will also make the jump next year. Indy Pro 2000 champ Louis Foster has not yet announced where he will run in 2023 but the announcement is expected any day now.

Past WRLS / Road to Indy results

Christian Rasmussen won a USF2000 race here in 2019, with McElrea second. Sting Ray Robb scored an Indy Pro 2000 podium here that same year.

Onto the task at hand, with a one-hour practice session

Green flag at 1:20 p.m. Pacific.

Frenzied first 20 minutes of the session, outlined below:

Lundqvist with the fast out lap, bested by Jacob Abel with the first lap under 1:24 (1:23.2839).

Frost set a quick time, but Abel bested that, only to be topped by Mathew Brabham with the first sub-1:20 lap (1:19.9636).

Hunter McElrea, Lundqvist and Benjamin Pedersen each set quick laps in succession, also then bested by Brabham.

Christian Rasmussen went to the top of the charts with 42 minutes remaining.

Pedersen with the first sub 1:18 lap (1:17.8211) immediately bested by Lundqvist (1:17.6920), then Brabham (1:17.5963).

25 minutes in and less than two seconds separates the entire field.

At the halfway mark, Brabham leads Pedersen, McElrea, Lundqvist and Frost.

Red flag for Christian Bogle in the tires in turn six with 28 minutes remaining.

Green flag with 21:38 remaining.

For those of you playing at home, the term “tire deg” made it’s first appearance on IndyCar Radio 46 minutes into the first session of the weekend – tire degradation will be a storyline for both the Cooper and the Firestone tires.

Impressive first practice for Siegel, pacing only 8/10s of a second back of Brabham (1:18.3500) and setting the fastest sector one time.

With 10 minutes remaining, much of the field comes into pit lane for fresh Cooper Tires.

Speaking of impressive – Siegel goes to the top of the charts with a 1:16.9746, but  30 seconds later, Lundqvist puts down a huge lap – 1:16.2159 with six minutes left.

Robb stopped at the end of pit road, red flag with 5:35 remaining. The AMR INDYCAR Safety team on the scene, race control hopes to get Robb moved in order to give the drivers a couple more laps.

Unfortunately, Robb is apparently stuck in first gear, so it requires a wrecker to remove the car, which the track wrecker does in short order (though the team cannot have enjoyed seeing the car dangling precariously as the wrecker hauled it off the racetrack).

Green flag with just enough time for an out-and-in to check setups ahead of qualifying at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey – Practice

Time Remaining: 1

CHECKERED FLAG at 14:10:01.
P No Name FTime Laps FL Speed FSpeed Team
1 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:16.2159 21 19 93.370 105.710 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
2 11 Nolan Siegel 1:16.9746 23 21 92.308 104.668 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
3 83 Matthew Brabham 1:17.5963 24 7 25.128 103.830 Andretti Autosport
4 68 Danial Frost 1:17.6377 18 17 85.561 103.774 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
5 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:17.6575 20 7 94.680 103.748 Global Racing Group with HMD
6 27 Hunter McElrea 1:17.6766 23 8 22.636 103.722 Andretti Autosport
7 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:17.8489 20 6 101.659 103.493 Andretti Autosport
8 28 Christian Rasmussen 1:18.0961 19 4 22.302 103.165 Andretti Autosport
9 51 Jacob Abel 1:18.3493 20 14 24.868 102.832 Abel Motorsports
10 99 Ernie Francis Jr. 1:18.4121 24 17 22.244 102.749 Force Indy
11 21 Kyffin Simpson 1:18.4466 21 20 96.183 102.704 HMD Motorsports
12 7 Christian Bogle 1:18.4940 10 7 102.305 102.642 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
13 15 Flinn Lazier 1:18.9610 22 15 100.862 102.035 Abel Motorsports



Portland Indy Lights Race Report!

By Diane Swintal

Ambient temperature is 70F, track temps are 87.4.

HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing’s Linus Lundqvist will start fourth in today’s race, looking to clinch the championship now, rather than waiting until next weekend’s pair of races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

We won’t take you through all the permutationssuffice it to say that if he has a 109-point lead at the checkered flag, he clinches the title (54 points are the most each driver can secure in the race).

