Archives for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire – TSO

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires – Thursday – 3:25pm – Qualifying – Megennis scores pole – Andretti Autosport locks out front two rows

By Steve Wittich

One-two-three-four

A quartet of Andretti Autosport drivers will lead the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires field to the green flag, with Robert Megennis starting on the pole. The pole for the first oval race of the year is the 17-year-olds second inside front row start in the past three races and the third of his career.

The Cybersecurity sponsored No. 27 AER/Dallara IL-15 of Robert Megennis will start the pole for the 2019 Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“This is a dream come true, being on pole for the Freedom 100 at IMS. It’s going to be awesome tomorrow, to go out there on the front row in front of all those people,” exclaimed Megennis.” That’s going to be a moment. It was a lot hotter today than it was for Monday’s test so we had to figure out what the car would be in these temperatures and we did a great job with that. Andretti one-two-three-four, that’s wild, hopefully we can end the race like that and just control everything. But you can’t set expectations for the Freedom 100, you have no clue what’s going to happen. We can strategize all we want but you just don’t know – we’ll all talk tonight and see if we can work together to stay in front.

“But it did feel like a lot of pressure when I was sitting there waiting, but once I went out it was just foot to the floor and send it. The car was awesome; I can’t thank the team enough, as well as all my partners – Palo Alto Networks, Optic, CyberArk and SailPoint. I wouldn’t be here without them and I wouldn’t have this opportunity.”

Megennis turned the quickest single lap of qualifying at 194.421 mph, and his two-lap average was 194.207mph, beating his teammate Oliver Askew by a scant 0.1390mph or a razor-thin 0.0399 seconds over the two laps of qualifying.

Veteran Ryan Norman and newcomer Jarett Andretti will follow directly behind their teammates when the green flag for the 40-lap race flies at 1 pm on ”Carb Day.”

Points leader Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) had a consistent, but slow qualifying effort. The Juncos Racing rookie could only manage the ninth fastest two-lap average.

Cars took to the track for their two-lap qualifying runs in the reverse order of the current Indy Lights points standings, making the three Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires one-offs the first cars on track to complete their five-mile qualification attempts.

USAC regular Chris Windom was the first car on the track. The 28-year-old exited his car, got on a golf cart, and met a helicopter outside of Turn 2. He had to get to Anderson Speedway where he is due to take part in qualifying for the Little 500. The Jonathan ‘Byrd’s Racing backed driver will start his first Indy Lights race on the outside of the fifth-row after two consistent laps.

The first car on track was Aaron Telitz, whose deal to contest his third Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires came together just a few minutes before practice. The Wisconsin based driver was flat his entire two-laps and mentioned that they might have missed the gearing.

Aaron Telitz is making his return to Indy Lights and will start the 2019 Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires from the outside of the third row. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Jarett Andretti, the seventh member of his famous family to turn laps on the historic 2.5-mile, turned two incredibly consistent laps (less than a tenth of a mile per hour between his two laps), was the quickest of the three one-off drivers and will start the race in the fourth spot.

Lucas Kohl, making his first Indy Lights oval qualification attempt was quicker and more consistent than Telitz, his teammate for this race. After the run, the Brazilian told the team he ‘didn’t lift, but it was a bit sketchy in Turn 3. His team responded – “‘that’s the way ‘it’s supposed to be.” The Roberto Moreno mentored pilot was the quickest of the non-Andretti Autosport drivers and will start the 100-mile race on the inside of the third row.

Dalton Kellett had an incredibly consistent qualifying effort, but his K-Line Insulators USA, Inc. sponsored No. 67 didn’t have the pace that he had last year. The veteran was quicker than his teammate and will start the race on the inside of the fourth row.

Ryan Norman, the winner of the last Indy Lights oval race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, was the sixth car on the track, and the first to turn a lap over 193 mph. The ‘veteran’s second lap fell off 0.3 mph, but his average remained above 193 mph. That average is good enough for an inside second row starting spot.

David Malukas, who missed the majority of the morning practice, was able to make a two-lap qualification attempt, and despite having no idea what to expect from the car, turned in two clean laps with competitive.

The fourth to last driver on track was Toby Sowery, who turned his first ever oval laps at Kentucky Speedway only one week ago. The 22-year-old that is sponsored by Rich Energy turned in two consistent laps that were only 0.0410 mph different.

Toby Sowery and his Rich Energy sponsored No. 2 on the famous 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Robert Megennis, who led the ‘Monday’s test and this ‘morning’s practice, was the first driver to break into the 194mph range. The ‘rookie’s second lap fell off almost half-a-second, but the average remained above 194mph.

The final Andretti Autosport AER/Dallara IL-15 to take to the track was Oliver Askew. His first lap was the second lap of qualifying above 194mph, but like Megennis, dropped into the 193mph range on his second lap.

The last car to take the green flag in Indy Lights qualifying was points leader Rinus VeeKay. The Juncos Racing rookie and his Soul Red No. 23 will have some work to do tomorrow. The 18-year-old had the least drop off of all 11 drivers between his first and second lap, but his pace was only good enough to put him on the inside of the fifth row.

