As it appears to be a Good ‘Ol donnybrook between Mikey A’s team and the multi-car HMD Motorsports concern for Top of Ye Pops…
This weekend, the Road to Indy’s “Premiere” Category, i.e.; Indy Lights holds the first of it’s three Double Header weekends at Mother Speedway, which for those of you with that Dastardly Peacock service can watch today and tomorrow. Or for those of us Visually Challenged, Ahem Blind, they’re also Available on the IndyCar Radio Network.
And although I still think it’s a Bad idea to Not run the Freedom 100 anymore, arguably Indy Lights signature event at Mother Speedway. Nonetheless, I like to believe that Indy Lights is making positive gains, even if appearing only minutely. But Arse-sumedly with Penske Entertainment having reacquired Indy Lights from Anderson Promotions, and installing former racer and USAC Official Levi Jones as it’s Series Director, the final rung on the Road to Indy ladder will indeed move forwards…
From what I can ascertain, Thars a “Boomp” of one car to this year’s field vs. last year’s, i.e.; 14 entries vs. 13. Along with three brand new Lights teams, one being rebranded and four leaving the series.
There’s seven rookies in this year’s field from six Nations, All with Diverse racing Backgrounds…
Abel Motorsports (2)
#11 Antonio Serravalle, Canada
#51 (R) Jacob Abel, USA
Abel Motorsports is a Family racing team located in new facilities in Speedway, Indiana, previously having contested the Road to Indy’s Pro 2000 Category, and making their Debut in Lights this year.
As Jacob Abel began his Single Seater career contesting the U.S. Honda backed F4 Series, before moving up to what then was the F3 Americas series, now rebranded as the FR Americas Championship. Followed by two partial seasons in Indy Pro 2000 along with racing GT3 Sports Cars in the World challenge series.
While Jacob’s presumably the Only Lights Driver who’s contested a round of Robby Gordon’s Stadium Trucks series, having done so last year at Nashville’s IndyCar race, Yeehaw!
Antonio Serravalle returns for his second Lights season after racing for his own “Cobbled” together Lights team, having finished 12th Overall. As the 19yr Old Kuhnuck’s followed a similar progression with stints in FR Americas, etc. and hasn’t ever finished in the Top 10 Standings of any Single Seater series contested.
Andretti Autosport (4)
#2 Sting Ray Robb, USA
#27 (R) Hunter McElrea, New Zealand
#28 (R) Christian Rasmussen, Denmark
#83 Mathew Brabham, Australia
This is one of the two “Powerhouse” Lights team’s on the Grid, with Mikey a’s team seeing former Juncos Racing Lights Driver Sting Ray Robb, the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 Champion joining the Multi Lights Championship winning team for his second Lights campaign. Whilst former Andretti Autosport Lights Driver Mattie B’, aka Mathew Brabham makes his return after seven years out of the series.
As Brabham took a fortuitous win at the St Pete season opener when leader and Andretti teammate Christian Rasmussen who’d led much of the race, ran Out of Fuel with less than two laps remaining!
Meanwhile, Andretti teammate McElrea who’d started from Pole, lost the back end of his racecar and Crashed Out on lap 13! Leaving the Door Open for Brabham, who’s last Lights start came Wayback in 2015 at Long Beach to lead just the final two laps, scoring his first Lights win since long ago in May, 2014 on Indianapolis’s Road Corse! As Mattie B’ like All Lights racers Hopes to win the Championship in order to resume his Stillborn IndyCar career…
Kiwi’ Hunter McElrea is seemingly Fast, but has had multiple collisions in the season’s first two races!
Having won the 2018 Australian Formula 4 Championship with 13 wins in his second season, McElrea won the U.S. F2000 Shootout Scholarship prize and finished Runner-up in the 2019 U.S. f2000 Championship. Hunter then spent the next two seasons contesting the Indy Pro 2000 Championship, scoring multiple wins enroute to a best finish of third Overall in 2021 before graduation to Indy Lights.
Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen is a multiple Single Seater Championship winning Driver, having secured the U.S. F2000 title in his second season with nine wins and eight Poles.
Then the Dane’ won the 2021 Indy Pro 2000 title in his Rookie season with seven wins, scoring Both titles driving for Jay Howard before graduating to Indy Lights, where He fills the #28 Andretti Autosport seat previously occupied by Kyle Kirkwood, Just Sayin’. As Rasmussen gets my nod for One of the three Lights champions candidates…
Force Indy (1)
#99 (R) Ernie Francis Jr., USA
(R = Rookie Driver)
Presumably Y’all know the story of Force Indy being part of El Capitano’s Shrinking Violet’s Diversity Campaign, having unceremoniously Dumped Myles Roe after their initial U.S. F2000 campaign last year in favour of moving up to Lights this year with Ernie Francis Jr. For which I harbour No ill will against Ernie Francis Jr, who’s one Bad Arse Tintops’ Hombre!
As the 24yr Old Floridian Francis Jr. Burst upon the National Scene in last year’s (SRX) Superstar’s Racing Experience series, winning once at Lucas Oil Raceway and finishing runner-up to SRX Champion and series Co-Owner Smoke’, aka tony Stewart.
Whilst I’ve previously scribbled Here upon No Fenders how Ernie’s a Bad Arse Trans Am Driver, having won seven Trans Am titles consecutively! Not to mention lagging only behind such legendous’ Trans Am Aces Paul Meatheadz’ Gentilozzi, Mark Donohue and the Other TK’, aka Tommy Kendall for most Trans Am series victories!
Francis Jr. cut his teeth in Open Wheel Racing in last year’s FR Americas Championship, where He finished third Overall before graduating to Lights this season.