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Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires at Laguna Seca – Saturday – Kirkwood on the Cusp of Indy Pro 2000 Title With Laguna Win

Please note that this is Press Release that the series sent out. This race took place during the press conference crowning Oliver Askew as Indy Lights champion, so I was not able to take adequate notes.

Kirkwood on the Cusp of Indy Pro 2000 Title With Laguna Win

MONTEREY, Calif. – Kyle Kirkwood is an unstoppable force in this year’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The 20-year-old from Jupiter, Fla., overcame a deficit of more than three seconds to polesitter Sting Ray Robb in this afternoon’s Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca before grasping the lead when Robb ran briefly off the road at Turn Five with just over four laps remaining. Kirkwood needed no second bidding as he reeled off the laps to claim his ninth victory in
10 races for RP Motorsport USA.

The result means Kirkwood needs only to take the green flag in tomorrow’s 16th and final race of the season to clinch his second successive Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires championship crown. Kirkwood has amassed a remarkable record of 21 Road to Indy race wins in just two years following an equally dominant performance in last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

A crestfallen Robb had to settle for second place – for the fifth time this season – while Juncos Racing teammate Rasmus Lindh’s championship aspirations were all but extinguished after his distant third-place finish.

Robb, from Payette, Idaho, maintained his recent run of form by securing his second pole position in the last three races during qualifying yesterday. He seemed to be sitting pretty after setting a torrid pace in the opening stages and opening up a commanding lead of over three seconds inside the first 15 laps. But then, quite suddenly, the momentum shifted. While Robb’s pace slowed by almost a second per lap as his tires began to wear on the notoriously slippery and immensely challenging 2.238-mile road course, Kirkwood began to reap the benefits of a relatively conservative drive during the first half of the 25-lap contest.

The gap came down steadily, first to 2.8 seconds, then 2.5, 1.7 and 1.5 on consecutive laps. With five laps remaining, the two leaders were virtually nose to tail. Then, agonizingly and to his intense frustration, Robb’s car suddenly slipped sideways on the approach to Turn Five. He tried his darnedest to retain control but succeeded only in sliding wide onto the dirt, whereupon Kirkwood gratefully slipped past and into a lead he was able to hold comfortably until the finish.

Robb remained well clear of a surprisingly lackluster Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden, who nevertheless claimed his 12th podium of the season. But his 20-point deficit to Kirkwood at the start of the weekend has now ballooned to 28 points, such that Kirkwood’s tally is now out of reach as long as the Floridian starts tomorrow’s season finale.

In Lindh’s wake, Canadian Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports) fought hard to hang onto fourth place after a race-long battle with Artem Petrov (RP Motorsport USA), from Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Singapore’s Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport). Thompson’s teammate, Jacob Abel, also was hot on the heels of this group after a tigerish drive. Abel, who started fifth, had to lift abruptly off the throttle soon after the start when he ran out of space while trying to pass teammate Thompson, costing him several positions. He was trapped behind Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastoshkin for the first 11 laps, but once past he quickly erased a deficit of more than four seconds to finish directly behind Frost.

RP Motorsport USA gained its ninth  PFC Award of the campaign, although it was not enough to prevent Juncos Racing from clinching the coveted Teams Championship for the second straight year.

Canadian Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing/RP Motorsport USA) earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award after improving from 13th on the grid to 10th at the finish line.

Provisional championship points after 15 of 16 rounds:
1. Kyle Kirkwood, 412
2. Rasmus Lindh, 384
3. Parker Thompson, 319
4. Danial Frost, 309
5. Sting Ray Robb, 308
6. Nikita Lastochkin, 229
7. Kory Enders, 189
8. Jacob Abel, 181
9. Moises de la Vara, 179
10. Antonio Serravalle, 175

Lindh will start on pole position for tomorrow’s final race of the season. The green flag will wave at 3:20 p.m., immediately following the NTT IndyCar Series finale.

Kyle Kirkwood (#28 Mazda/Firstex Industries/Bell Helmets/Sabelt-RP Motorsports USA Tatuus PM-18): “This has relieved a lot of pressure on me and on the team. It was tough today, with both Juncos cars ahead of me, and I was nervous going in, especially with Rasmus on the pole tomorrow. Going into the race, we knew all we had to do was finish ahead of Rasmus, so going for a pass on his teammate was not something I was willing to do. I turned up the wick toward the end, so I did push for a few laps and the car kicked out on him, which created an opportunity for me. I never expected that to happen but it worked out for the championship. Tomorrow will be fun, which is a real change from all the pressure this year.”

