Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Indy Lights Notes, Updates

First off, congrats to Sarah, Andy, and the good folks at Sarah Fisher Racing on their new arrival! Welcome, Zoey!

I figured it was a good time to go over some of the latest and greatest from the Firestone Indy Lights Series:

-I didn’t get a chance to mention this before, but it’s pretty neat to see sprint car driver (and native Hoosier) Jacob Wilson get some time in Indy Lights! If you missed it, the 21 year-old Crawfordsville, IN native will be doing an oval test with Belardi Auto Racing at Kentucky next week. It sounds He’s got a nice resume, and would likely be fun to watch in the series. Owner Brian Belardi seemed to agree, stating in their press release “I think it’s important to integrate those different types of talent into the development program we have feeding into the IZOD IndyCar series.” I couldn't agree more.

-Josef Newgarden just about has the championship wrapped up, but there’s still plenty to discuss about him. Kyle Lavigne’s excellent article on Josef over at ICN (free to register!) quoted the top American prospect as wanting not just a ride, but a quality one for next year if he moves up. Said Newgarden, "I can tell you what, I’m not interested in just becoming an IndyCar driver, that’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to just be in the IndyCar Series. I want to be a successful driver in that series. I want to win races and I want to win titles. If the right situation isn’t present, then possibly moving up is not the right move. That’s definitely the way I would look at it".

I’m excited to see where he ends up in 2012. I think he’s going to be impressive when he tests with teams, and I hope the scholarship is enough to find him a spot.

-It’s a bit early, but as Star Mazda finishes up their season at Laguna Seca, you have to start wondering who will be making the transition to Lights for 2012. Tristan Vautier and Connor de Phillippi seem likely, but you have to wonder what drivers like JV Horto or Nick Andries will do next year. Meanwhile, Sage Karam will likely return to Star Mazda in '12 to fight for that championship, so I'd expect any jump he made to Lights to be still a year off.

-It’s cool Mike Larrison is getting his shot at Vegas in the #26 for Andretti Autosport, but I still bad for Peter Demspey. He has some serious talent, and between the O2RT fiasco and a partial season at AA, I feel like he never did find his full groove, despite four podiums. I hope he’s back in 2012, because he’s got the chops to be a serious contender.

-I hate to end on a sad note, but Sam Schmidt Motorsports lost their Indy Lights Team Manager Monday evening. Chris Griffis was only 45, but had overseen SSM’s dominant reign in Indy Lights. Our most sincere condolences to his family and his team on their heartbreaking loss.

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