Lundqvist is being understandable cagey about his plans for 2023. INDYCAR has not disclosed the exact amount of the scholarship, but it is understood to guarantee three NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, including the chance to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

Global Racing Group’s Benjamin Pedersen – who earned his first Indy Lights pole yesterday – is also rumored to be moving up to INDYCAR next year.

As for drivers who know what they’re doing in 2023, Hunter McElrea announced earlier in the weekend that he will return to Andretti Autosport in 2023. Louis Foster will be racing in Indy Lights next year as well, having won the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires on Friday which earns him a scholarship valued at nearly $615,000 toward a 2023 Indy Lights ride. Foster is expected to announce next week the team he will drive for.

Speaking of drivers moving up the Road to Indy ladder – Reece Gold, second in the Indy Pro 2000 title chase, is expected to announce that he will join his Juncos Hollinger Racing team as they return to Indy Lights next year. Several other Indy Pro 2000 drivers, including Salvador de Alba and Nolan Siegel, have indicated their interest in moving up as well. With 2022 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship winners Cape Motorsports having announced its move to Indy Lights next year, it looks like a very much needed expansion of the Indy Lights grid is on its way.

But first, today’s race – 35 laps or 55 minutes in length. Here’s the qualifying grid, position, car number in parentheses, driver, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (24) Benjamin Pedersen, 01:03.6698 (111.048)
2. (68) Danial Frost, 01:03.7830 (110.851)
3. (28) Christian Rasmussen, 01:03.8546 (110.727)
4. (26) Linus Lundqvist, 01:03.8606 (110.716)
5. (2) Sting Ray Robb, 01:03.9390 (110.580)
6. (83) Matthew Brabham, 01:04.2610 (110.026)
7. (27) Hunter McElrea, 01:04.2678 (110.015)
8. (51) Jacob Abel, 01:04.2698 (110.011)
9. (99) Ernie Francis Jr., 01:04.3912 (109.804)
10. (21) Kyffin Simpson, 01:04.4322 (109.734)
11. (7) Christian Bogle, 01:04.5431 (109.545)
12. (15) Flinn Lazier, 01:04.6491 (109.366)

Pole sitter Benjamin Pedersen: “Super excited, this is a home event, I grew up not far from here. It’s great to have the local support, hope we can bring it home. Clean first lap, that’s what we’re looking for.

Points leader Linus Lundqvist: “We’ve had a great season, hoping for a good race today. It would be a dream come true to clinch it today.”

Only one driver in the field has won at Portland before – McElrea swept the pair of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship races in 2019.

Engines fired at 10:15 a.m. and the pace car moves them out. Green second time by.

Green flag at 10:19 a.m.

Pedersen with the solid jump at the green.

All 12 cars make it safely through turn one.

Matthew Brabham on the move, up to fourth from a sixth-place starting position, putting Lundqvist back to fifth. Sting Ray Robb going in the opposite direction, falling back to 10th from fifth in the opening corners.

Contact between Christian Bogle and Flinn Lazier, in his series debut. Lazier, attempting to pass Bogle in turn seven, locked up his tires and slid into Bogle, both stopping drivers left. Full course yellow, pits are open. Lazier attended to by safety, Bogle limps into pit lane with a bent front right suspension.

Race control assesses Lazier a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact, to be served at the next event.

Back to green on lap five.

Another solid jump for Pedersen, two car lengths going into turn one.

Frost, Brabham and Rasmussen three wide through the nine-10-11 complex. Side to side contact between Rasmussen and Frost, with neither driver wanting to concede the position. Rasmussen off into the dirt driver’s right, comes back across the track (bouncing all four wheels off the pavement) and takes the exit lane through turn 12, Frost hard into the tires in turn 11, drivers right. AMR INDYCAR Safety Team on the scene, Frost out of the car under his own power.

As they run –






Francis, Jr.




Frost (out)

Bogle (pit)

Lazier (out)

Points lead for Lundqvist is 103 as they run.

Robb tells the team he will conserve push-to-pass until late in the race.

The lengthy yellow gives Kevin Lee and Charlie Kimball the chance to talk to Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion Louis Foster, joining them in the Peacock TV booth. Foster confirms that he will make an announcement Thursday at WRLS regarding his 2023 plans.