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires qualifying results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM LAP 1 LAP 2 AVERAGE DIFFERENCE
1 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 194.421 193.992 194.207 -0.4290
2 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 194.253 193.882 194.068 -0.3710
3 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 193.191 192.876 193.034 -0.3150
4 18 Jarett Andretti Andretti Autosport 192.878 192.786 192.832 -0.0920
5 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 192.814 192.602 192.708 -0.2120
6 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 192.669 192.309 192.489 -0.3600
7 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 192.242 192.125 192.184 -0.1170
8 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing / Team Pelfrey 192.198 192.157 192.178 -0.0410
9 23 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 192.142 192.105 192.124 -0.0370
10 17 Chris Windom Belardi Auto Racing / Jonathan Byrd’s Racing 191.671 191.443 191.557 -0.2280
11 79 David Malukas BN Racing 191.205 191.403 191.304 0.1980

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires – Thursday – 12:35 pm – Megennis goes quickest, Telitz added to field and leads no-tow speeds

By Steve Wittich

Robert Megennis with a lap speed of 196.449 mph turned the quickest lap (with help) in the lone official practice session before qualifying for the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires. He was followed by his Andretti Autosport teammates, Ryan Norman, and Oliver Askew, as well as Belardi Auto Racing teammate Lucas Kohl.

The fastest no-tow lap of the session was turned in by Aaron Telitz, who announced he would be taking part in his third Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires only moments before the practice began. (see more below)

The lone 45-minute practice session for the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires got underway 94 minutes after the initially scheduled time of 10 am. Strong thunderstorms rolled through Speedway, Ind. between 5 am, and 7 am soaking the 2.5-mile oval and requiring extensive track drying efforts.

Just before the session commenced, Belardi Auto Racing announced that Aaron Telitz would be joining the Brownsburg, Ind. based team for the race to pilot the No. 4. The 2019 Freedom 100 will be the Wisconsin native’s third race on carb day with the team.

Telitz won his first Road To Indy oval start at Lucas Oil Raceway in USF2000 and finished second in the 2017 Freedom 100.

The 27-year-old, who has been embedded with the Dale Coyne Racing With Vasser-Sullivan IndyCar team this year will be making his first open-wheel start since the Indy Lights season finale at Portland International Raceway last September.

Telitz has made a pair of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD starts driving a Lexus RC F GT3 for AIM Vasser Sullivan, scoring a podium at the Rolex 24 in January.

It didn’t take long for the 11 cars to start turning laps at speed in a large group.

The first yellow flag of the session came out with 38-minutes remaining for debris in Turn 3. At that point of the session Juncos Racing veteran, Dalton Kellett had the fastest overall lap, and Lucas Kohl had the quickest non-aided lap at 190.287 mph.

The green flag came out two minutes later, and 10 of the 11 cars were quickly back on track.

Megennis, Kellett, VeeKay, and Askew were all running together on the track, going three wide on numerous occasions.

David Malukas, in the HMD Trucking, sponsored No. 79 AER/Dallara IL-15 from the BN Racing stable was the last car to turn laps at speed. Malukas was only able to turn four laps due to a mechanical issue and will head into qualifying at a distinct disadvantage

With 25-minutes remaining in the 45-minute session, nine of the 11 drivers were all circulating together, to simulate race running.

With 15 minutes left in the session, all but two cars were in pit road, making changes before doing qualification simulations. The 11 drivers searched for gaps among the other cars to simulate two-lap qualifying runs.

Two lap qualifying for the 40-lap Carb Day will begin at 2:15 pm.

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires practice results (overall)

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FAST LAP
1 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 196.449
2 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 196.318
3 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 195.120
4 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 193.965
5 17 Chris Windom Belardi Auto Racing 193.950
6 18 Jarett Andretti Andretti Autosport 193.839
7 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 193.670
8 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 193.368
9 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 193.256
10 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 192.861
11 79 David Malukas BN Racing 127.833

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires practice results (no-tow*)

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FAST NO-TOW LAP
1 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 193.368
2 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 193.317
3 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 192.699
4 18 Jarett Andretti Andretti Autosport 192.310
5 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 191.304
6 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 190.914
7 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 190.872
8 17 Chris Windom Belardi Auto Racing 190.245
9 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport N/A
10 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing N/A
11 79 David Malukas BN Racing N/A

*no-two laps require a 10-second gap to the car in front of them.

Previewing the 17th annual Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires

By Steve Witich

It’s a rare occurrence that the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires, which is serving as the opening act for the Indianapolis 500 for the 17th time this year, do not bring the 100,000+ Carb Day fans to their feet.

Since Ed Carpenter’s dominating 13.952-second victory in the inaugural event in 2013, the average margin of victory of the ten races that have finished under green conditions has been 0.24227 seconds. And in four of the last six races, the margin that the winner crosses the line first has started with 0.0### seconds, and in three of those it was 0.00## seconds, including a scintillating win by Colton Herta in 2018

The top-three finishers will be fighting for an expanded prize package of $85,000 this year, including $50,000 to the winner.

BLATANT SELF PROMOTION ALERT – TSO Ladder is sponsoring a new award this year, the #TSO1ToGo Award, which will see the leader at the white flag receives a $500 prize.

Somewhat surprisingly, there have been no Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires winners become Indianapolis 500 Champions. This year, Ed Carpenter (2003), Josef Newgarden (2011), Jack Harvey (2015), Matheus Leist (2017) and Colton Herta (2018), all have the opportunity to become the first driver to win two different Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval races.

