2009 Firestone Indy Lights Thread...........

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2009 Firestone Indy Lights Thread...........

Postby mlittle » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:45 am

IRL officials earlier today released the 2009 Indy Lights schedule; as expected, Nashville was dropped from the calendar[replaced by Toronto] and there will only one doubleheader weekend[at St. Pete]. There are still a few questions as to exact dates and such, but those are likely to be worked out in the next few months.

Rds. 1-2] 4-5 April, St. Petersburg
Rd. 3} 18 or 19 April, Long Beach
Rd. 4} 25 or 26 April, Kansas Speedway
Rd. 5} 22 May, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Rd. 6} 30 or 31 May, The Milwaukee Mile
Rd. 7} 20 or 21 June, Iowa Speedway
Rd. 8} 4 or 5 July, Watkins Glen International
Rd. 9} 11 or 12 July, Toronto
Rd. 12} 25 or 26 July, Edmonton
Rd. 13} 31 July-1 Aug., Kentucky Speedway
Rd. 14} 28 or 29 Aug., Chicagoland Speedway
Rd. 15} 10 or 11 Oct., Homestead-Miami Speedway
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RLR/Andersen Racing to move to RLR's Indianapolis shop

Postby mlittle » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:07 am

According to the press release(parts of which are posted below), RLR/Andersen Racing is moving from their Florida offices to Rahal-Letterman's Indy offices; in addition, the team has hired veteran engineers Walter Preston and Mike Reggio to work with RLR's Indy Lights' efforts...............


PALMETTO, Fla., Oct. 14 - The latest news from RLR/Andersen Racing's Firestone Indy Lights team features a new location, a new lead engineer and a promotion.

The Palmetto, Fla.-based team announced today that its two-car Firestone Indy Lights team will relocate to Rahal Letterman Racing's (RLR) IndyCar headquarters in Hilliard, Ohio on or about Dec. 1.

Andersen Racing is the official development team of RLR. Its Firestone Indy Lights team worked out of RLR's shop in suburban Columbus, Ohio this summer to save travel costs, but will be based there full-time in 2009.

Andersen Racing's Star Mazda team will continue to operate from the team's test track, Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla. Andersen Racing has already won the 2008 team championship in that series, while two of its drivers, Peter Dempsey and Tom Gladdis, will go for its driver Championship on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Andersen Racing also won the team and driver titles this year in the F2000 Championship Series, earning that driver
championship with Anders Krohn.

Due to the expansion of the Firestone Indy Lights schedule in 2009 and RLR/Andersen's relocation to Ohio, Dominic and Nicholas Cape are stepping down as the team's Firestone Indy Lights engineers. Taking over those positions are veteran engineer Walter Preston assisted by Mike Reggio, who is being promoted from the position of Andersen Racing's Star Mazda director of engineering.

Dan Andersen, Co-Owner, RLR/Andersen Racing:
Following two very successful seasons in Firestone Indy Lights, we have decided to significantly advance our program in that series by permanently relocating it to RLR's headquarters. We will have access to all areas. Our cars will be worked on in bays adjacent to RLR's IndyCar operation, and our engineers will be located within RLR's engineering department. We expect that this immersion of our operation into RLR's will provide us with the boost to our program that is required to move us from race winners to championship winners. We thank the Cape brothers for establishing our Firestone Indy Lights program in a very strong way in just two short years, and we wish them all the best as they pursue other opportunities in motorsports. We're thrilled that we were able to find someone with Walter Preston's experience to join our team for 2009.
Walter Preston, Engineer, RLR/Andersen Racing:
I'm looking forward to a new association with Dan and John Andersen, and trying to help them move on to their next level. I'm also looking forward to getting back together with the RLR staff.
Last edited by mlittle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Indy Lights team for 2009.......

Postby mlittle » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:11 am

1997 IRL Rookie of the Year Jim Guthrie and former Indy Lights chief technical director Butch Meyer have joined forces, forming Guthrie-Meyer Racing, which will begin competing in the Indy Lights series in 2009...here are some quotes from the announcement earlier this week.