Sting Ray Robb (#2 Go Out Local/Big Idaho Potato Truck/OMP/Intervention.com-Juncos Racing Tatuus PM-18): “I don’t know what happened. I nearly spun in a spot I shouldn’t have spun. It was just one of those things that happens so fast. I tossed the race away and then frustration kicks in. But this is my first time here, so to come out of practice fourth and take pole in one race and qualify third in the second, I was really happy. It was good to get a jump on the weekend. Hopefully we can get it tomorrow.”

Rasmus Lindh (#10 Chicago Pneumatic/PWR Junior Team/SKF-Juncos Racing Tatuus PM-18): “The team has done a great job with the car, (although) we’ve been struggling with qualifying lately. We didn’t focus so much on the race pace so I think we need to do that for tomorrow, so we can win tomorrow and make the championship a bit closer in the end. We’ve had a very consistent year and I’m getting experience every step of the way. This is only my second year in cars so I’m learning every time I go out.”

 

 

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Road To Indy in Toronto – Saturday – Frost bounces back with impressive win in Toronto

After a forgettable weekend in Wisconsin, Exclusive Autosport rookie Danial Frost needed a bounce-back weekend. The 17-year-old made that happen with an aggressive first lap, first turn move to get onto the top step of the podium and lead all 25 laps on the way to his second win of the season.

It’s the first Indy Pro 2000 win for Exclusive Autosport, the only Canadian team in the race.

Points leader Rasmus Lindh, started second and finished second, but it wasn’t as easy as the box score made it appear.

Parker Thompson who was bitten by an aggressive qualifying strategy and red flag put in a lunch pail effort to grab his 29th career Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires podium.

The lone Indy Pro 2000 session on Saturday is the first Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products which is scheduled to get the green flag at 9:25 am.

The first race of the weekend, the Indy Pro 2000 Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products, got underway at 9:25 am. The ambient temperature was 72F, and the track temperature was 87F.

Pole sitter Kirkwood got a great jump with Lindh matching him. But it was Frost, from his inside second row starting spot, that got a better jump; making an aggressive three-wide inside move and grabbing the lead as they exited Turn 1.

Kirkwood and Lindh made the long run down Lakeshore Drive side-by-side with both drivers smoking the tires under braking. The pole-sitter could not get it slowed down enough and Lindh was able to get underneath Kirkwood who kept it off the tire barriers.

Kirkwood immediately came under pressure from his RP Motorsport teammate Rodriguez, and the two drivers made contact in Turn 5. Kirkwood’s Soul Red No. 28 he began to fall through the field after suffering wing damage.

At the end of the first lap, the running order was Frost, Lindh, Kirkwood, Ian Rodriguez, Robb, Nikita Lastochkin, Antonio Serravalle, Moisés de la Vara, Phillippe Denes, Kory Enders, Charles Finelli, and Jacob Abel.

Kirkwood was forced to pit road for repairs and lost a lap while the RP Motorsport repaired his damaged PM-18.

The 25 lap race settled in for the next five laps before the first caution came out when DEForce Racing veteran Moisés de la Vara made significant contact in Turn 11. The Mexican was able to get out of his No. 6 under his own power.

During the clean-up for de la Vara’s incident, race control announced that Rodriguez was being penalized for avoidable contact and being sent to the rear of the field. Due to attrition, the Guatemalan was able to move his way back through the field for a solid fifth-place finish, his third straight top five.

The green flag came back out as Frost started his ninth lap. Behind the leaders, Finelli looped his No. 83 as he got back to the gas. A disaster was avoided as Rodriguez barely avoided t-boning the No. 83 Fatboy Racing! machine.

On Lap 12, Robb surprised his teammate, braking deeper than Lindh in Turn 3 and moving to the second step of the podium. Behind that battle, Thompson was able to move past Lastochkin for fifth.

Lindh immediately began putting immense pressure on his teammate, and the next lap returned the favor in Turn 3.

On the next lap, Robb was pushing too hard and made contact with the concrete wall in Turn 6. The Juncos Racing veteran was forced to pit road and retired from the race.

On Lap 15, Thompson moved to the podium, getting by fellow Canadian Serravalle for the final spot on the podium

The full course yellow came out for the second time when Finelli ended up in the Turn 8 tire barriers. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team got him pointed in the correct direction, and the green flag came back out with five laps remaining.