Race control indicates that the incident as been reviewed, no action will be taken.

Back to green on lap 16.

Another good jump for Pedersen, but Brabham takes a look to the outside going into turn one. Three car length lead for Pedersen by turn 10.

Field settles into single-file order by lap 18.

Halfway mark, with no change in the running order.

McElrea right on the rear with of Abel, Robb all over Francis, Jr.

Georgia Henneberry spoke with the a very happy Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship winner, Michael d’Orlando, on the Peacock coverage. His Cape Motorsports team captured its 14th series title and now returns to Indy Lights in 2023.

Rasmussen and Robb all over the rear wing of Francis, Jr. in turn seven on lap 25. Rasmussen locked up and nearly hit Francis, Jr., with Robb prepared to make evasive maneuvers on the outside.

Frost, back on pit lane, tells Henneberry that Rasmussen came alongside in turn 11 and “I didn’t think that move would work, but that’s racing. It happens.”

Robb, on the radio, not happy with the move by Rasmussen as he nearly slid into Robb in turn seven.

Lee reports that Robb and Brabham are both open to returning to Indy Lights in 2023.

Seven laps to go, McElrea still stalking Abel for fourth, bit of a lock-up by McElrea two laps later.

Pedersen out to a 1.6 second lead with four to go.

Robb able to get around Francis, Jr. in turn two to take sixth, Rasmussen around in turn five.

Closest battle on track remains Abel and McElrea for fourth, with McElrea able to get close but not able to make a move.

Peacock TV catches a shot of NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie David Malukas, cheering on his former teammate from the HMD Motorsports pit.

White flag, a 1.13 second lead for Pedersen over Brabham, who is chipping away every lap.

Checkered flag, and the first Indy Lights win for Benjamin Pedersen! Matthew Brabham second, Linus Lundqvist third.

Lundqvist with a 103-point championship lead, so the title fight will go to the doubleheader next weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Unofficial Results Portland Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires:

1. (1) Benjamin Pedersen, 35, Running
2. (6) Matthew Brabham, 35, Running
3. (4) Linus Lundqvist, 35, Running
4. (8) Jacob Abel, 35, Running
5. (7) Hunter McElrea, 35, Running
6. (5) Sting Ray Robb, 35, Running
7. (3) Christian Rasmussen, 35, Running
8. (9) Ernie Francis Jr., 35, Running
9. (10) Kyffin Simpson, 35, Running
10. (2) Danial Frost, 5, Contact
11. (11) Christian Bogle, 1, Contact
12. (12) Flinn Lazier, 0, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 93.074 mph
Time of Race: 44:18.7886
Margin of victory: 0.9651 of a second
Cautions: 2 for 13 laps
Lead changes: 0

Lap Leaders:
Pedersen, Benjamin 1 – 35

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Point Standings:
Lundqvist 515, Brabham 412, McElrea 401, Robb 389, Pedersen 385, Rasmussen 346, Frost 330, Abel 293, Simpson 276, Francis Jr. 263, Bogle 256, James Roe 219, Antonio Serravalle 204, Ryan Phinny 77, Manuel Sulaiman 48, Lazier 18

Benjamin Pedersen wins Portland. Travis Hinkle – Road to Indy.

Press conference quotes:

Benjamin Pedersen: “This is a dream come true, it feels so good. We were fastest in every session this week, I don’t think we’ve ever done that before – to do it at a home event is great, since I grew up not far from here in Seattle. I have a bunch of local support, it’s so awesome. I’ve worked my ass off and I’m so relieved and thankful. I’ll take all this energy with me next weekend, hopefully.

“The team kept me informed on the push-to-pass of the guys behind me, so we were just managing all race long. I stayed focused on my own race, it was a good day. You never know what’s going to happen in turn one, you’ve seen what’s happened in the past.

Matthew Brabham: “Congrats to Benjamin, he’s been fast all weekend, I couldn’t catch him. I’m thrilled with my day. We were fast on the first day but terrible yesterday, we didn’t have the pace compared to HMD. We made some big changes and it paid off today. I was surprised at our speed today, my car gripped up and was fast, the Andretti guys did a great job turning it around.”

