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Frost Heats Up Barber by Leading Lights Practice

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Friday, April 29, 2022) – Danial Frost started the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama race weekend hot by pacing Friday’s sole Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires practice session.

Frost turned a best lap of 1 minute, 12.6511 seconds in the No. 68 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car around Barber Motorsports Park after being the first driver to dip below the 1:13 mark.

SEE: Practice Results

Frost, from Singapore, showed his strength throughout practice, besting his top lap of the session multiple times in the 45-minute practice around the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course.

“We’re just kind of getting in the rhythm of things and starting off the weekend pretty well,” Frost said. “It’s always about momentum, so we’ve got a good start. I think it’s going to be pretty good for the rest of the weekend right now.”

Last year’s Indy Pro 2000 champion Christian Rasmussen was second fastest in the No. 28 Road to Indy/Stellrecht car at 1:12.6684, with 2021 Barber-1 winner Linus Lundqvist third at 1:12.8248 in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car and Benjamin Pedersen fourth at 1:12.8544 in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD car.

Hunter McElrea rounded out the top five at 1:13.0577 in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport car.

So far this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, the Indy Lights field appears to be incredibly close on the time sheet. The top 10 drivers are separated by less than a second, as Jacob Abel produced the 10th-best time at 1:13.4244 in the No. 51 Abel Speedwagon, just .7733 of a second behind Frost’s quick time.

“Now we have to keep digging in and looking for more time, because these guys are going to be doing the exact same thing,” Frost said. “Fourteen cars behind me looking for the same spot as I am. I have to do the actual work and now look for where I can find a little bit more.”

Abel was at the center of the most noteworthy incident to come out of practice. As time was running out in the session, he exited Turn 4 side-by-side with Kyffin Simpson in the No. 21 TJ Speed Motorsports car. Abel dipped his right-side tires off track and did a 360-degree spin, but he sustained no damage to the car and continued.

Indy Lights will be back in action Saturday for practice at noon (ET), followed by qualifying at 3:35 p.m. The INDYCAR Live! streaming platform and the INDYCAR Radio Network will provide live coverage of both sessions.

About Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

Celebrating 35 years, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires develops drivers and teams to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Past champions include INDYCAR SERIES champions Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Paul Tracy and Cristiano da Matta. In 2021, 20 drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES were Indy Lights graduates, including rising stars and race winners Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay. The 2022 season consists of 14 races in the United States. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Indy Lights, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, please visit For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit

About Cooper Tire

Cooper Tire, a subsidiary of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT), specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of passenger car, light truck, medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. Cooper is headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, with manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design operations located in more than one dozen countries around the world. For more information on Cooper, visit or

About Goodyear

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 55 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to

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

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.

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

Road to Indy TV Returns for Season 6 – Expands Exclusive Coverage of all Three Ladder Series

Road to Indy TV Returns for Season 6
Expands Exclusive Coverage of all Three Ladder Series

PALMETTO, Fla. – The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will feature enhanced coverage on Road to Indy TV as it enters its 10th year as one of the most successful driver development programs in the world. Road to Indy TV debuted in 2014 providing behind-the-scenes access and exposure to drivers, teams and personnel on the ladder system in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The collaboration between Andersen Promotions and Pro Racing Group to form Road To Indy TV has resulted in a number of firsts, including Road to Indy becoming the first American racing series with a dedicated broadcast channel on demand – currently available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku – and the first open-wheel series to have an official App on Xbox One.

The 2019 season of Road to Indy TV will continue to see further enrichments with more coverage delivered directly to fans including live content on race weekends streamed to Road to Indy TV’s 300,000+ followers on Facebook. The segments will bring the paddock to the fans and provide live updates throughout events of everything Road to Indy.

Road to Indy TV will continue to produce full post-race highlight shows and Season 6 will now see sections of the shows posted on social media every other day in the week following a race with the full episode available on the Road To Indy TV App, website and dedicated broadcast channels. The shows will provide more screen time opportunities for drivers as they host various segments in the expanded format.

A new partnership between Road to Indy TV and Presented by Cooper Tires – which provides dedicated coverage of the Road to Indy – will be an integral part of the shows, bringing new storylines and programming including a new “False Grid” podcast that will help fans learn more about drivers on the Road to Indy in addition to the latest news for each series.