Previous Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires winners

Year Driver Team
2018 Colton Herta Andretti Steinbrenner Racing
2017 Matheus Leist Carlin
2016 Dean Stoneman Andretti Autosport
2015 Jack Harvey Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2014 Gabby Chaves Belardi Auto Racing
2013 Peter Dempsey Belardi Auto Racing
2012 Esteban Guerrieri Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2011 Josef Newgarden Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2010 Wade Cunningham Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2009 Wade Cunningham Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2008 Dillon Battistini Panther Racing
2007 Alex Lloyd Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2006 Wade Cuningham Brian Stewart Racing
2005 Jaime Camara Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2004 Thiago Mederios Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2003 Ed Carpenter A.J. Foyt Racing

This year, 23 of the 33 qualified drivers for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge have Indy Lights experience, including series champions Kyle Kaiser (2017), Ed Jones (2016), Spencer Pigot (2015), Sage Karam (2013), Josef Newgarden (2011), J.R. Hildebrand (2009), Scott Dixon (2000), Oriol Servia (1999) and Tony Kanaan (1997).


Who and what we’re watching

Starting on pole

Before 2010, six of the seven Freedom 100 winners started from the pole. Since that time, only Matheus Leist, in 2017 has won from the inside of the front row.

Over those nine years, the average starting position of the winner is 4.88. Esteban Guerrieri, who took the lead on lap 37 after starting 18th. Last year, eventual winner Colton Herta started sixth and led six times on the way to victory.


Finding pace

Juncos Racing has been missing some pace on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval the past two years, but they should be better this year. TSO has heard that they found something from the Speedway team’s thrash to make the Indianapolis 500 that will transfer to their Lights program. Adding Dalton Kellett, who had three straight Freedom 100s with the quick Andretti Autosport can’t hurt either.


The veterans

The only Indy Lights oval winner in the field is Ryan Norman, who bested the second row Indianapolis 500 starter Colton Herta in an exciting Indy Lights race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The 21-year-old ended Monday’s test with the third best speed and a win would help him get his season back on track.

“I think so,” answered Ryan Norman when TSO Ladder asked him if this was where he gets his season back on track. “We’ve had some good qualifying runs. I had a good first race at Indy (road course). We have the speed; we just have to put it all together. For whatever reason, I wasn’t able to do that the first couple of race weekends, but we’re back on an oval. I was really fast in race trim and race set-up, and we have a very strong qualifying car.”

Dalton Kellett will be making his 15th Road To Indy and 10th Indy Lights oval start. The 26-year-old has three podiums in his three previous Freedom 100 starts and started from the pole last year.

We suspect there might be another veteran make an appearance on track in familiar colors tomorrow morning. Tuned in to find out who.


Indy Lights oval newbies

A pair of podiums and a lowest finish of sixth in his four previous Road To Indy ovals combined with his the fastest lap during Monday testing, make the New Yorker, one of the drivers to watch on Carb Day.

“It is just so much fun racing here,” said Megennis after his first taste of the iconic oval on Monday. “Today was everything I expected it to be, and more. Running flat out, going 200 mph, being two, three, four-wide: you don’t get that anywhere else. I ran a bunch in traffic to get used to it: There’s such a big draft here and it was a blast. Andretti Autosport gave me such a great car and we prepared so well in advance that we barely changed anything. It’s not the most important thing, to get P1 in testing, but it’s still a nice way to finish off before we come back on Thursday. I can’t thank all my partners enough for getting me out here!”

Only a single point separates Rinus VeeKay and Oliver Askew in the chase for the three-race NTT IndyCar Series scholarship, and both have one Road To Indy oval win in three starts.

Askew, who also had the quickest no-tow time in Monday’s test on the 2.5-mile oval, drove to victory lane in his first ever oval race, the USF2000 Freedom 75 at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2017.

The second quickest driver in Freedom 100 testing earlier this week, VeeKay won his last time out on oval at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

The 18-year-old is being mentored by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk and will have an experienced teammate to rely on for support as well.

Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) gets some advice from two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and countryman Arie Luyendyk (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“It’s great to have Dalton next to me,” said the Dutchman. “It’s the fourth time he’s driving here. He has a lot of experience on this track, with this car. He also knows what the Andretti cars do from the past years which gives us a good reference.”

Belardi Auto Racing rookie Lucas Kohl is making his fourth career oval start. His best effort was a fourth-place finish at Lucas Oil Raceway in the USF2000 Freedom 75 last year. The Brazilian ended Monday’s test with the seventh best time and looked comfortable while running in traffic.

David Malukas, who is making his first Indy Lights oval start and only his second Road To Indy oval start should take this year’s race as a learning opportunity.

“I am pretty excited to race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval,” expressed Malukas. “My goal is IndyCar and the Indy 500 so I will take it all in, learn and work towards the best result possible. We had a good test on Monday, as I was able to experience the car in traffic at nearly 200 miles per hour. Things happen pretty quick around here but I am a lot more comfortable now than I was at the beginning of the test.”


Oval newbies

Three drivers are making their first formula car oval starts.

Toby Sowery, who returns for the Freedom 100 with BN Racing/Team Pelfrey, will be making his first ever oval start. The 22-year-old got his first taste of turning left only during a successful test at 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway last week. Sowery completed 109 laps during Monday’s test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval ended the day with the sixth fastest lap.

On the other end of the spectrum regarding oval starts is Chris Windom, the pilot of the NOS Energy Drink sponsored No. 17 AER/Dallara IL-15 from the Belardi Auto Racing / Jonathan Byrd’s Racing stable.

The 28-year-old has made thousands of open wheel starts on dirt (and pavement), winning the USAC Silver Crown Championship in 2016 and the USAC National Sprint Car Championship the year before that. Also on Windom’s resume are a pair of pavement sprint car wins in the prestigious Little 500.