Jim Guthrie, Guthrie-Meyer Racing co-owner:
The growth of the Firestone Indy Lights is nothing short of amazing. My faith in Butch's knowledge and experience spurred my desire to partner with him and it is that knowledge that will make us capable of winning every race we enter. He brings tremendous technical depth to our organization and will enhance the success we have already enjoyed. We are excited that GMR will be in the thick of a highly competitive season that is sure to result in a tremendous battle for the championship. We are anticipating being contenders for wins and the championship from the drop of the first green flag.
Butch Meyer, Guthrie-Meyer Racing co-owner:
"While I have thoroughly enjoyed my years as Technical Director for Indy Lights. I am very excited to move to the next stage of my career as a team owner. Having spent the past six years in Indy Car, I know the strength of the organization and the dedication they have to continue building both Indy Lights and IndyCar. Jim has a proven track record as a winning team owner. Our skills complement each other and this partnership has the perfect ingredients to produce instant on-track success.
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Postby mlittle » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:36 am

Several Indy Lights teams are testing prospective drivers over the next week or so...............


~~Sam Schmidt Motorsports is testing two drivers, 2008 Atlantic Championship titleist Markus Niemala and 2008 U.S. Formula Ford 2000 champion Anders Krohn; Krohn will also be testing a Star Mazda car for Andersen Racing next week
~~Brian Stewart Racing is testing Russian F3 driver Sergey Mokshantesev at Kentucky Speedway; he is also expected to test at Putnam Park near Indianapolis sometime next week
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Postby mlittle » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:50 pm

A couple of brief news items from over the weekend.............

~~American Spirit Racing announced plans over the weekend to field a 2-car Indy Lights team; in addition, the team has brought back veteran Indy Lights competitor Robbie Pecorari(who competed for the team in 2007 when it was known as Team KMA) as a driver coach for 2009
~~RLR-Andersen Racing is testing 2008 Star Mazda Series runner-up Joel Miller; Miller tested for the team over the weekend at Sebring on the short course
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Postby mlittle » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:09 pm

One additional item from the past weekend........quoting from the folks over at Trackside Online.....



~~Marco Bonanomi completes strong Indy Lights test at Kentucky
------Marco Bonanomi had many reasons to be satisfied this week. The Italian, who ran in the 2008 World Series by Renault, completed a successful testing program on an Indy Lights Dallara fielded by Sam Schmidt Motorsports. On October 22, Bonanomi flew to Indianapolis, joining the team and preparing for a projected test day at Putnam Park.

Though the cold weather, with temperatures nearing 0°C, forced to postpone the ontrack activity to Monday (Nov. 3), Marco was finally able to get behind the wheel at Kentucky Speedway yesterday, October 30, taking his first steps on an Indy Lights racecar.

Since he had no experience of oval racing before, Marco followed the instructions of the team's engineers and gradually adapted to the new driving style. He then progressively improved his marks, running safely on a consistent pace and almost matching the pole-position time set by Raphael Matos last summer. After the positive start, that left a good impression on the whole team, Marco is looking forward to prove his skills in road racing soon.
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Andersen Racing Busy with Off-Season Testing.........

Postby mlittle » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:04 am

Press release from Andersen Racing on their off-season activities of late........