“With today’s media, we at Pro Racing Group understand that the consumer wants the product immediately,” said JP Manterola, Road To Indy TV Executive Director and founder of Pro Racing Group. “If not, the interest gets lost. That is why we have chosen to move into live content during the race weekends and to increase the frequency of the edited TV show with shorter segments that are released every other day. We are greatly enhancing our social media presence in 2019 and look forward to the addition of our partnership with TSO Ladder.”

Road to Indy TV will also continue with live streaming and live timing coverage of Road to Indy race weekend on-track sessions on the Road to Indy TV App which, in addition to the Road to Indy arcade-style game, are available as free downloads at the App Store (iPhones) and Google Play (Android).

“Our goal when we started Road to Indy TV was to provide an avenue of additional exposure for all of our drivers, teams and partners and the tremendous competition we have across the three series,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “JP and his team at Pro Racing Group continually strive to enhance our initial vision and continue to knock it out of the ballpark on this project.

“Adding drivers as hosts is a win-win as fans can get to know the drivers and drivers gain experience in front of the camera, which furthers our efforts in off-track training to prepare drivers as they move up the ladder. Bringing TSO Ladder into the loop, who have been so supportive of our series with great coverage, will provide a new perspective. We look forward to showcasing what should be another exciting season of racing with Road to Indy TV.”

The 2019 Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season will kick off with its traditional Spring Training on March 2-4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway followed by the season-opener March 8-10 on the streets of St. Petersburg.

Andersen Promotions Announces 2019 Road to Indy Schedule

Andersen Promotions Announces 2019 Road to Indy Schedule

PALMETTO, Fla. (September 25, 2018) – Andersen Promotions today announced the 2019 Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires schedule which will feature 12 events in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series including a new venue with the addition of Circuit of The Americas and a return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the season finale of all three levels of the globally recognized driver development platform.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship calendars all will feature a mix of ovals, street circuits and road courses to properly train drivers to move up the ladder system with the ultimate goal of reaching IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500.

Following an August 1 announcement by INDYCAR and Andersen Promotions, the future of Indy Lights is bright, strengthened by a five-year plan to increase team and driver participation for the final stepping stone to the top level. In addition to an increased champion’s purse of $1.1 million built on a three-race IndyCar program including the 2020 Indianapolis 500, a reduction in entrant budgets was unveiled alongside revised INDYCAR driver licensing guidelines and an expansion of the IndyCar testing program.

Indy Lights has become the backbone of IndyCar with 25 of the 33 starters in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 as graduates, including its last five champions. BN Racing recently announced its plans to expand to Indy Lights in 2019, and Team Pelfrey will relocate from its Florida base to Indianapolis to focus on returning with a full-season campaign next year. Interest in the series is high and additional announcements will be made in the coming weeks. In the interim, all eyes have been on series champion Patricio O’Ward and vice champion and Freedom 100 winner Colton Herta, who made their IndyCar Series debut recently at Sonoma Raceway and have been confirmed to the new Harding Steinbrenner Racing team for the full 2019 IndyCar season.

With the highly successful debut of the Tatuus PM-18 this season – finalizing the revitalization of all three levels with state-of-the-art equipment – both Pro Mazda and USF2000 look poised for strong fields in 2019. Reigning USF2000 team champions Pabst Racing has already announced its expansion into Pro Mazda with a two-car effort, and new teams Jay Howard Driver Development and Miller Vinatieri Motorsports will enter the USF2000 fray. ArmsUp Motorsports is also looking at the potential of an expansion to Pro Mazda or the potential for a third car in USF2000.

Details on the full prize packages for each series – including the champion’s scholarships to advance to Pro Mazda and Indy Lights – are currently being finalized and will be announced in the near future.

Prior to kicking off the 2019 season, two events remain on the current calendar. Following the conclusion of the eighth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend, a second Open Test has been scheduled at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course in Homestead, Fla., on December 3/4, receiving accolades throughout the paddock. The third annual Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout featuring 20 champions of junior open-wheel and karting series from North and South America as well as Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa will take place in December with venue details and the judging panel to be announced this week.