Frost got a great jump on Lindh, but the Swede was able to put pressure on the Exclusive Autosport rookie, getting beside him in the Turn 3 braking zone, but the Singapore driver was able to hold on to the lead for the final three laps, crossing under the checkered flag 0.4500 seconds ahead of Lindh.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products Indy Pro 2000 Race #1 – Unofficial Results

RANK CAR NO NAME TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 25 LAPS
2 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing -0.45
3 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports -1.7381
4 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development -3.0377
5 5 Ian Rodriguez RP Motorsport Racing -6.448
6 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports -6.7097
7 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing -11.0195
8 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing -1 LAP
9 98 Phillippe Denes FatBoy Racing -5 LAPS
10 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport -10 LAPS
11 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing -11 LAPS
12 83 Charles Finelli FatBoy Racing -11 LAPS
13 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing -21 LAPS

That’s the lone Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires session of the day, the middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back on track at 9:55 am on Sunday.

Road To Indy in Toronto – Friday – Christian Rasmussen grabs first career pole

A rookie pole for a rookie team.

Christian Rasmussen, a 20-year-old from Copenhagen, Denmark scored his first and Jay Howard Driver Development’s first USF2000 pole in a red flag shortened session.

“It feels amazing,” said Rasmussen to TSO Ladder. “Being on the streets of Toronto feels amazing. I’m glad I could finally do it; it’s been a long way here. We’ve been struggling a little the first part of the season, so it’s good to back where I feel I belong. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Christian Rasmussen wheeling the JHDD/CSU | One Cure/Lucas Oil sponsored No. 6 around the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

For the fourth time this season, Cape Motorsports veteran Darren Keane will start a race from the front row. The driver who led the morning session turned a quick lap of 73.758 seconds.

Starting behind Rasmussen is the Soul Red No. 22 of Hunter McElrea. The American born Kiwi wasn’t sure he would make the qualifying session after a meeting with the Turn 8 tire barriers in the morning practice.

Keane’s rookie teammate, 14-year-old Reece Gold will start a career-best fourth.

Current points leader Braden Eves will have some work to do tomorrow. The 20-year-old start the race from the outside of the third row.

Before we get into our qualifying report, here are few clarifications on the USF2000 incidents from this morning.

The first red flag occurred when Yuven Sundaramoorthy made heavy contact in Turn 10/11. The S-team Motorsports No. 21 was subsequently clobbered by Jak Crawford’s No.52, which also sustained substantial damage.

The second red flag came out when Hunter McElrea was swallowed by the tire barriers at the exit of the right-hand Turn 8. His teammate Colin Kaminsky was following closely behind him and was unable to avoid t-boning the Mazda/Doric NZ/Miles Advisory Partners No. 22. Reece Gold, who was right behind Kaminsky, made the smart choice of nosing it into the tire barriers instead of tagging the two stranded Pabst Racing cars.

All three Pabst Racing cars made it out for qualifying and ended up third (McElrea), fifth (Kaminsky) and 14th (Sundaramoorthy). Crawford made a last minute appearance, completing one lap. He’ll start the race in the 17th spot.

I’ll have more on the impressive effort by the Pabst Racing crew to fix their three damaged cars between practice and qualifying later tonight.

The USF2000 session began on time under hazy skies.

Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Christian Rasmussen was the early leader in a 20-minute session that was interrupted by a 13+ minute red flag.

The cause of the red flag was hard contact with the tire barriers at the exit of Turn 8 by Zach Holden in the No. 14 Legacy Autosport USF-17. It appeared the Greenfield, Ind native got too deep into the bumpy right-hander. The rear of the car made contact with the tire barriers tearing of the rear wing and damaging at a minimum the left rear suspension.

It took a while to get the track crew a while to get the tire barrier appropriately situated, and when the green flag came out, only 90 seconds were remaining in the session. None of the 17 drivers were able to get enough heat in their Cooper Tires to improve their lap times.

It the first career USF2000 pole for Rasmussen and Jay Howard Driver Development.

The season-opening races of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla. was the first time the Dane had driven on a street course, and it’s a discipline he appreciates.

This is my second street race,” explained Rasmussen to TSO Ladder. “I like it. There are consequences if you go off. If you go off, you actually hit a wall. On a lot of the other tracks, you can push it a bit too far, and you can rejoin the track with no harm done. If you do that here, there is a consequence. I appreciate that.”