Windom was set to make his Indy Lights debut last year, but a crash during testing put those plans on hold.

Jarett Andretti, the seventh driver with that famous last name to contest a race on the historic oval, The 26-year-old’s father John has always wanted to see his son race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his godfather Michael Andretti is making that happen.

Andretti began racing midgets, sprint cars, and modifieds in 2011, racing in high school and while completing his degree at N.C. State. The Indianapolis, Ind. born driver added sports cars to his resume last year, and is currently driving a McLaren 570S GT4 in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America GT4 series.

Andretti did test a USF2000 car with Andretti Autosport, but is was seven-years ago on the road course at Putnam Park in Greencastle, Ind.

“It’s hard to put into words exactly what this means,” said Andretti after Monday’s test. “You take a glance at the Pagoda, and you start to take it in. The only other time a track has hit me like that was in the 24 Hours of Daytona when I saw the Ferris wheel at 3 a.m.! You have to take in those moments and appreciate them. But this is totally different than any track I’ve ever been on. It was good to get the experience of running in traffic; getting better in that area will be one of the most important things. Now we’ll continue prep work, watch a lot of videos and prepare as much as I can.


The Championship

If the pattern from the first three Indy Lights weekends carries over to the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires, it will Oliver Askew’s turn to trade places with Rinus VeeKay at the top of the points table.

VeeKay outscored rival Askew in St. Petersburg, Fla., before the American turned the tables at Circuit of The Americas, outscoring the Dutchman by 20 points. VeeKay’s win and a third-place finish on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was a little better than Askew’s second and third place, giving the Juncos Racing driver a point lead headed to the marquee event of the season.

Lurking just behind the two leaders is fellow rookie Robert Megennis, who had outscored one of his two rivals in each of the last two race events.

Zachary Claman currently sits fourth but has suspended his season.

BN Racing’s Toby Sowery and David Malukas, along with Andretti Autosport veteran Ryan Norman are not out of contention but will need a strong effort in the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires to kickstart a comeback.

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires points table after six rounds.

RANK DRIVER TOTAL BACK
1 Rinus VeeKay – R 146
2 Oliver Askew – R 145 -1
3 Robert Megennis – R 125 -21
4 Zachary Claman 124 -22
5 Toby Sowery – R 110 -36
6 David Malukas – R 101 -45
7 Ryan Norman 89 -57
8 Lucas Kohl – R 77 -69
9 Dalton Kellett 75 -71
10 Julien Falchero – R 66 -80

While winning the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires does pay well, it most certainly doesn’t guarantee a driver will also win the season-long championship.

Only four of the 16 previous winners of the Freedom 100 have gone on to win the championship. Those drivers are: Gabby Chaves (2014), Josef Newgarden (2011), Alex Lloyd (2007), and Thiago Maderios (2004)

Thiago Medeiros celebrates winning the 2004 Freedom 100 (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Race #1

 

 

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires schedule 

Thursday, May 23

  • 10am – 10:45am –> Practice
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm –> Qualifying

Friday, May 24

  • 1pm –> 17th Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires (40 laps) –

You can watch the race live on NBCSN. Jake Query


Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action:

 

 

Drivers begin prep for the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires – Megennis leads time sheet – Askew tops no-tow times

A pair of Andretti Autosport rookies led today’s test session for the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires. Robert Megennis led the overall timesheet with a lap at 197.714 mph and Oliver Askew topped the no-tow speeds at 195.227 mph.

Points leader Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay) is right there though, Ending the day with the second quickest overall speed and fourth fastest no-tow lap.

Ryan Norman ended the day with third quickest speeds on both timesheets and his Andretti Autosport teammate Jarett Andretti, making his first Indy Lights appearance impressed with the fourth fastest lap.

“It is just so much fun racing here,” exclaimed Megennis. “Today was everything I expected it to be, and more. Running flat out, going 200 mph, being two, three, four-wide: you don’t get that anywhere else. I ran a bunch in traffic to get used to it: There’s such a big draft here, and it was a blast. Andretti Autosport gave me such a great car and we prepared so well in advance that we barely changed anything. It’s not the most important thing, to get P1 in testing, but it’s still a nice way to finish off before we come back on Thursday. I can’t thank all my partners enough for getting me out here!”

The first driver on the track at 9:45 am for the first Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires test session of the day was Andretti Autosport’s Oliver Askew.

However, the yellow flag quickly came out when the Window World sponsored No. 18 AER/Dallara IL-15 came to a stop on track. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team flat towed him back to pit road, and the track quickly reopened.

The track went yellow twice more in the first 45 minutes. Once for Andretti, who was experiencing fuel pump issues and once for debris.

Andretti Autosport veteran Ryan Norman, at 197.157 mph, was the quickest driver in the morning session.

VeeKay (Juncos Racing), Megennis (Andretti Autosport), Askew (Andretti Autosport) and Windom (Belardi Auto Racing) made up the rest of the top five.

The afternoon session followed a two-hour NTT IndyCar Series practice and began with the race running.

The majority of drivers also completed at least one mock qualifying run.

There were plenty of three and four wide moments during the late running that I’m sure had the team owners nervous. But, at the end of the day, all ten AER/Dallara IL-15s were rolled back into the garages in one piece.

No, this is not a pace lap, it’s action during an Indy Lights test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Behind Megennis’ lap of 197.714 mph in the top five were VeeKay, Askew, Norman, and Andretti, who all turned laps over 196 mph.