The traditional Road to Indy annual Spring Training will see all levels return to Homestead-Miami Speedway, on March 2-4, 2019 for three days of on-track action on the 2.21-mile road course. The first two rungs – Pro Mazda and USF2000 –  will take to the track on Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3, with a total of four hours of testing time. Indy Lights will have its own dedicated day of action on Monday, March 4, comprising five hours of track time.

Spring Training will include the invaluable Road to Indy Driver Summit Program. Activities include a comprehensive competition presentation, media training – which most recently was hosted by prominent authorities and noted broadcasters Leigh Diffey and Kevin Lee – and unique presentations on the sixth annual Cooper Tires social media hashtag program and Road to Indy TV, which also returns for its sixth season.

The 2019 Indy Lights calendar will feature an 18-race, 10-event schedule comprised of six road course, two street circuit and two oval events highlighted by the crown jewel in the schedule – the Freedom 100 on Carb Day for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. Coverage can be found on NBC Sports Gold as part of the INDYCAR package as well as Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, Xbox One, Road To Indy TV and the Road To Indy TV App.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2019 Schedule

March 9/10 Streets of St. Petersburg 1.8-mile street course*
March 23/24 Circuit of The Americas 3.427-mile road course*
May 10/11 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 24 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval
June 22/23 Road America 4.014-mile road course*
July 13/14 Streets of Toronto 1.786-mile street course*
July 27/28 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
August 24 Gateway Motorsports Park 1.25-mile oval
August 31/Sept. 1 Portland International Raceway 1.964-mile road course*
September 21/22 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca  2.238-mile road course*
*Doubleheader events

Open tests are scheduled at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 4 (road course), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 9, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on May 20 and an August date to be confirmed at Gateway Motorsports Park.

The Pro Mazda schedule will feature 16 races at nine venues consisting of five road course, two street circuit and two oval events. In support of the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, both Pro Mazda and USF2000 will return for the Carb Night Classic on May 24 at Lucas Oil Raceway, which is undergoing a $10M-plus renovation. Pro Mazda will be featured on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Xbox One as well as Road To Indy TV and on the Road To Indy TV App.

Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires 2019 Schedule

March 9/10 Streets of St. Petersburg 1.8-mile street course*
May 10/11 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 24 Lucas Oil Raceway .686-mile oval
June 22/23 Road America 4.014-mile road course*
July 13/14 Streets of Toronto 1.786-mile street course*
July 27/28 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
August 24 Gateway Motorsports Park 1.25-mile oval
August 31/Sept. 1 Portland International Raceway 1.964-mile road course*
September 21/22 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*
*Doubleheader events

Pro Mazda test days are scheduled for the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course on March 2/3, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 9, Lucas Oil Raceway on May 13 and 23, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 26/27 (TBC) and an August date to be confirmed at Gateway Motorsports Park.

USF2000 will see 15 races at eight events consisting of five road course, two street circuit and one oval event. Like Pro Mazda, USF2000 coverage will be featured on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Xbox One as well as Road To Indy TV and on the Road To Indy TV App.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship 2019 Schedule

March 9/10 Streets of St. Petersburg 1.8-mile street course*
May 10/11 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 24 Lucas Oil Raceway .686-mile oval
June 22/23 Road America 4.014-mile road course*
July 13/14 Streets of Toronto 1.786-mile street course*
July 27/28 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
August 31/Sept. 1 Portland International Raceway 1.964-mile road course*
September 21/22 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*
*Doubleheader events

2019 test days are scheduled for the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course on March 2/3, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 9, Lucas Oil Raceway on May 13 and 23 and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 26/27 (TBC).

“Assembling next year’s schedule was the hardest it has been in recent years and that’s because we have too many options, which is a nice problem to have,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We want to be cognizant of team budgets and also have a well-rounded platform for our drivers alongside key markets for series, team and driver sponsors and partners. I am happy with our final blend of events and want to thank all of the promoters for working with us. Portland was a great event this year, and we look forward to returning to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and adding what will be a tremendous outing at Circuit of The Americas.

“We have a great platform in place but we always want to be better, and we will be looking at ways to improve for 2019. Adding Jonny Baker as our new Series Development Director was a first step. We are also working hard on the sponsorship side for a new partner to entitle the Road to Indy. There really is no off-season in racing and this one will be busier than usual for everyone at Andersen Promotions, but we welcome and look forward to the challenge and the opportunities that lie ahead. We have the full support of Jay Frye and his team at INDYCAR, and I feel the Road to Indy will be back stronger than ever next year.”