USF2000 Unofficial Qualifying Results For Race #1

RANK CAR NO NAME TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 6 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:13.545 –.—- 6
2 2 Darren Keane Cape Motorsports 1:13.758 0.2131 6
3 22 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:14.135 0.5903 6
4 3 Reece Gold Cape Motorsports 1:14.499 0.9542 6
5 23 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:14.527 0.9814 6
6 8 Braden Eves Cape Motorsports 1:14.559 1.0140 6
7 24 Bruna Tomaselli Pabst Racing 1:15.051 1.5057 6
8 73 Cameron Shields Newman Wachs Racing 1:15.057 1.5120 6
9 41 Eduardo Barrichello Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:15.143 1.5975 6
10 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:15.253 1.7078 6
11 27 Matt Round-Garrido BN Racing 1:15.270 1.7248 5
12 14 Zach Holden Legacy Autosport 1:15.524 1.9790 2
13 12 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:15.662 2.1164 6
14 21 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Pabst Racing 1:15.800 2.2551 6
15 7 Christian Bogle Jay Howard Driver Development 1:15.817 2.2719 6
16 36 Nolan Siegel Newman Wachs Racing 1:16.014 2.4686 6
17 52 Jak Crawford DEForce Racing 1:22.316 8.7710 1

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship teams and drivers will start a full day of on-track activity at 8 am on Saturday at the Honda Indy Toronto.

Road To Indy in Toronto – Friday – Kirkwood beats rivals to Indy Pro 2000 pole

Advantage Kyle Kirkwood. The pole-sitter in all 11 previous Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires races held on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place has gone on to visit victory lane.

The pole lap is the first of the season for Kirkwood’s Soul Red No. 28 from the RP Motorsport stable. It’s the 20-year-old’s sixth career Road To Indy pole.

Kyle Kirkwood navigates the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit on the way to his first Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires pole (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The inside front-row start is the first pole in Toronto for RP Motorsport.

Kirkwood set the pole-winning lap of 68.698 seconds just after the half-way mark of the session, withstanding a strong push from points leader Rasmus Lindh, who will start on the outside of the front row for the second time this season.

Danial Frost, who tapped the wall during the morning practice session will start behind Kirkwood, his best road or street course starting spot of the season.

Lindh’s Juncos Racing teammate Sting Ray Robb will start fourth, the seventh time he’s started in the front two-rows this year.

Parker Thompson, who is second in the championship and won the first two street course races of the year, will have some work to do in Saturday’s race. The Canadian will start the race from the seventh spot.

Due to an extended track clean-up from the Stadium Super Truck practice, the 20-minute qualifying session began four minutes late. The ambient temperature was 74F, and the track temperature was 94F. The humidity was a sweat-inducing 61%, which was down from an uncomfortable 68% during the first NTT IndyCar Series practice.

Lindh, Kirkwood, and Robb all led during the first 10 minutes of the 20-minute session, with Kirkwood’s 68.698-second lap leading the way.

The red flag came out with four minutes remaining for an incident involving Jacob Abel in Turn 4.

The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team got the No. 51 out of the way and the green flag came back to allow drivers one flying lap to improve.

The top 10 when the green flag came back out were Kirkwood, Lindh, Frost, Robb, Rodriguez, Lastochkin, Thompson, Denes, Serravalle, and Enders.

Rodriguez and Thompson were both able to improve their lap times, but their positions did not improve.

Indy Pro 2000 Unofficial Qualifying Results For Race #1

RANK CAR NO NAME TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 1:08.698 –.—- 15
2 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 1:08.939 0.2410 15
3 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 1:09.127 0.4292 11
4 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:09.169 0.4711 15
5 5 Ian Rodriguez RP Motorsport Racing 1:09.307 0.6090 15
6 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 1:09.431 0.7336 14
7 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 1:09.473 0.7753 12
8 98 Phillippe Denes FatBoy Racing 1:09.772 1.0740 13
9 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development 1:10.286 1.5879 15
10 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 1:10.846 2.1478 11
11 83 Charles Finelli FatBoy Racing 1:18.196 9.4979 1
12 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:19.956 11.2579 3
13 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing No Time

The third Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires session of the day, qualifying for the Sunday morning race, rolls off at 6:30 pm, giving the teams four hours to get their PM-18 turned around.

Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy Test Returns to Indianapolis


 Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy Test Returns to Indianapolis

Expanded Program Includes Road to Indy Summit Educational Program Opportunities
PALMETTO, Fla. – The ninth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy Open Test will take place at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 19/20 providing new drivers the opportunity to test the waters in the unparalleled driver development platform and returning drivers the chance to make a head start on their 2020 campaigns. This year’s test will see an enhanced structure with additional value-added elements as part of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires traditional Summit program – an educational driver development component of the three ladder series.
The 2.439-mile, 14-turn Grand Prix road course will host the two-day outing named in memory of the former team manager of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports who passed away suddenly in September 2011. All three levels of the Road to Indy will be on deck – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – with each series enjoying four and a half hours of track time over the course of the two-day test.
“With the recent announcements of our new partnerships with the Castrol Toyota Racing Series and the Lucas Oil School of Racing, we are extremely excited about this year’s Chris Griffis Test and the opportunity to introduce new drivers to our outstanding teams and series,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “The test is always a great value-for-money outing and we are taking things a step further this year to enrich the experience for drivers off the track with additional components as part of our Summit training program.
“We look forward to seeing the drivers we currently have in our series sample the next step in their progression up the professional motorsports ladder and to welcoming a new crop of talent.”
Almost three dozen drivers representing 15 nationalities took part in last season’s Chis Griffis Open Test. Among them were several drivers seeking to move up the ladder, including Rinus VeeKay, Oliver Askew and Robert Megennis, all of whom were sampling the virtues of Indy Lights after successful campaigns previously in USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, and newcomers such as New Zealander Hunter McElrea, who had aspirations of joining the Road to Indy after emerging as a front-runner in the Australian Formula Ford Championship.
“For me, driving at the Chris Griffis test was extremely useful,” said McElrea, who went on to win last year’s Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout and last weekend scored his first USF2000 win. “In 2017, it was my first taste of wings and slicks and I finished P4 overall. Last year was my second time and I finished P1 overall after another year of experience in Australian Formula Ford. It is not only a great way to get laps in Road to Indy machinery at the Speedway, but also to measure yourself against your potential competitors.”
The Chris Griffis test has proven just as valuable for teams as they begin preparations for the following season. Last year BN Racing ran an Indy Lights Dallara-AER IL-15 for the first time after starting out in USF2000 and then adding an Indy Pro 2000 element in 2018. Legacy Autosport, Jay Howard Driver Development and Miller Vinatieri Motorsports all used the 2018 test as an initial outing after previously confirming plans to join the USF2000 fray in time for the 2019 season.
“The Chris Griffis test is good for any driver looking to come to the Road to Indy because it gives them an opportunity to sample the cars, the tracks and the teams, and see how professional we are,” said Bryn Nuttall, BN Racing team principal. “Being a little later in the year, the test will be better for the European drivers who have finished their season, and obviously it’s good for drivers who are already here to step up to next year’s machinery and get started on preparations for next season.

“The additional off-track activities are a really good idea because the more engaging it can be for everyone, the more value we can add for people who are interested in the Road to Indy, the better it will be for everybody.”

Summit program activities will take on Friday, October 18, in addition to a track walk, and will include a behind-the-scenes visit to the headquarters of Ed Carpenter Racing, whose stable of drivers include Indy Lights champions Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot with Carpenter, himself, a graduate of Indy Lights; a tour of NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights chassis manufacturer Dallara, including its high-performance professional driver simulator; a presentation and demonstration by Jim Leo of PitFit Training – the industry leader in the development and implementation of driver performance training; and an evening outing/reception at Sarah Fisher’s Speedway Indoor Karting in Speedway, Ind., featuring special guests.
Registration details and a full schedule will be announced in the near future. Interested drivers can find contact information for teams on the respective series websites, and can also contact Series Development Director Jonny Baker at jb@roadtoindy.net.

Aaron Telitz Back With Belardi Auto Racing For Road America

Aaron Telitz will once again be in a Belardi Auto Racing Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires machine in 2019, this time competing at Road America on June 21st through June 23rd.

Road America is always a special track for both Belardi Auto Racing and Aaron Telitz as it’s right in their backyards in Wisconsin. The track has also been very good to both. Aaron Telitz turned his Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship around in 2016 by winning both races on his way to becoming the series champion.

The track has also been kind to Belardi Auto Racing, seeing the team score three podiums (2016, 17, and 18) and a win in 2016 with Zach Veach driving the No. 5 machine.

Wisconsin native Telitz will be piloting the No. 4 Endodontic Specialists of Wisconsin Dallara IL- 15 during the race weekend at Road America.