Combined testing times from Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires testing

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

FAST LAP

TOTAL LAPS

1

27

Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport

197.714

88

2

21

Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing

197.390

97

3

48

Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport

197.157

84

4

28

Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport

196.989

49

5

18

Jarett Andretti

Andretti Autosport

196.348

96

6

2

Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey

196.181

109

7

5

Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing

195.136

112

8

67

Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing

195.113

76

9

79

David Malukas

BN Racing

194.304

100

10

17

Chris Windom

Belardi Auto Racing/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing

193.823

107

No-tow testing times from the afternoon test session for the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

FAST NO-TOW LAP

1

28

Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport

195.227

2

27

Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport

194.760

3

48

Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport

194.756

4

21

Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing

193.864

5

5

Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing

193.289

6

67

Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing

192.969

7

2

Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey

191.513

8

79

David Malukas

BN Racing

191.411

9

17

Chris Windom

Belardi Auto Racing/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing

186.850

10

18

Jarett Andretti

Andretti Autosport

N/A

This year’s race will see an increased prize package with a total of $85,000 awarded to the top-three finishers, including $50,000 to the winner. In addition, TSOLadder.com Presented by Cooper Tires – which provides dedicated coverage of the Road to Indy – will be posting a new award to the race leader at the white flag – the #TSO1ToGo Award.

Unfortunate, but not surprising news from the Belardi Auto Racing camp today. Zachary Claman will not be taking part in Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires. The issue. As it always is, is money. Race teams can’t run without it.

It’s great to see Toby Sowery entered in the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires. Sowery and his BN Racing teammate Toby Sowery got their first taste of an oval in the AER/Dallara IL-15 at Kentucky Speedway during a succesful test last week. Sowery has reamined in the U.S. after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course; helping the team rebuild the cars after that race and their oval test.

Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – VeeKay takes comfortable win and points lead back after 35 lap Indy Lights feature race

A dominating performance by Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) on the way to his second Indy Lights win of the season pushed the 18-year-old back to the championship lead in the chase for a three-race NTT IndyCar Series deal.

“It feels amazing to get my first win at Indianapolis and I hope it’s the first of many,” said VeeKay. “There’s still one more race this month of May and it’s nice to go into it with the points lead and hopefully win that race as well. We came into this weekend with a fresh mindset and our testing program was successful. We then went into qualifying yesterday and it was tougher than we expected, and yesterday we struggled. Today, we started over again and got the pole and the race win and learned from what we did yesterday. I got better, the team got better, and we all learned from our setbacks and finally got the win!”

Rinus Veekay recaptured the Indy Lights points lead after a dominating victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

It was VeeKay’s 12th career Road To Indy and win and was the 26th time in 36 starts that the native of Hoofddorp, Netherlands has stood on the podium across the USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights series. That equates to a superlative podium percentage of 72.2%. It also stretches his run of top-five finishes to 22 consecutive races.

VeeKay joins Kyle Kaiser as Juncos Racing victors on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The Speedway, Ind. based team now has six podiums in this event.

Belardi Auto Racing veteran Zachary Claman used all of his wisdom, mixed with just the right amount of aggression to move from the outside of the third row to second place at the end of the first lap on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. The Canadian kept in touch with leader VeeKay, for most of the race, before falling back in the last third of the race.

Before the race, Claman told NBC Gold’s Katie Hargitt he wasn’t himself for Friday’s race but was going to be more himself and just go for it in the second race of the weekend. After the race, we found out that due to budget issues, the Canadian almost missed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course doubleheader.

The second place finish matches the 21-year-old’s best finish on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2017 and is the seventh time in 40 Indy Lights races that he has stood on the podium.

It was the sixth podium in this event for Belardi Auto Racing.

Claman was able to keep third place finisher Oliver Askew just outside of the push-to-pass range for the entire 35-lap race. The Andretti Autosport rookie was able to hold off Toby Sowery and then Robert Megennis to claim his fifth podium in six Indy Lights starts.

“Overall I think we got the most out of what we had for this weekend,” said Askew. “There were a few cars that had a little more pace than us this weekend, but it’s good to leave here with two podiums and some good points moving into the second race weekend of the Month of May. I’m looking forward to the Speedway and the experience there. I have to give a big thanks to everyone at Andretti Autosport, Index Invest and the Stellrecht Company for supporting me.”

At the start of a chaotic first lap, VeeKay smartly made a quick move to the inside run down to Turn 1, with outside front row starter Megennis tucking in behind him before darting to the outside and pulling ahead of VeeKay as the got to the braking zone of the 90-degree right hander.

The Cybersecurity sponsored No. 27 of Megennis made it through the corner first, but VeeKay was able to get back to the power just a little quicker, just holding off the winner of the first race.

Just behind them, the second row of Ryan Norman and David Malukas were joined by Zachary Claman to make it three wide in the braking zone. Norman made contact Malukas (which he apologized for after the race) forcing both drivers wide, and allowing Claman to cut under them and grab third from his sixth starting spot. 

Robert Megennis briefly takes the lead over Rinus Veekay, while Claman, Norman and Malukas go three-wide for third to begin a chaotic first lap in the second Indy Lights race on the IMS Road Course in 2019 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Megennis was able to pull alongside VeeKay’s Mazda/Jumbo Supermarkets/La Place sponsored No. 23 on the long run down Hulman Blvd. to Turn 7. Megennis went just a little too deep into the braking zone and pushed wide into the grass at the exit of the 90-degree left-hand corner, dropping down the order.