Linus Lundqvist: “You want to win every race but we just didn’t have the pace this weekend like Benjamin did. Congratulations to him, it’s good to get your first win. Glad to get a podium, we’ll take the points. It would have been nice to be finished with it, but we go into Laguna with some energy.

All three drivers were asked about the competitive nature of the Indy Lights series, noting the six different winners this season (including four first-time winners) and all had very strong comments in support.

Benjamin Pedersen: “This series is super competitive. It’s different every week, on who has pace. It makes everyone better; everyone feels like they’re being pushed hard. The driving has improved, it’s good for the future.”

Matthew Brabham: “It’s super competitive. The field is so difficult, it’s different every weekend. The level has gotten better every year. It’s a top-level series and every driver who comes out of Indy Lights does well all over the world. It’s a shame that people overlook the series, it’s one of the most competitive series in the world.”

Linus Lundqvist: “I have to say that it’s not enjoyable, that it’s this competitive! It forces you to push yourself to the next level and that makes it more rewarding

Portland Indy Lights Qualifying – Pedersen to Pace Field in Sunday’s Race

By Diane Swintal

The sun has finally come out at PIR – a very pleasant 74F/22C at the start of Indy Lights qualifying. Track temp is 98.8F.

Plenty of rubber on the racetrack – plenty of different kinds of rubber. A USF2000 race (Cooper), INDYCAR qualifying (Firestone), ARCA (General) and Indy Pro 2000 (Cooper).

Green flag at 3:25 p.m.

Sting Ray Robb celebrating his 21st birthday today. The Payette, Idaho native considers Portland his “home” track and has a good number of friends and family in attendance.

Pit lane is decided by points, so the field heads onto the racetrack in championship order, with Linus Lundqvist leading the way.

Lundqvist sets the first fast time – the only first lap under 1:08 (1:07.4066).

Second laps in the 1:05s, with Daniel Frost on top ahead of Christian Rasmussen.

Robb off track in turn 11 – that’s been a very popular spot to go off track this weekend.

Frost still on top after lap three, now down to 1:04.6883, with Lundqvist second quick.

Ernie Francis, Jr. with the third quickest time early in the session – 1:05.1115. He was quick on track and too quick on pit lane, will be headed back in for a drive through penalty, pit speed violation.

Third generation driver Flinn Lazier, in his series debut, fourth quick early at 1:05.3828.

Another big slide for Robb coming around turn 12 with 11 minutes remaining.

Hunter McElrea into the top spot with 9 minutes remaining, with a lap of 1:04.4387.

Robb then goes quicker, 1:04.4303. Brabham second quick, 1:04.3600.

Rasmussen quickest with 7:50 remaining, 1:04.1533. Benjamin Pedersen second quick at 1:04.1743.

Flurry of quick laps at the six-minute mark, with the top spot changing every lap. McElrea, Robb, Frost, Pedersen.

Pedersen’s time lasts for a few minutes, 1:03.6698 with five minutes remaining. Frost right behind at 1:03.7830.

Checkered flag – and the first Indy Lights pole position for Global Racing Group’s Benjamin Pedersen.

Pedersen, who know lives in Indianapolis, grew up in Seattle and considers Portland his home track. A series sophomore, he is still seeking his first series win.

“Finally!” said Pedersen. “I’ve worked so hard and it’s nice to have it be rewarded. Now, our complete focus goes toward getting our first win tomorrow!”

Benjamin Pedersen at Portland International Raceway. Penske Entertainment – Joe Skibinski

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying results:

1. (24) Benjamin Pedersen, 01:03.6698 (111.048)
2. (68) Danial Frost, 01:03.7830 (110.851)
3. (28) Christian Rasmussen, 01:03.8546 (110.727)
4. (26) Linus Lundqvist, 01:03.8606 (110.716)
5. (2) Sting Ray Robb, 01:03.9390 (110.580)
6. (83) Matthew Brabham, 01:04.2610 (110.026)
7. (27) Hunter McElrea, 01:04.2678 (110.015)
8. (51) Jacob Abel, 01:04.2698 (110.011)
9. (99) Ernie Francis Jr., 01:04.3912 (109.804)
10. (21) Kyffin Simpson, 01:04.4322 (109.734)
11. (7) Christian Bogle, 01:04.5431 (109.545)
12. (15) Flinn Lazier, 01:04.6491 (109.366)

Portland Indy Lights Saturday Practice Notes and Results

By Patrick Stephan

The second Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires practice of the weekend got underway at 11:15am under cloudy skies with the air temp at 69 degrees and the track at just 83.1F.  That’s a pretty low track temp here, as we can expect it to get over 110F if the sun gets out either for qualifying at 3:25pm today or tomorrow’s race at 10:40am.