“I couldn’t be more excited to get a chance to drive in my home race with Belardi Auto Racing! Ilove Road America, all my friends, family, and fans that come out will have a car to cheer for.I’m looking forward to a fun weekend and putting my No. 4 root canal Belardi Auto Racing caron the top step of the podium,” said Aaron Telitz

Rounds eight and nine of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Championship kicks off on June 21st at 10:05 am with practice and is followed by qualifying for race 1 at 2:15pm. June 22ndhas qualifying beginning at 10:15am followed by race 1 at 1:50pm. Race 2 goes green at 8:50am on June 23rd. Keep up with all the action by following @belardiracing on social media!

WINDOW WORLD TO SPONSOR JARETT ANDRETTI FOR 2019 FREEDOM 100

WINDOW WORLD TO SPONSOR JARETT ANDRETTI FOR 2019 FREEDOM 100
North Carolina-based replacement window company to join team as primary sponsor; Harding Group, MI Windows and Doors, and Superior Auto named as associate sponsors

INDIANAPOLIS (05.16.2019) – Andretti Autosport announced today that Window World will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the primary sponsor for Jarett Andretti’s No. 18 Indy Lights Dallara for the 2019 Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires. Also decorating the racing machine of the third-generation driver are Harding Group, MI Windows and Doors, and Superior Auto as associate sponsors.

“It’s great to go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and make this step in my career with a company that’s been there since the beginning,” said Andretti, driver of the No. 18 Window World Dallara for Andretti Autosport. “Dad’s (John Andretti) last Indianapolis 500 was with Window World as a primary sponsor and I can’t wait to represent them at IMS again. It is also an honor to represent both Harding Group, MI Windows and Doors, and Superior Auto in the Freedom 100. They have all been supportive of my racing career and I am looking forward to running all four company’s logos at the biggest race of my career thus far.”

With his rookie start at the Freedom 100, Andretti will become the seventh Andretti family member to compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Known as the largest window replacement company in America, Window World serves customers from over 200 locations. Committed to delivering the highest quality products, Window World prides their company to deliver value and quality through their affordable prices.

“Supporting Jarett (Andretti) in the upcoming Freedom 100 Indy Lights race is an absolute joy. Window World has had a long-standing partnership with Jarett’s father, John Andretti, for quite some time,” said Tammy Whitworth, Chairman and CEO for Window World. “We were privileged to watch John race around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the No. 43 Window World car some years ago, and it’s wonderful to be able to share that same honor with his son Jarett on Friday. We wish him the absolute best.”

Indianapolis-based paving company, Harding Group, has been a supporter of Andretti’s racing career, specifically in sprint cars, since 2016. Harding Group will appear on the engine cover, side nose and shock cover of the No. 18 racing machine.

“Really excited for Harding Group to sponsor Jarett Andretti for the Freedom 100 during Miller Lite Carb Day,” said Mike Harding, owner of Harding Group. “Jarett is such a strong racer; I really think he can be a major competitor against the full-time Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires drivers. We’re looking forward to having a great race come May 24th!”

Headquartered in Gratz, Pa., MI Windows and Doors is one of the nation’s largest suppliers of precision-built vinyl and aluminum windows and sliding patio doors. MI Windows has been serving the needs of distributors, remodelers, exterior contractors, architects, builders, and homeowners for over 70 years.

“MI Windows and Doors is so proud to continue our support of Jarett Andretti and this exciting next chapter in his racing career,” said Matt DeSoto, CEO of MI Windows and Doors. ‘’The Freedom 100 is a thrilling event and we wish Jarett the best as he continues his journey. Our team will be cheering for him the entire way!”

With over 65 location across Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, Superior Auto prides their company on being specialty leader in the “buy-here/pay-here” business model. The “buy-here/pay-here” model allows Superior Auto to focus on selling quality used vehicles and providing customers with in-house financing options.  Superior Auto has been a long time partner of the third-generation driver throughout his Andretti Short Track career.

The Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires will air live on NBCSN on Friday, May 24, at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Practice for the Freedom 100 presented Cooper Tires begins Monday, May 20, and will be streamed live on Road to Indy TV app with Qualifying for the Freedom 100 on Thursday, May 23.