Completing the first lap chaos were the Bellko Trading/Kohltrade/IVI Vision sponsored No. 5 of Belardi Auto Racing rookie spinning at the exit of Turn 7 and Andretti Autosport veteran Ryan Norman looping his Three Chord sponsored No. 48 after missing the braking zone and going through the grass in Turn 12.

The running order at the end of the first lap was VeeKay, Claman, Askew, Toby Sowery, Dalton Kellett, Megennis, Malukas, Kohl and Norman.

Lap 2 involved an intense battle for third between Askew, Sowery, and Kellett, but the trio held position and began to spread out.

Claman was not letting VeeKay get too far up the road, with the gap after five laps at 0.8 seconds.

Further behind them, Megennis was starting to put pressure on Kellett for the fifth spot without using his push-to-pass. Megennis was able to get by Kellett before Turn 1 on the 7th lap of the race.

Claman had used 10 of his 15 push to pass activations in the first ten laps, but VeeKay was still able to pull a 1.6-second gap.

On Lap 12 Sowery was starting to put pressure on Askew’s Index Invest sponsored No. 28, with the gap under one second, but it wasn’t long before Megennis began to put pressure on Sowery.

On Lap 18, Megennis was able to get around the Gap Guard/Rich Energy sponsored No. 2 of rookie Sowery, who had used all of his 50hp push-to-pass activations.

After 20 laps, VeeKay’s lead over Claman was 2.6 seconds. Askew was 2.0 seconds behind Claman and 1.7 seconds ahead of teammate Megennis.

Megennis was consistently eating into the gap to Askew, and by the time they began Lap 26, the gap had shrunk to 1.2 seconds. At the end of the next lap, the difference went below one second to 0.8 seconds.

Megennis got a great run on Askew as they crossed the “Yard of Bricks” with five laps to go and made a move to the inside as they got to Turn 1, with Askew also moving right to cover his teammate.

Askew’s move was reviewed by race control, and the Jupiter, Fla. native was given a penalty for blocking and was told to yield the position to Megennis.

Askew let his fellow rookie go past him on the run down Hulman Blvd. Megennis’ hold on the final step of the podium was short lived as Askew dove to the inside into Turn 1 to complete the pass.

I didn’t want to give Robert the opportunity to get by but I did make a bit of an aggressive move to keep him back,” explained the 2017 USF2000 Champion. “That wasn’t intentional at all: I was trying to keep the position; I didn’t mean to make it look that bad. We race each other with respect and we know our boundaries. I let him by on the penalty but thankfully was able to get back by on the straightaway.

VeeKay got the twin checkers 6.9 seconds ahead of Claman, the most significant margin of victory in a dozen races on the current Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course layout.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires Race

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

GAP

1

21

Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing

25 LAPS

2

13

Zachary Claman

Belardi Auto Racing

-6.8849

3

28

Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport

-10.2778

4

27

Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport

-11.1657

5

2

Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey

-12.5255

6

79

David Malukas

BN Racing

-19.4287

7

67

Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing

-35.2233

8

48

Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport

-51.156

9

5

Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing

-56.9862

 

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Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. VeeKay wins first Indy Lights pole – top 8 covered by less than half a second

By Steve Wittich

Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) scored his first career Indy Lights pole in an exciting qualifying session that had the provisional pole swap between a trio of the driver in the final minute.

Juncos Racing VeeKay was the only driver to post a lap below 65 seconds, with his quickest lap at 64.9935 seconds.

Race # 1 pole sitter and winner Robert Megennis will start outside of VeeKay. His best lap was only five-hundredths off the pole.

Ryan Norman and David Malukas will start on row two.

The top nine drivers were covered by less than a half-second.

Brrrrr. The second Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires qualifying session got underway at 8:30 am. The skies were sunny, but the temperatures were chilly. The air temperature was 48F, and the track temperature was 54F.

VeeKay and Askew both spent time at the top of the timing screens in the first half of the 30-minute session.

The quickest lap with fifteen minutes remaining was 75.380 seconds. He was followed by Megennis, Askew, Claman, Norman, Malukas, Kellett, Kohl and Sowery.

At this point in the session, the entire field was back in pit lane for a few adjustments and fresh Cooper Tire slicks.

Megennis, Askew, and Juncos Racing veteran Kellett were the first three drivers to get back on track to try and get some temperature in their tires.

Belardi Auto Racing teammate Claman and Kohl were the last two drivers to get back on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

It took at least five laps to get the Cooper Tire slicks up to temperature.

The first driver to go quicker was Megennis, who shot to the provisional pole with a lap of 75.3698. Askew, Sowery, and Kellett were the next drivers to go faster.

Megennis improved his lap time on his next lap with four minutes remaining in the 30-minute session.

Megennis lowered the time again on his next lap, and he needed it as VeeKay began his hot laps, turning a lap only seven-hundredths slower than Megennis.

Megennis lowered the provisional pole again on his next lap. VeeKay and Norman were right on his heels.

With one minute left in the session Norman, then Megennis and VeeKay all spent seconds on the provisional pole.

David Malukas was able to turn his quickest lap of the weekend and move up to the fourth spot on the grid; bumping points leader Askew back to fifth.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires Race Qualifying #2 (Unofficial) results.