Motorsports Veteran Jonny Baker Joins Andersen Promotions

Motorsports Veteran Jonny Baker Joins Andersen Promotions
Baker Will Play Key Role as Series Development Director

PALMETTO, Fla. (September 6, 2018) – A familiar and respected face around the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires paddock, Jonny Baker will join Andersen Promotions in a newly created position as Series Development Director for all three levels of the world renowned ladder system. Baker will step into his new post immediately, following the conclusion of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season finales at Portland International Raceway this past weekend.

Baker’s role will be multifaceted but his primary focus will be as a liaison with current teams and drivers to understand their challenges, assist in development of the Mazda Road to Indy in the recruitment of prospective drivers and teams, and as an advisor to Andersen Promotions on key areas for continued growth. Baker will be visiting racing events around the world in his new series development role, and will be providing feedback to ensure that the three ladder series remain competitive on a global basis compared to other motorsport platforms on offer.

“I am very excited for this new opportunity with Andersen Promotions,” said Baker. “For a number of reasons in my life, I had to take the tough decision to move on from Team Pelfrey, and I can’t thank Dale Pelfrey and the team enough for all they have done for me. I am passionate about this sport and the Mazda Road to Indy and, having spoken with Dan [Andersen] and Michelle [Kish], it became clear that there was a very exciting opportunity to become involved with the series. I have had a relationship with them since 2007, and it has come back around full circle.

“Having been a former driver and team manager, I understand the paddock from both a driver and team perspective, and there are several key areas where I feel I can have an immediate impact. Getting young and exciting driving talent interested and involved with the Mazda Road to Indy has been one of my key roles in years gone by, and I am excited to continue this in my new capacity. The Mazda Road to Indy has so much to offer with its development system, scholarships, track time, venues, etc., and I will be helping to spread this message far and wide.”

Co-founder alongside Anders Krohn of the highly successful CoForce consulting, marketing and digital agency in 2011, Baker most recently served as General Manager for Team Pelfrey’s USF2000 and Pro Mazda programs since 2014, overseeing multiple race and championship wins. In addition to his former role as Director of Driver Development at Andersen Racing, he was also Track Manager at Andersen RacePark for five years, from start-up to successful development of the corporate and competition karting facility in Palmetto, Fla. Baker holds a Business Administration Degree from the University of the West of England.

Baker’s racing exploits include British Formula Ford, USF2000 and Pro Mazda from 2005 to 2008.

“We are very excited to welcome Jonny to our team,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “I have known him for over a decade, and believe he will be a tremendous asset not only to Andersen Promotions but our teams and drivers. This new position is something we have been thinking about for a while, but we needed the right person. When we learned he was available, it was a no brainer.

“Jonny already has a working relationship with our current staff, partners and most of the paddock and is up-to-date on everything Mazda Road to Indy-wise. As opposed to bringing someone in from the outside and getting them up to speed, this will be a seamless transition and he can hit the ground running. We have a great product in place, but we are always looking at ways to be better. Jonny will be a welcome addition.”

Baker will make his first trackside appearance in his new role at the annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 22/23.

Andersen Promotions Signs Three-Year Agreement with Green Savoree Racing Promotions

PALMETTO, Fla. (August 29, 2017) – All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires – the world’s most effective open-wheel development ladder – will continue to enjoy competition at three high profile venues as Andersen Promotions and Green Savoree Racing Promotions today announced a new multi-year contract.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will all be in action on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, through 2020. All three events respectively known as the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Indy Toronto and Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be highlighted by rounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“Eight years ago the Mazda Road to Indy’s relationship with Green Savoree began with USF2000 at St. Petersburg, and over the years it has been a tremendous partnership,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “This renewal to have the entire Mazda Road to Indy at all three Green Savoree events through 2020 is the perfect foundation for what we believe to be the best calendar of road courses, street circuits and oval venues designed to train young drivers for careers in professional racing. Kim [Green] and Kevin [Savoree] have three of the premier events on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule – a testament to their skills in organizing and promoting – and we are very pleased to be a part of their success.”