JAK CRAWFORD INKS DEAL WITH DEFORCE RACING FOR COOPER TIRES USF2000 CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS

JAK CRAWFORD INKS DEAL WITH DEFORCE RACING FOR
COOPER TIRES USF2000 CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS
“14-year-old Jak Crawford set for United States formula car debut”
April 25, 2019 –A week after Jak Crawford, the talented young racing pilot from Houston, Texas, turns 14 on May 2nd, he will be on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship grid at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Joining the DEForce Racing program, Crawford will compete alongside Manuel Sulaiman, his main rival for the championship in the Mexican NACAM F4 series, as Jak looks toward the top step of the podium.
While Jak will be a rookie in USF2000 program, by the time he takes the circuit at the Indy Grand Prix road course, he will have raced in four open-wheel NACAM F4 events and eleven races since October 2018 when he raced at the accompanying Formula One World Championship race in Mexico City, Mexico. With multiple wins and podiums in the F4 program, the newest and youngest driver on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship grid will already have a wealth of recent experience behind the wheel of a formula car.
Crawford began racing at the age of six and has a racing resume that is the envy of many young drivers with numerous wins and championships from all over the world and in many different categories, including karts, legends cars, and, now, formula cars.  A natural wheelman, Jak seems to be able to drive just about anything on four wheels, so it is not likely that the USF2000 cars will be overly challenging to get up to speed for the young rookie.
“The competition at USF2000 at the front of the field is the best in this part of the world for first-rung formula cars so I look forward to competing to the best of my ability,” explained Crawford. “I have been in the car a few times and it is a proper race car for someone new like me. I really like the way it feels, and can’t wait to get on track in Indy.”
“Jak has taken to formula car racing quickly and looked like a veteran after only a few races. He is only 13 but looks 16 and races like he is 19.  He will not have problems adjusting from the Ford-powered Mygale cars in Mexico to the USF2000 machine,” stated Darren Manning of IAdvance Motorsports, who has been working with Jak throughout the NACAM F4 series and also will be able to help Jak with the sole USF2000 oval race.
DEForce was the most logical team of choice for Crawford. Already competing with the DEForce sister outfit, Team Martiga, in Mexico, the DEForce group is also based in Houston where Jak resides. The entire DEForce team gets together in Houston to race IAME X30 powered karts just a few miles from Crawford’s house near Speedportz Racing Park, which is owned by Tim Crawford, the father of Jak.
“DEForce has proven to be a front runner in only its third year in Road to Indy competition and we are happy to put a late deal together,” added Tim. “We have known Ernesto for years and, in fact, Jak and Ernesto won a National Championship together a few years back in karting.”
Jak will not be able to run for a Cooper Tires USF2000 Series championship because he was not old enough to officially test and run races until the second event of the season commencing on May 9th.
Jak’s second USF2000 race will be later in the month in May when he will contest the one and only oval event on the 2019 series calendar at the Lucas Oil Raceway. This should be an interesting race for Jak given his significant oval background in Legends Cars and it certainly will be the most grip he has ever had on an oval track. Another key event that should fit his style should be the street course race in Toronto and while Jak has never raced a formula car through the tight confines of a street race, he has been on the Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals podium four times in his short karting career, all of them being run on temporary circuits in Las Vegas.
“I know Jak is happy to be with DEForce and we are certainly happy to have him,” says Ernesto Martinez.  “Jak is very talented and even though he is young, he has more racing experiences than most of the grid. He will be a good fit with Sulaiman, and we hope to run at the front with both of them. Those two are already used to racing against each other in Mexico.”
For more information on Jak Crawford please follow him on Facebook: @jetpakjakcrawford and on Instagram: jakcrawford52. Jak’s marketing website is jetpakjak.com.

Chris Windom Joins Belardi Auto Racing In Partnership with Jonathan Byrd’s Racing For the Freedom 100

A few notes from TSO Ladder

  • With this announcement and the announcment of Jarett Andretti this past weekend, the Freedom 100 should see a minimum of 11 cars.
  • Windom is currently fourth in the USAC Midget standing and sixth in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Standings with a win in the season opener.
  • This is the second straight year that Jonathan Byrd’s Racing and Belardi Auto Racing will partner to field a car for Windom, the 2017 USAC National Sprint Car Champion.

Press Release:

Brownsburg, Ind. (April 16, 2019) – Chris Windom returns to Belardi Auto Racing partnered with Jonathan Byrd’s Racing to run in the 17th annual Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 24. Windom will be piloting the No. 17 Belardi Auto Racing/ Byrd Racing, NOS Energy Drink sponsored Dallara in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series.