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

21

Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing

1:14.993

–.—-

18

2

27

Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport

1:15.052

0.0583

20

3

48

Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport

1:15.141

0.1474

18

4

79

David Malukas

BN Racing

1:15.221

0.2278

19

5

28

Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport

1:15.275

0.2812

18

6

13

Zachary Claman

Belardi Auto Racing

1:15.312

0.3182

19

7

2

Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey

1:15.415

0.4211

19

8

67

Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing

1:15.435

0.4412

19

9

5

Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing

1:16.185

1.1912

16

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Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course – Megennis score his maiden Indy Lights victory – Askew keeps points lead

By Steve Wttich

An inaugural Indy Lights win for Robert Megennis continues with the momentum that started building at the last event at the Circuit of The Americas. The New Yorker led his first laps in Austin, Texas, but was not able to hold off Oliver Askew, his fellow rookie Andretti Autosport teammate.

That changed in the first of two Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Megennis snagged his first Indy Lights pole in the morning and after trading the lead with Askew, led 28 of the 30 laps to score the trip to the top step of the podium.

“I can’t believe we did it,” exclaimed an ecstatic Megennis. “It’s amazing. It’s our first Indy Lights win – my first win in a few years. We had a great car from start to finish and it feels great to kick off the month of May this way. The Andretti guys really listened to my feedback and we were able to score some valuable points in the championship and now we’re up to third in the standings. I can’t thank CyberArk, Palo Alto Networks and SailPoint for everything that they have done for me.”

Andretti Autosport rookie Robert Megennis shares an embrace with his mom after scoring his Indy Lights on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The win moved Megennis to within 17 points of championship leader and Andretti Autosport teammate Askew.

Askew’s second place finish is his fourth podium of the year and 20th in his Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires career.

Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) had a rough start to the race but was able to rebound to grab his 25th career Road To Indy podium. The 18-year-old who now has a podium percentage of over 70% is in second place in the chase for an NTT IndyCar Series ride is now nine points behind his rival Askew.

Andretti Autosport has now won three straight Indy Lights on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course and seven overall (including five of the last six). The pair of podiums by Megennis and Askew bump the Andretti Autosport total on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to 11, tying them with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the highest team total.

The first of two Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires Races rolled off under overcast skies. The ambient temperature was 52F and the track temperature 69F.

Outside front row starter VeeKay spun his tires when the green flag came out to start the 30-lap race, allowing the Andretti Autosport duo of Askew and Ryan Norman to move past the Dutchman.

“Given how cold it was today, I knew there was a chance for wheelspin, and sure enough I had wheelspin getting on the power and going through the first few gears at the start,” explained VeeKay. “I went all the way back to fourth, without having the pace to get to Oliver or Robert. Disappointing, but we’ll move forward from this. We’ll analyze what happened today and have the car even better for tomorrow.”

Megennis had 0.4 second lead after the first lap, and the rest of the running order was Askew, Norman, VeeKay, David Malukas, Zachary Claman, Toby Sowery, Lucas Kohl and Dalton Kellett.

On Lap 2, Askew looked to the outside of Megennis in Turn 1 and Turn 7, but couldn’t get the pass completed.

Askew was able to make the pass in Turn 1 on the next lap with Norman almost getting past the pole sitter as well.

Oliver Askew gets past his teammate Robert Megennis in Turn 1 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Askew led the third and fourth lap before Megennis was able to around his fellow rookie with a late braking maneuver in Turn 1. Askew told TSO Ladder after the race that he was surprised that Rob dove to the inside of him and thought that maybe he didn’t push hard enough when he took the lead in an attempt to save his Cooper Tires.

VeeKay gained back one of the positions he lost on the start when he got by Norman after a side-by-side battle in Turn 7 and Turn 8. The struggle cost Norman momentum, and he lost another position to David Malukas.

As the first pair crossed the yard-of-bricks, Megennis had pulled out a 1.6-second lead, putting Askew outside of the push-to-pass range.

On Lap 10 the running order was Megennis, Askew, VeeKay, Malukas, Norman, Claman, Sowery, Kellett and Kohl.

Over the next five laps, Megennis was able to set fastest race lap after race lap to pull a comfortable 2.5-second lead.

Norman was able to get around Malukas at just past the half-way point of the race. Unfortunately for the BN Racing rookie, he was out of push-to-pass and was unable to get the spot back and with eight laps remaining lost the fifth spot to Claman.

Up front, Megennis continued to manage the gap and ended up winning his first Indy Lights races by 1.9 seconds.

Askew was able to grab the quickest circuit of the race on the 29th of 30 laps. His lap of 75.6953 seconds broke Felix Rosenqvist’s race lap record from 2016.

Box score for the first Indy Lights race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course

 

 

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Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Megennis pips VeeKay to snag Indy Lights pole

By Steve Wittich

It was the final laps of the session by a trio of Indy Lights rookies that was that decided the pole sitter for this afternoon’s race.

The winner in that battle was Andretti Autosport’ Robert Megennis, whose lap of 65.192 seconds helped him grab his first Indy Lights and second career Road To Indy pole by a thin margin of 0.02 seconds over Rinus van Kalmthout (Rinus VeeKay).

The Juncos Racing rookie was less than two-tenths of a second ahead of championship leader Oliver Askew (Andretti Autosport).

Askew will be joined on the second row his veteran teammate Ryan Norman.

The pole is the third straight for Andretti Autosport, and the sixth on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the first Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires race rolled off after the first NTT IndyCar Series at 10 am.

Lucas Kohl missed Turn 1 early in the session but was able to continue.

There were no red flags during the session, allowing the drivers to complete between 13 and 20 laps.

Claman Megennis Sowery all led early in the session, but with 10 minutes gone, it was Megennis who was quickest at 76.225 seconds. He was joined in the top five by Sowery, Malukas, Askew, and Kellett.