Benjamin Pedersen took his Global Racing Group with HMD machine to P1 early in the session with a lap of 1:03.9268, followed Sting Ray Robb at 1:04.1888, then point leader Linus Lundqvist, Danial Frost, Jacob Abel and Christian Rasmussen rounded out the Top 6.

Benjamin Pedersen in his car at Portland. Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens.

For comparison sake, (and to show that these Indy Lights machines are getting around here pretty quick), the official track record was set at 57.2143 by Will Power on September 1, 2018.  The track is listed as 1.964 miles and 12 turns.

This weekend, the current configuration of the Dallara Indy car’s quickest lap so far is again Will Power at 58.3946.  Pedersen’s 63.9268 is best Lights lap at the time (pre-qualifying for both series).  The fastest race lap for Indy Pro 2000 in Race #1 was Reece Gold at 69.3726.  Finally Nikita Johnson turned a 72.4810 as the fastest lap of USF2000 Race #1.

Things were pretty static for most of the session with Pedersen getting out of the car with a few minutes remaining. He told IMS Radio that he was pretty happy with the session considering he was out on pretty old tires.

Danial Frost moved up to P2 with 5 minutes to go, turning a 1:03.9071, just 0.0047 behind Pedersen’s session best of 1:03.9024.

With less than a minute remaining Christian Bogle came to a stop in Turn 3. Doesn’t appear to have hit anything, he has just stopped over there.  This will bring the session to a close with Pedersen remaining up front.

Pos Car # Driver Best Lap Diff Laps Best Lap Team
1 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:03.9024 1:03.9024 19 16
Global Racing Group with HMD
2 68 Danial Frost 1:03.9071 0.0047 20 14
HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
3 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:03.9404 0.038 26 25
Andretti Autosport
4 28 Christian Rasmussen 1:03.9790 0.0766 25 18
Andretti Autosport
5 27 Hunter McElrea 1:04.0623 0.1599 29 21
Andretti Autosport
6 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:04.1026 0.2002 21 15
HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
7 83 Matthew Brabham 1:04.1672 0.2648 26 18
Andretti Autosport
8 51 Jacob Abel 1:04.2679 0.3655 25 24
Abel Motorsports
9 99 Ernie Francis Jr. 1:04.4528 0.5504 28 20
Force Indy
10 7 Christian Bogle 1:04.5370 0.6346 23 20
HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
11 21 Kyffin Simpson 1:04.7077 0.8053 22 9
HMD Motorsports
12 15 Flinn Lazier 1:04.8419 0.9395 27 20
Abel Motorsports

Good Morning from Portland – Today’s RTI Schedule and Some Notes

By Diane Swintal

That crooked video board (due to a hydraulic failure) that delayed the USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 races yesterday – it’s still crooked, but secured and working! TSO Photo by Patrick

Good morning from cloudy and cool Portland International Raceway. 63F at 8:00 a.m. Pacific, with highs only in the mid-70s and much later in the day.

Four Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires sessions today, with the Cooper Tires USF200 Championship and the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires conducting their final races of the season.

Road to Indy schedule:

10:15 – 11:00 a.m. USF2000 race three (25 laps or 45 minutes)

11:15 – 11:55 a.m. Indy Lights practice

11:30 a.m. – Noon Indy Pro 2000 autograph session (Fan Village)

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Indy Lights autograph session (Fan Village)

2:20 – 3:10 p.m. Indy Pro 2000 race three (30 laps or 50 minutes)

3:25 – 3:45 p.m. Indy Lights qualifying

The Indy Pro 2000 championship is done, as Exclusive Autosport’s Louis Foster took the title with a victory in race one yesterday. With a win in race two, Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Reece Gold secured second in the title chase. Gold is expected to follow Foster into Indy Lights next season.