Windom is making his second trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, after joining in a test day at the Speedway ahead of the Freedom 100 in 2018. Unfortunately due to damage, Windom was unable to compete in the event. Flash forward to 2019 and Windom is going into the event with the knowledge of what the IL-15 will do and more of an understanding of Indy Lights racing and is looking to show what he can do on the big stage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“After a disappointing ending to last year’s run for the Freedom 100, I’m very thankful to begiven another opportunity to go back to Indy with the Belardi/Byrd team. I really enjoy workingwith everyone on the team and I feel like we can be strong contenders for this year’s race. The Freedom 100 is obviously Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires’ most prestigious race and something that will be special to be a part of. I have to thank Belardi Auto Racing and JonathanByrd’s Racing along with NOS Energy Drink for giving me the opportunity, and I hope that I cangive them a great showing on one of the biggest stages in racing.” -Chris Windom

Belardi Auto Racing and team owner Brian Belardi is excited to have another standout driver added to their Indy Lights lineup, and partnering up with a team rich in history as JonathanByrd’s Racing and a great sponsor in NOS Energy Drink.

“We are happy to welcome back Chris Windom and Jonathan Byrd’s racing, a partnership wesee being very successful. Chris has proven himself time and time again in dirt cars, and I am positive he will be able to do it in an Indy Lights car. All I am thinking about now, is May and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” – Brian Belardi

Once again joining forces for Indianapolis and the Freedom 100 with Belardi Auto Racing, isJonathan Byrd’s Racing. Jonathan Byrd’s Racing is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the Indianapolis 500, but this will be their first time participating in the Freedom 100.

“Things did not go as we had planned last May, but Chris was quick out of the box and learned alot about what to do and what not to do at the Speedway. I’m grateful to be able to work with

Brian and the Belardi Auto Racing team again to give Chris another much deserved shot at the Freedom 100, as we work to keep a multi-time USAC national series champion on the Road To Indy. In addition, we’re excited to have the support of NOS Energy Drink in this endeavor, as they have quickly become a massive supporter of Chris and of short track racing.” – David Byrd

Belardi Auto Racing and Chris Windom will be heading to the Kentucky Speedway for a refresher oval test, and to get Windom comfortable once again in the high speed Indy Lights machine. Practice for the 17th running of the Freedom 100 begins on May 20th. Follow the action all month long by following @belardiracing on social media.

JARETT ANDRETTI TO RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Third-Generation Racer to Compete in 2019 Indy Lights Freedom 100 with Andretti Autosport

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Friday, April 12, 2019) – Third-generation racer Jarett Andretti will see a dream come true May 24 when he climbs into an Andretti Autosport Indy Lights machine for the Freedom 100 – his first career Indy Lights race. Jarett is the son of John Andretti, grandson of Aldo Andretti and great nephew of Mario Andretti.

“To say I’m excited to run the Freedom 100 this year would be an understatement,” said Andretti. “Anytime you get a chance to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway it’s special. Obviously, Andretti Autosport has a great track record there and I’ve known all the mechanics on the cars for years – I can’t wait to get the Month of May started!” 

Currently competing with Andretti Autosport in the team’s Pirelli GT4 America effort, Andretti will join new teammates Oliver Askew and Robert Megennis for a Rookie Orientation day at Kentucky Speedway April 18.  He will become the seventh  member of the Andretti family to compete on hallowed ground in Indianapolis, joining the list that includes his father John, great uncle Mario, uncle Adam and cousins Michael, Jeff and Marco.

“I’m really happy to field a car at IMS for Jarett,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “Running in an Indy Lights car will be a new experience for him, and I know he’s up for the challenge. Our Indy Lights team has shown strong pace this season, and we have a Freedom 100 title to defend. Jarett is already a team driver on the GT4 side, and I’m confident he is going to fit into the Indy Lights team well. He will be a contender and an instant crowd favorite.” 

The youngest racing Andretti has carried on the family tradition and has championships in go-karts, the USAC Eastern Ignite Pavement Midget Series, the 410 Sprint Car division at the Lawrenceburg Speedway and is also an Indiana Sprint Car Series champion.  In addition, Andretti is the 2014 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of The Year and a former Rookie of The Year at the Oswego Speedway in the supermodified class.

Freedom 100 action begins Monday, May 20 with testing followed by Thursday qualifying and race day Friday, May 24. Andretti Autosport fields three full-time entries in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series with Askew (No. 28 Index Invest Dallara), Megennis (No. 27 Cybersecurity Dallara) and Ryan Norman (No. 48 Evo Dallara).

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