Friday, December 9, 2016

Shooting Starz'' 2016 edition - Indy Lights series Shines On'

Certainly Y'all remember watching the Lights finale from Laguna Seca Wayback in September, right? Chirp-Chirp, Bueller...

It's so L-O-N-G ago now... Funny how in our modern, instantaneous Now-Now-Now world, how three months ago seems like an eternity, eh? Especially when you've had a really good summer & fall's worth 'O traveling,  in what I've coined as my Summer 'O Camping!

Oh Yeah, it's somewhat coming back to me, as Tanks to my (No Fenders) BLOB's "Diary," I know why I missed listening to the Laguna Seca double Header outing via Zed Internetz, 'cause I was Out 'N Aboot camping with Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary ELLEN and Pixie-the-Wonderdog, who wasn't quite that wonderful after coming just scant inches from being a Coyote's breakfast early one morning at Chinook Pass; SHEISA!

Thus, I'm presumin' I-T musta been the penultimate round I tuned in to listen to one of my newest Fav' Announcers, Nicky "Salt" Yeoman calling the action from Watkins Glen - where Santi' effectively lost his stranglehold upon this year's championship.

Yep, I recall listening to Santiago Urrutia effectively having a meltdown at The Glen, first battling to retain his position up front by bangin' wheels,

with his aggression ultimately costing him a cut tyre and finishing last - which massively dented his then largish points lead...

And although the number of competitors dropped off slightly towards the end-of-season, naturally dipping after the series princely jewel, the Freedom 100 at Mother Speedway. Nevertheless, the Competizione was quite fierce with a very stiff grouping of Young lions seeking to win Mazda's three race IndyCar scholarship prize, including admittance to the following year's Indy 500 race.

The rookies were led by Uruguay's Santiago Urrutia scoring the most season victories for perennial powerhouse Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) with four W's - along with three Poles.

Sweden's Felix Rosenqvist scored an impressive three Poles and three wins aboard the #14 Balardi Auto Racing Dallara/Mazda mount in his abbreviated inaugural season. Most notably (impressing) by sweeping Toronto's streets by winning both rounds from Pole before being called back to Europe to fulfill his Mercedes "Junior Driver" obligations after ten starts.

Dean Stoneman won twice as a rookie for Mikey A's rejuvenated Andretti Autosport squad. Also making my day by winning at Indianapolis! After hoped for winner Zachery "Moose" Veach had faltered after starting up front aboard Balardi's lead mount...

Zach Veach, making his return after a year's absence was robbed at the season opener at St Pete when comfortably leading much of the race before suffering an electrical failure, showing his potential once again, ultimately winning three times for Balardi with two Pole positions garnered when coming on strong at season's end.

Sophomore Standouts included Ed Jones and Kyle Kiser, both winning twice apiece, with Jones returning with Carlin, scoring the most P1 Awards, with a Mega eight Poles this season! While Jones Puerto Rican team-mate was also victorious twice.

Kiser remained at Juncos Racing for his second Lights campaign, led the field "trice," starting from Pole (three times) en route to his maiden W' when leading wire-to-wire at Phoenix, and winning again at Laguna Seca in his best Lights campaign to date

Yet unfortunately the season will most likely be remembered for how the championship was won, albeit Carlin's Felix Serrall├ęs did absolutely nothing wrong per the rulebook by pulling aside for his team-mate, ensuring Carlin won the war.

Meanwhile Veach once again Blitzed the competition en route to his second win in the season's final three events - on his own accord, with nobody handin' him nothing!

Laguna Seca: Sept 11th
1) Ed Jones; 363
2) R-Santiago Urrutia; 361
3) Kyle Kiser; 334
4) Zach Veach; 332
5) R-Dean Stoneman; 316
(R Denotes Rookie)

As Jones and Serralles, who finished sixth overall  two wins apiece helped net Carlin the Teams championship with Urrutia taking little solace in winning Rookie Of the Year honours...

A few drivers of note whom regard keeping an eye upon for the upcoming 2017 Lights season include the likes of Aaron Telitz,  Garrett Grist and Nico Jamin.

Wisconsin native Telitz, winner of This year's Pro Mazda championship spent a day each sampling Schmidt Peterson's and Belardi Auto Racing's wares, finishing third fastest overall. As I'm hoping he'll go with Balardi and become champion, 'cause SPM's been there, done that way too many times!

Whilst the test's quickest Schue correctly followed instructions. Since when Derrick Daly tells Yuhs to get your Butt in the Seat; Hooah! With Daly being the Kuhnaidiun Garrett Grist's manager - whilst how can you ever turn down seat time with Lights stalwarts SPM, Eh!

As Grist's got a kOOL! Soundin' Name, albeit having replaced a somewhat local Surrey Northerner mid-season from Up North Eh! As in Vancouver, BC's Scott Hargrove, while Yuhs never know who Sam Schmidt will find to Filler-up' his stable of winning Lights cars.

Meanwhile Mikey A' (Andretti) was busy testing an unknown Frenchman to Mwah who also sounds promising, as Nico Jamin finished second quickest overall in his first ever Lights outing, now having just learned he's the reigning US F2000 champion.

But it'd be nice if Oh KanaDuh's Scott Hargrove could get a proper full season's ride, and I'd enjoy seeing the other Rahal return, as in Shawn Rayhall, who I think is focusing now upon Sports Cars instead...