The waterfront street course at St. Petersburg, the cosmopolitan Toronto street circuit – the second longest-running street race – and picturesque Mid-Ohio Sports Car course have played host to the Mazda Road to Indy since the inception of the INDYCAR-sanctioned ladder system in 2010.

”The racing competition and the depth of driver talent showcased in the Mazda Road to Indy have been fantastic. Dan (Andersen) and his Andersen Promotions team have done a phenomenal job of building each step of the development ladder for open-wheel racing’s future stars,” said Kevin Savoree, president and chief operating officer of Green Savoree Racing Promotions. “We’re proud to have all three series return and be key features at all three of our INDYCAR venues for an additional three years.”

The Mazda Road to Indy provides opportunities for drivers from around the world to progress all the way from the grassroots to the pinnacle of the sport in North America. This year, over $3.5 million in Mazda Scholarships and awards are on offer to help drivers take the next steps in their careers, with the Indy Lights champion claiming a prize valued at $1 million to ensure entry into three Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2018, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500. All three levels will wrap up the 2017 season this weekend at Watkins Glen International.

Franzoni Reclaims Points Lead with Gateway Win

Madison, Ill. – The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires made its inaugural visit to Gateway Motorsports Park a memorable one as title rivals Victor Franzoni and Anthony Martin once again traded the lead of the championship as Franzoni claimed his fifth victory of the season in this afternoon’s St. Louis Pro Mazda Oval Challenge Presented by Cooper Tires. The pair now share five wins apiece.
Martin, of Cape Motorsports, took pole position in qualifying earlier this afternoon – his sixth pole of the season – with Juncos Racing’s Franzoni a close second. Martin held the advantage at the start but a yellow followed shortly after the green flag following a spin by Jeff Green (Juncos Racing) and Brendan Puderbach (Fat Boy Racing!). The battle for the lead resumed on Lap 3 with some entertaining side-by-side racing between the two.
Carlos Cunha of Team Pelfrey, who qualified fourth, managed to pass teammate TJ Fischer and briefly enter the fray at the front of the field. Franzoni made several attempts to get around Martin on the high side and finally made the move stick on Lap 18. Once past Martin, Franzoni romped to the checkered flag with a 4.6 second lead claiming the bonus points for most laps led and fastest race lap.
Cunha held off Fischer to claim his fourth podium of the season and narrow the gap to Fischer to just five points for third in the championship.
Jeff Green recovered from his earlier spin to pass the third Team Pelfrey car of Nikita Lastochkin and finish fifth, earning the Staubli Award. The Quarter Master Hard Charger Award went to World Speed Motorsports’ Sting Ray Robb with a gain of two positions. Juncos Racing earned the PFC Award.
Franzoni now leads Martin by two points (287 to 285) with the final two races on the docket coming down to the season finale at Watkins Glen International next weekend.
Victor Franzoni (#23 Juncos Racing): “After qualifying, I wasn’t sure we could do it, since I was three-tenths slower than him. We thought, we’ll make some big changes and just hope to survive and finish second. But when I passed him and started to pull away, I knew the changes worked. Here, we had to have a little bit more respect for each other, because the ovals are more dangerous and things happen so fast. But both of us were so focused on winning. I had to try outside in Turn One on the first lap and it was crazy oversteer, I thought I would go into the wall. I tried a couple of lines until I found one that worked. I think we’ll be really strong next weekend, so I’m very confident for the championship.”
Anthony Martin (#8 Mazda/Burgess BLA – Cape Motorsports): “We were fighting really hard at the start. We struggled with the car a little bit during the race while Victor and the Juncos team had a really good car and really good race pace. He was just able to make the car stick in Turn One and get around, and I couldn’t stay with him. We were fast all weekend so it’s a shame to finish it like that, but we took good points, and he’s only two points ahead. It doesn’t matter who’s ahead and who’s behind, you go in to win the race. At this point, I have to get all the points I can so you forget the championship, really. You have to win, there’s nothing else. I’m going to go into the last two races striving to do my best. Anything can happen at Watkins Glen so we’ll go in with guns blazing.”
Carlos Cunha (#81 Team Pelfrey): “I think ovals are amazing! I thought it would be easy but when we came here for the test two weeks ago, I realized it would not be easy. I actually touched the wall twice during the race. You need to be technical all the time and tell the engineers the right things because the car is the most important. You have to drive on the limit and you get what you get – and for us, that was third place today. Victor and Anthony had better place but for my first oval, it was good. I had no mistakes and we finished on the podium. I’m really excited to do another oval.”