At the half-way point of the ½ hour session, it was VeeKay that had moved to provisional pole, with a lap of 75.558 seconds, only two-hundredths quicker than Megennis. The top seven drivers were within a half-second of the defending Indy Pro 2000 champion.

Just after the half-way point, the majority of the field was in pit lane to make adjustments and bolt on fresh Cooper Tire slicks.

The first driver to head back out to try and improve on their time was the Cybersecurity sponsored No. 27 of Megennis. He was soon joined by the rest of the field, accepting Oliver Askew, who remained on pit road until eight minutes were remaining.

The first driver to get their new Coopers up to temp and go faster were the Belardi Auto Racing teammates Lucas Kohl and Zachary Claman. However, those were the two drivers that were not within the half-second as mentioned above.

None of the top seven had gone quicker with under four minutes remaining.

However, with three minutes remaining, Megennis turned his quickest lap to that point, knocking VeeKay off the provisional pole by a scant three-hundredths of a second.

The New Yorker went quicker on his next lap, lowering his time by another tenth of a second.

The timing screen started to turn almost all purple as drivers began to set their quickest laps. Norman, Malukas, Claman, and Kellett all went faster.

Megennis went even quicker on his 19th lap, and he needed all that time. VeeKay improved on his final lap but fell two-hundredths short of the Andretti Autosport rookie.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires Qualifying #1 (Unofficial) Results

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

27

Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport

1:15.192

–.—-

20

2

21

Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing

1:15.221

0.0291

16

3

28

Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport

1:15.381

0.1887

13

4

48

Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport

1:15.507

0.3148

16

5

79

David Malukas

BN Racing

1:15.674

0.4822

18

6

13

Zachary Claman

Belardi Auto Racing

1:15.687

0.4947

13

7

67

Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing

1:15.893

0.7009

17

8

2

Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey

1:16.069

0.8769

18

9

5

Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing

1:16.211

1.0193

19

The first Indy Lights race of the weekend rolls off at 1:30 pm.

Ryan Norman heads a super-close Indy Lights field covered by less than one-second in practice

By Steve Wittich

Ryan Norman, who also set the quickest lap the last time that the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series was on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, turned a lap of 76.259 seconds.

BN Racing Rookie David Malukas was only five-hundredths behind Norman and was followed in the top five by Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) (Juncos Racing), Zachary Claman (Belardi Auto Racing) and Oliver Askew (Andretti Autosport).

The 45-minute session was interrupted by a single red flag, which came out with 31-minutes remaining to retrieve rookie Lucas Kohl from the gravel in Turn 5.

All nine drivers are within nine-tenths of Norman’s quick lap.

The nine drivers turned a total of 169 laps.

The No. 48 of Ryan Norman with new sponsor Three Chord on track during Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires practice on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires was afforded a pair of 50-minute practice sessions before the first official practice. The first session only had 20 laps turned as the track was too wet for Cooper Tire slicks and too dry for Cooper Tire wets. Malukas turned a lap at 79.934 seconds, the quickest lap of the second test session on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires Practice #1 Results

RANK

CAR NO.

DRIVER

TEAM

QUICK LAP

DIFFERENCE

TOTAL LAPS

1

48

Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport

1:16.259

–.—-

23

2

79

David Malukas

BN Racing

1:16.311

0.0519

19

3

21

Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing

1:16.481

0.2222

14

4

13

Zachary Claman

Belardi Auto Racing

1:16.635

0.3763

5

5

28

Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport

1:16.778

0.5194

21

6

2

Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey

1:16.798

0.5389

22

7

27

Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport

1:16.922

0.6634

21

8

67

Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing

1:17.077

0.8177

23

9

5

Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing

1:17.149

0.8901

21

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires drivers will have two sessions on Friday. Qualifying at 10:10 am and their first race at 1:30 pm.

Road To Indy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Indy Lights preview

By Steve Wittich

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

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

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

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

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

Previous Indy Lights winners on the the IMS road course

Year

Driver

Team

Starting Spot

2018 Race #2

Colton Herta

Andretti Steinbrenner Racing

2

2018 Race #1

Colton Herta

Andretti Steinbrenner Racing

2

2017 Race #2

Kyle Kaiser

Juncos Racing

1

2017 Race #1

Nico Jamin

Andretti Autosport

1

2016 Race #2

Dean Stoneman

Andretti Autosport

5

2016 Race #1

Ed Jones

Carlin

1

2015 Race #2

Sean Rayhall

8Star Motorsports

2

2015 Race #1

Jack Harvey

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

1

2014 Race #2

Luiz Razia

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

1

2014 Race #1

Matthew Brabham

Andretti Autosport

1

2007 Race #2

Bobby Wilson

Brian Stewart Racing

2

2007 Race #1

Hideki Mutoh

Panther Racing

1

2006

Alex Lloyd

AFS Racing

2

2005

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

1

 


The advancemnt scholarship chase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Indy Lights points headed into the “Month of May”

RANK

DRIVER

TOTAL

BACK

1

Oliver Askew – R

98

2

Rinus VeeKay – R

92

-6

3

Zachary Claman

82

-16

4

Toby Sowery – R

79

-19

5

Robert Megennis – R

74

-24

6

David Malukas – R

71

-27

7

Julien Falchero – R

66

-32

8

Ryan Norman

57

-41

9

Lucas Kohl – R

53

-45

10

Dalton Kellett

48

-50

Other Notes

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

 


Race Weekend Basics

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

Watch the 2018 races

Race #1

Race #2

 



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