Andersen Racing Busy With Post-Season Testing
~~~PALMETTO, Fla., Nov. 6 - Andersen Racing, the 2008 team champion of both the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the F2000 Championship Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tire, is certainly not resting on its laurels. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team tested four drivers last Thursday at Sebring International Raceway, and will return to that road course in Sebring, Fla., on Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 17 for additional testing.

Jonathan Bomarito and Joel Miller tested RLR/Andersen Racing's two Firestone Indy Lights cars, including the one that J.R. Hildebrand drove to a fifth-place finish in this year's championship. Anders Krohn and Nathan Silva tried out two of the team's Star Mazda cars.

Both of the drivers who tested the Firestone Indy Lights cars last week finished second in the series they competed in this year with other teams.

Bomarito, 26, of Monterey, Calif., finished second in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda with three victories. Miller, 20, of Hesperia, Calif., finished second in the 2008 Star Mazda series, posting one victory.

As part of Andersen Racing's unique driver development program, each of the team's full-season Star Mazda and F2000 drivers receive a test at the next level at year's end. Krohn, 20, of Sandnes, Norway, dominated the F2000 series driving an Andersen Racing entry, posting nine victories. Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland's Peter Dempsey, who tied Star Mazda champ John Edwards in the number of victories with four but finished third in that series with Andersen Racing this year, plans to drive one of the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars for the first time at a future test.

In addition to Krohn, Silva, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, tested one of the team's Star Mazda cars at Sebring. Silva is only 18 but he's already been racing for 10 years, getting his start in karts. Most recently he's been competing in Formula 3 in South America.

"All four drivers performed well, completing about 100 laps each around the shorter road course circuit at Sebring," said team co-owner Dan Andersen, who added that the test was good experience for the crew as well as the drivers.

"Walter Preston and Mike Reggio, who will handle our Firestone Indy Lights engineering duties next year, were flawless, and our entire Firestone Indy Lights team performed very well," he said. "Remi Lanteigne headed the engineering and Roger Morissette the crew chief duties for Star Mazda, and the Mazda team also did an excellent job."

Mike Zimicki, noted driver coach for Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), was on hand to assist Andersen in evaluating the driving talent. Andersen Racing is the official development team of RLR, which competes in both the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series.

"I'm very pleased with the overall performance of our teams, as all four cars were clearly well prepared and our engineers worked very well with the four talented drivers," Andersen added. "Jonathan and Joel demonstrated why they both had great results in their respective series in 2008, as they adapted very quickly to the higher horsepower Firestone Indy Lights cars and impressed us all with their driving and their feedback.

"Anders and Nathan also were very fast, with Anders beating the fastest times our past drivers posted at Sebring by half a second. Nathan showed us all that he is a very talented young man. He worked very well with our staff as he learned the track and the car. By the end of the day he was closing the gap on Anders."

Three additional drivers (Pacific F2000 Champion Jeff Westphal, third-place Atlantic driver Jonathan Summerton and British F3 driver Alistair Jackson) are slated to test the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars at Sebring Nov. 10-11, while four more (Team USA Scholarship winners Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden, as well as Richard Kent and one other to be named later) will test the Star
Mazda cars there on Nov. 17.

The team may also test on the oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. on Nov. 21. Additional testing of the Star Mazda and F2000 cars is also planned at the team's test track, Andersen RacePark.

Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corporation. For more information see andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com.

Driver quotes follow:

Jonathan Bomarito: "First of all I'd like to thank Dan Andersen and his team for giving me a great test. The car ran perfectly all day. I was able to come up to speed and learn about this new car. We had a great day of good weather and sunshine, and it was fun.

"It was the first time I'd gotten to drive a Firestone Indy Lights car. It's quite a bit different than an Atlantic car, and it was a new challenge. It was fun in its own way. I had to get used to the weight and the differences in the braking zones, but it was fun."

Joel Miller: "The car is a lot different than I expected. With the weight and the amount of power under your right foot it makes a driver be really patient. I'm pleased on how things went today, being my first time in a car of this size. It was a huge learning curve, and now I have that in mind for future opportunities. I have to thank Dan Andersen for giving me the chance to drive his car. It was a great day."

Anders Krohn: "For winning the F2000 Championship, I also got to test a Firestone Indy Lights car with another team recently at Putnam Park. I was very encouraged by both the Indy Lights and the Star Mazda tests, and it would be a blessing to be able to compete in either of the two highly respected open-wheel categories.

"I look forward to coming home to Norway again, where I will continue to work with my current and hopefully new associates towards another good racing campaign in 2009. I still don't know where I'll end up for the coming season, but with some solid tests and good results on my record, something good will happen for sure.

"I want to thank Andersen Racing for giving me the possibility to drive a Star Mazda car for them. We had a great season together in F2000 and it would be an honor to continue our work together for the upcoming season as well."

Nathan Silva: "I enjoyed the test a lot, and felt that the crew did an excellent job. I hope to be racing in Star Mazda in 2009."
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Westphal Tests Indy Lights Car w/RLR-Andersen Racing

Postby mlittle » Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:12 am

2008 Pacific F2000 champion Jeff Westphal recently tested with RLR/Andersen Racing down at Sebring International Raceway in one of their Indy Lights cars; here's what he had to say about the day's test..........