Urrutia Wins a Thriller on Indy Lights Return to Gateway Motorsports Park 

Fourth-place Finish Means Kaiser Merely Needs to Start Practice at Finale
MADISON, Ill. – Santi Urrutia claimed a last-gasp victory in this evening’s Mazda St. Louis Indy Lights Oval Challenge Presented by Cooper Tires at the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval. The Uruguayan’s second win of the season for Belardi Auto Racing came after a tense battle with fellow South American Juan Piedrahita, who started from the pole position for Team Pelfrey but had to be content with a career-best second place finish.
Second-generation Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires racer Colton Herta finished third for Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing, narrowly ahead of fellow Californian Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing). The result means Kaiser merely needs to take the green flag for practice at next weekend’s season finale on the Watkins Glen International road circuit in upstate New York to put the coveted championship title beyond the reach of his rivals and secure a Mazda Scholarship valued at $1 million which will guarantee him entry into three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Indy Lights’ return to Gateway Motorsports Park following a 14-year absence proved to be a huge success as the large and appreciative crowd was treated to a thrilling 75-lap race.
Both Urrutia and Herta, who arrived at Gateway tied for second place in the championship, knew they needed to win the two remaining races to have any chance of beating Kaiser to the crown. In short, it was a long shot.
Urrutia, who lost out on the 2016 title in heartbreaking style at the season finale, did his level best to secure the additional championship point for pole position, only to be denied by series veteran Piedrahita – by a scant 0.006 of a second. Nevertheless, he knew his dream was still alive when he lined up on the front row of the grid.
The opening stages were marred by a succession of incidents. Aaron Telitz, last year’s winner of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, was particularly unfortunate when his Soul Red Belardi Auto Racing Dallara-Mazda was collected by a couple of spinners on the very first lap.
When the race finally got under way, with Piedrahita narrowly maintaining his advantage, Kaiser laid clean his intentions by passing Urrutia for second place around the outside in Turn Two. He didn’t hold it for long as Urrutia repaid the favor on Lap 15 and immediately began to pressure Piedrahita for the lead.
Kaiser, meanwhile, soon slipped back into the clutches of a battling Nico Jamin (Andretti Autosport), Herta – who earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award, Kaiser’s teammate Nico Dapero and Matheus Leist (Carlin), who had won the two previous ovals raced this season and quickly fought his way up from a lowly 12th on the grid.
Urrutia finally found a chink in Piedrahita’s armor on Lap 42, when he sliced past on the exit of Turn Four, but by then he had already lost any chance of gaining one of the other bonus points – for leading most laps. A little later in the race, on Lap 61, Zachary Claman DeMelo (Carlin) put the final bonus point – for fastest race lap – beyond Urrutia’s reach when he turned a lap in 28.0370 seconds, an average speed of 160.502 mph.
Still, Urrutia had eked out a margin of almost 1.5 seconds with 15 laps remaining, so at least the race win seemed to be well within his grasp. Furthermore, by then Kaiser had been overtaken firstly by Jamin and then by Leist and DeMelo.
But then the complexion of the race changed again when Carlin teammates Neil Alberico and Garth Rickards, who were battling for the 11th position, tangled with the slower car of debutant Chad Boat (Belardi Auto Racing), who earned the Staubli Award.