USF2000 is a very different story. With incidents in both races yesterday, Pabst Racing’s Myles Rowe threw the championship chase wide open. When Rowe and teammate Jace Denmark – the pole sitter and second in the championship – made contact in turn one at the start of race two, Cape Motorsports’ Michael d’Orlando returned to the championship conversation. Here are the points as they stand:



Myles Rowe


Michael d’Orlando



Jace Denmark



Reminder that the winner gets 30 points, 25 to second, 22 to third. Three bonus points are available – the points above include Denmark’s race three pole point.

USF2000 race three starting lineup:

SP Car Driver Name Time

1 23 Denmark, Jace 01:11.8365

2 22 Rowe, Myles 01:11.9434

3 10 Nepveu, Thomas 01:11.9900

4 17 Johnson, Nikita (R) 01:12.0391

5 5 Hays, Nicky (R) 01:12.1835

6 4 d’Orlando, Michael 01:12.2481

7 12 Clark, Mac (R) 01:12.2590

8 32 Weir, Christian 01:12.2942

9 92 Frazer, Billy 01:12.3369

10 11 Christie, Dylan 01:12.3809

11 91 Brienza, Joey (R) 01:12.4824

12 90 Douglas, Jacob (R) 01:12.5460

13 9 Garciarce, Jorge (R) 01:12.5560

14 33 Kohlbecker, Spike 01:12.5826

15 8 Dyszelski, Danny (R) 01:12.6456

16 6 Papasavvas, Evagoras (R) 01:12.6842

17 3 Jones, Jagger (R) 01:12.6919

18 93 d’Orlando, Nicholas (R) 01:12.9373

19 16 Ho, Ethan (R) 01:13.0621

20 34 Mann, Lucas (R) 01:13.1247

Jagger Jones (grandson of Parnelli) has secured rookie of the year honors over Cape Motorsports’ teammate Nicky Hays, 275 to 210 points. Jones experienced engine issues in the lone qualifying session that put him back in the field in all three races and while Hays’ first series podium finish yesterday helped his cause, it won’t be enough to eclipse his teammate in the final standings.

The pair are the only rookies in the series top 10.

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Portland Practice Notes and Results

By Patrick Stephan

Benjamin Pedersen on track at Portland on Friday. Penske Entertainment: James Black

Before we get to the practice session, here are some notes from the media bullpen earlier today where I got to talk to some of the drivers.

Matthew Brabham

Chatted with Matthew Brabham, who is currently 2nd in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires points, 108 behind Linus Lundqvist with three races to go (1 here, 2 at Laguna Seca). Brabham won the first race of the year at St. Pete and the most recent at WWT Raceway at Gateway.

28 years old, Brabham is still doing whatever he can to get in to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES full-time. In 2016 he made 2 starts, running the Indy GP and the Indy 500, finishing 16th and 22nd respectively, finishing all but one lap in the 500.

Brabham told me he is actively talking to teams and sponsors with his #1 priority being the top series, even if only for a few races. He is willing to do another year of Indy Lights if that option is there. Having talked to Brabham for pushing a decade now, his main concern has always been to go fast in anything he’s been given – including things like the Stadium Super Truck Series where he’s been their champion three times (2018, 2019, and 2021) with 24 wins.

Brabham said that those recent wins back in open wheel racing are helping to show teams and sponsors that he is ready to go Indycar racing, but nothing is set yet for 2023.

Hunter McElrea

A driver is that is set for 2023 is Hunter McElrea who will return to Andretti Autosport for a second year of Indy Lights competition. McElrea is one point behind Brabham, so third in the title fight, with 2 wins and 3 poles this year. After a rough start to the season, McElrea has the most points since Detroit, which had him back in the title fight for a bit, but now he can look forward to finishing strong and getting ready for 2023.

McElrea told TSO that he just put too much pressure on himself early in the year and that lead to mistakes. Now that he is focusing on having fun, the results are coming and he will go in to 2023 much more refined. He also noted there aren’t a ton of NTT INDYCAR Series opportunities available for 2023 so he’s looking forward to making his debut in 2024.

“I don’t want to go to Indy car half cooked, so another year of Lights will be good for me,” he said.

While he expects to fight for the title next year, he also knows there will be a lot of good guys in Lights, including some very strong drivers from Indy Pro 2000 that will be moving up.

Making his Indy Lights debut this weekend is Flinn Lazier, the 23 year old son of 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier, and grandson of Bob Lazier. Flinn has been racing mostly in SCCA Formula Atlantic and working to put together a program to get to Indy Lights.

After graduating from the University of Denver a year ago, Flinn has been working at the family’s hotel (the Tivoli Lodge) in Vail, Colorado.

This deal came together just a couple weeks ago and Flinn said his plan for this race and next weekend at Laguna Seca is just to learn as much as he can. And for the record, like his father and grandfather Flinn is a skier. (I’m personally a snowboarder that goes to Vail a few times a year, so of course I had to ask how he preferred to get down the mountain).


The lone practice session today for Indy Lights got started at 1:25pm Pacific Time with the air temp at 82F and the track at 112.3F. Scheduled for 50 minutes, most of the field went out and started turning some laps as soon as the track went green.

The exception was point leader Linus Lundqvist who was still on pit lane 12 minutes in to the session.

Christian Rasmussen was leading at this point with a best of 1:05.4082, though as soon as I typed that, Jacob Abel moved to the top spot at 1:05.3040, that too was quickly bettered by Sting Ray Robb with a 1:05.2840.

With 35 minutes to go, Hunter McElrea missed Turn 1 by a lot, and to quote Nick Yeoman on INDYCAR Live! he “blasted through the signs,” as he didn’t even try to make the first right hand portion of the front stretch chicane. McElrea was able to drive his car back around to the pits, but we went red so the AMR INDYCAR Safety team could reset the signs and cones.

Under the red, Matthew Brabham was now P1 at 1:05.1334, followed by Sting Ray Robb, Jacob Abel, Christian Rasmussen, and Danial Frost.  They were followed by McElrea, Bogle, Lazier, Simpson, Francis, Jr., and Pedersen.

Back to green Pedersen would move to P1 heading in to the final third of the session, followed by Brabham, Lundqvist, Robb and Rasmussen.  Yes, Lundqvist did get out and start turning laps with about 15 minutes to run.

For comparison, with 12 minutes to go, Lundqvist had 4 laps completed to Jacob Abels 25 laps.  The only other driver in single digits was McElrea as his car still being looked over after he hit the signs (and sand bags) earlier in the session.

And with 10 minutes to go, Benjamin Pedersen was still up front at 1:04.4820, the only driver in the 1:04’s. Brabham, Lundqvist, Robb, and Rasmussen follow. Kyffin Simpson moved up to 6th, then Abel, Bogle, Lazier, Frost, Francis, Jr., and McElrea.

Unfortunately, timing and scoring seemed to freeze up on me and others at this point, so I couldn’t follow along with changes over the last few minutes of the session.

I can say that several drivers got in some quick laps at the end with Pedersen still leading, but Lundqvist, Brabham, Bogle, Robb, Abel and Simpson all getting in to the 1:04’s. Rasmussen, Lazier, Frost, Francis, Jr., and McElrea followed.

1 24 Benjamin Pedersen 01:04.4820 –.—- 17 20
2 26 Linus Lundqvist 01:04.5247 0.0427 6 11
3 83 Matthew Brabham 01:04.5694 0.0874 15 27
4 7 Christian Bogle 01:04.6980 0.216 22 24
5 2 Sting Ray Robb 01:04.7967 0.3147 26 27
6 51 Jacob Abel 01:04.9403 0.4583 30 33
7 21 Kyffin Simpson 01:04.9480 0.466 24 28
8 28 Christian Rasmussen 01:05.0462 0.5642 19 29
9 15 Flinn Lazier 01:05.1873 0.7053 19 31
10 68 Danial Frost 01:05.2257 0.7437 14 14
11 99 Ernie Francis Jr. 01:05.2331 0.7511 19 27
12 27 Hunter McElrea 01:05.4431 0.9611 6 8




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