Officials wisely displayed the red flag while the wreckage was cleared away, leaving enough time for what was expected to be a five-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Piedrahita promptly made an opportunistic move around the outside of Urrutia at the restart, only for the yellows to fly again following an incident involving the third and fourth-placed cars of Jamin and Leist.
The green flew again with just three laps remaining. Urrutia knew it was now or never. He and Piedrahita battled side by side for almost two full laps before Urrutia completed the pass and sped away to a brilliant victory. Herta emerged in third, while Kaiser, who narrowly escaped becoming embroiled in the drama, crossed the line in fourth to ensure that his own dream was almost accomplished.
Kaiser now holds an unassailable 31-point edge as the series heads to Watkins Glen next weekend, although he will still need to turn up and practice for the race in order to be assured of the championship spoils.
The Team Championship remains more finely poised, with Andretti Autosport holding a 11-point lead, 364-353, over Belardi Auto Racing. Last year’s champions Carlin now trail in third on 345 points.
Santi Urrutia (#5 Belardi Auto Racing w/SPM): “It was one of the best races of the year – competitive, clean and really exciting. It was good racing against Juan. He was quicker than me on the straight and I was better in Turns One and Two so when he made a small mistake in Turn One, I was able to get past. When the red came out, I was worried because I thought he would be able to pass me on the restart. When that happened, I knew it was my last chance and I had to try to get by. I’m happy – I did what I had to do today; the rest was out of our control. We had a difficult start to the season but the second half we have been really strong, and I hope races like this will help me be in IndyCar next year.”
Juan Piedrahita (#2 Petrosur-Team Pelfrey): “There were two perfect cars this weekend: my car and Santi’s car. It just happened that his car was perfect in Turns One and Two and my car was perfect in Turns Three and Four, so we could get a run on each other but not hold it. I gave it my all today. It feels awesome to be up front, but I’m heartbroken not to get the win for the team. But Santi did a great job. I kept hoping the race would end, because it was so difficult mentally. I didn’t know what he was going to do. I had a run on him, then he had a run on me – it was crazy. We both did a great job and I hope I can get the win at Watkins Glen.”
Colton Herta (#98 Deltro Energy Mazda-Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing): “It was discombobulating, between the yellows and the red flag, so it was a tough race, but I also think it was one of the best races of the year. We came into the red flag in seventh and made some good moves on the restart. I think if we had a few more laps we could have challenged for the win. The year has gone so quickly, and I’m happy with what we’ve done this year. I didn’t expect to be in the title chase our first year; we planned on a two-year program. So we’re ahead of the game.”
Pos Car # Driver Diff Laps Status
1 5 Santi Urrutia –.—- 75 Running
2 2 Juan Piedrahita 0.4518 75 Running
3 98 Colton Herta – R 0.9641 75 Running
4 18 Kyle Kaiser 2.5437 75 Running
5 31 Nicolas Dapero – R 3.0843 75 Running
6 13 Zachary Claman de Melo 3.1337 75 Running
7 28 Dalton Kellett 4.1024 75 Running
8 48 Ryan Norman – R 6.4154 75 Running
9 51 Shelby Blackstock 74 Running
10 26 Matheus Leist – R 73 Running
11 27 Nico Jamin – R 68 Running
12 22 Neil Alberico 61 Contact
13 11 Garth Rickards – R 61 Contact
14 84 Chad Boat – R 58 Contact
15 9 Aaron Telitz – R 1 Contact

Meet the Contenders: Matheus Leist

Meet the Contenders: Matheus Leist

Brazilian rookie Matheus Leist made his mark in his debut season of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. With two races remaining, the teenager is in mathematical reach of points leader Kyle Kaiser of Juncos Racing and still has an outside chance of winning the championship for the Carlin team.

To say that this has already been an epic year for Matheus Leist might be an understatement. The 19-year-old Brazilian came to the United States after winning the BRDC British Formula 3 title, joining 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champions Carlin. A year after he took that championship, he lies fourth in the 2017 title chase, 48 points back, with an outstanding rookie season that saw him earn victories on two ovals, including the prestigious Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Add to that a test in an Indy car, and this has been a season to remember as Leist inches closer to his dream: a ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Leist might have been a new name in America at the start of the season but he was already well known to the Carlin team, having earned the British F3 title over Carlin driver Ricky Collard. With the team’s championship-winning driver, Ed Jones, graduating to the Verizon IndyCar Series, Trevor Carlin’s eponymous team searched for a new driver to bring to the U.S. and looked no further than the driver who had cost them the F3 championship. Leist knew he had a significant mountain to climb with learning a new team, a new car and an entire series worth of new racetracks – in a new country.

Matheus Leist is one of three drivers in contention for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire title. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

“I knew a few of the Carlin guys from last year” said Leist, “so it was not hard at all to get used to the team. It was much more about getting used to the car, the tires and the tracks and just living in America. The team has helped me so much this year, to improve and to grow as a driver. I felt comfortable with them from the first day. It’s not just about the racing, it’s about being friends as well. I have a great relationship with my engineer Steve Barker and my mechanics Ryan Lall and Rob Hothi. We’re good friends away from the racetrack. I have a great relationship with my teammates as well. I live near Miami Beach, only about an hour from the Carlin shop, so I can go up to the workshop, hang out with them and do some simulator work, which is nice.”

The series schedule pushed Leist into the deep end of the pool at the outset, with his first race in America taking place in the narrow confines of St. Petersburg, Fla. Leist qualified a promising fourth for the opening double-header, but mechanical issues in both races meant he finished back in the field. He showed more form at Barber Motorsports Park, finishing fourth and seventh in the two races on the fast and flowing road course. He arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hoping to turn things around, but it was a well-timed conversation with Carlin team manager Colin Hale that really began to change his mindset.

“In the first qualifying session at the grand prix I was ninth and I thought ‘my God, I’m lost.’ Colin called me into the office and told me that he knew I could be up there, that I could be better than I was showing. From there, I did the fastest lap in Race One, qualified third for Saturday’s race and finished third to earn my first podium.”

Later that month came the series’ marquee event: The Freedom 100, held on Carb Day ahead of the Indianapolis 500. It would be Leist’s first race on an oval, but anyone who expected him to be intimidated could not have been familiar with either the young Brazilian’s demeanor or the oval aptitude of the Carlin team.

“It was so crazy, my first time racing on an oval. I remembered seeing interviews with some of the European drivers saying that they would never race on an oval, that it was crazy. It is crazy, but only a little bit! The first day at Homestead was a bit difficult but it was exciting. It was so fast and so fun. To be honest, after this summer, I’d rather race on an oval than a road course. That’s crazy.

“The car was just perfect that whole week at Indianapolis and I felt very comfortable,” Leist continued. “Everything was perfect. From the first lap of practice to the green flag at the Freedom 100, we did not make any changes to the car – it was just sit down and drive. I was very relaxed the morning of the race. I told my father that it would be a very tough race, because there had been so many passes in the previous years. I was on pole but I did not expect to be out front all race. And then I led every lap and won the race. It was just unbelievable for everyone, with all the people in Victory Lane. I felt like I was dreaming.”

With his Freedom 100 success fresh in his mind, Leist qualified a disappointing 10th for the second oval race of the year, at the .894-mile Iowa Speedway. In hindsight, his sudden appearance at the front of the field at the restart should probably not have been a surprise.

“The week before the race, I watched a lot of races from past years and everyone was saying that you needed to qualify up front because it was so difficult to overtake. When I qualified 10th I thought ‘what am I supposed to do now?’ I was trying to pass another car about 15 laps into the race and I couldn’t get by, so I tried the high line and it worked very well. Coming back to the restart after the yellow, I stayed high and overtook two or three cars in Turn Two. I figured out from there how to win and I think it was one of the best races of my life. It was really cool.”

Before Indy, Leist was 10th in the championship, 52 points out of the lead. But with the podium at the grand prix, the victory in the Freedom 100 and another win on the road course at Road America, Leist found himself in the thick of the title chase, up to second position and only 21 points out. Heading to Gateway, he lies fourth, 48 points behind. It’s a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.

“I was last in the championship coming away from St. Pete and it seemed impossible. I was still figuring out how to drive the car at Barber and getting used to the longer races, and everything changed at Indy. I started dreaming of the championship. I still think I can win, even though it is difficult. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season but I do think it’s been impressive, with the important races we’ve won – especially the two ovals. It doesn’t matter if we win or not, we’ve already done many good things.”

Matheus Leist leads the field at Road America (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Among those “good things” in 2017 was a test of Andretti Autosport’s Indy car at Road America in June. It was almost a surreal moment for Leist, realizing just how far he had come in such a short amount of time.

“It’s crazy to think about it. Colin reminds me that last year at this time I was driving British Formula 3 at Oulton Park, and this year I won the Freedom 100 and tested an Indy car! It was another dream come true for me, it was so amazing. I remember being young and my brother and I talking about IndyCar and Formula One and now I was driving one of those cars. It makes me want to move forward and do my best, to impress people so I can one day be winning the Verizon IndyCar Series championship and the Indy 500.”

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