~~~On his reaction at getting the call from team principal Dan Andersen,
I was extremely excited coming into this test. When Dan Andersen gave me the call about testing with his Indy Lights program, I immediately went to work logistically trying to get everything nailed down.
~~~On adjusting to the Indy Lights car as opposed to the lighter F2000 car he drove this past season,
I know I could get more out of the car with a bit more seat time, the differences in weight, wheelbase, down force and horsepower demanded a different approach that I feel like I have grasped, but you can always go a bit faster and find a little more time. The engineers were instrumental with their feedback and use of data to work with me on specific tasks as the day progressed.
note....the Indy Lights car has a 420hp Infiniti V8 engine vs. a 4cyl., 150hp engine in the F2000 car; the Indy Lights car also weighs 2-3hundred lbs. more than the F2000 car

RLR/Andersen Racing is currently in the process of selecting their driver lineup for 2009 in Indy Lights; they've currently already tested one driver, Star Mazda competitor Joel Miller and will be testing drivers Jonathan Bomarito, Jonathan Summerton and Alistair Jackson in coming days.(Bomarito and Summerton were 2008 Atlantic Championship drivers; Jackson competed in British F3 in 2008)
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Postby mlittle » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:05 pm

Official 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Schedule...........

Rds.1-2} 4 & 5 April 2009--St. Petersburg, Fla.
Rd. 3} 19 April 2009--Long Beach, Ca.
Rd. 4} 26 April 2009--Kansas Speedway
Rd. 5} 22 May 2009--Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Rd. 6} 31 May 2009--The Milwaukee Mile
Rd. 7} 20 June 2009--Iowa Speedway
Rd. 8} 4 July 2009--Watkins Glen
Rd. 9} 11 July 2009--Toronto, Canada
Rd. 10} 26 July 2009--Edmonton City Centre Airport
Rd. 11} 1 August 2009--Kentucky Speedway
Rd. 12} 9 August 2009--Mid Ohio Sports Car Course
Rd. 13} 23 August 2009--Infineon Raceway
Rd. 14} 29 August 2009--Chicagoland Speedway
Rd. 15} 9 October 2009--Homestead/Miami Speedway

all events to be broadcast in HD on Versus and will be live-streamed via. Indycar.com
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Postby mlittle » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:23 pm

Couple of driver signings the past couple of weeks in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.......

~~Sean Guthrie, Guthrie-Meyer Racing
~~J.R. Hildebrand, Andretti-Green Racing
~~Andrew Prendeville, Team Moore Racing
~~Michele Bumgarner, Walker Racing
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Postby mlittle » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:34 pm

2009 Firestone Indy Lights Driver Lineup.............

~~Andretti-Green Racing: J.R. Hildebrand
~~Guthrie/Meyer Racing: Sean Guthrie
~~Panther Racing: Martin Plowman, Pippa Mann
~~Team Moore Racing: Andrew Prendeville
~~Walker Racing: Michele Bumgarner
note.....subject to change during off-season
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Postby mlittle » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:39 pm

Current 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Driver List(updated)...................


~~Guthrie-Meyer Racing(3): Sean Guthrie, Alastair "Ali" Jackson, Jesse Mason
~~Andretti-Green Racing(2): J.R. Hildebrand, Sebastien Saavedra
~~ASR-Nelan(1): Junior Strous
~~Bryan Herta Autosports(1): Daniel Herrington
~~Panther Racing(2): Pippa Mann, Martin Plowman
~~Team Moore Racing(1): Andrew Prendeville
~~Hamilton/Kingdom Racing(1): Brandon Wagner
~~Sam Schmidt Motorsports(3): Gustavo Yacaman, Ana Beatriz, James Hinchcliffe
~~ELFF Racing(1): Rodrigo Barbosa
~~Team PBIR(1): Charlie Kimball
~~First Motorsports(1): Stefan Wilson
~~RLR/Andersen Racing(2): Mario Romancini, Jonathan Summerton
~~Alliance Motorsports(1): Logan Gomez
~~Brian Stewart Racing(2): Sergey Mokshantsev, Pablo Donoso
~~Genoa Racing(2): Duncan Tappy, Richard Phillipe
Last edited by mlittle on Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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From The Steppes of Russia to the Brickyard............

Postby mlittle » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:46 am

Image

Sergey Mokshantsev has watched plenty of oval racing on Russian television in the last few years. He'll get a new appreciation for it as a Firestone Indy Lights competitor. The 26-year-old Russian has signed to drive for Brian Stewart Racing for the 2009 season. He'll drive team owner Brian Stewart's familiar No. 3 car this season and be the series' first driver from Russia.

"It takes a lot of desire to be a high-level racer, especially if you come from a country like Russia," said Stewart, whose teams won back-to-back Firestone Indy Lights entrants championships in 2005 and 2006. "Sergey has shown he has that desire and he has been successful in series he's raced in throughout Europe."

He was a standout in the entry-level Formula Rus (Russian-build race cars similar to Star Mazda) after racing in karting series in home county. "I looked at racing tracks and series in Europe but I'm intrigued about racing on ovals," Mokshantsev said. "NASCAR and IndyCar Series races are shown a lot (in Russia) and so that's what brought me to test at Kentucky last year. It was a lot of fun."

Mokshantsev had a successful Firestone Indy Lights test with Brian Stewart Racing at Kentucky Speedway last fall and will be among the rookie drivers testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 23-24. And he hopes to follow past Brian Stewart Racing drivers such as Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta and Cristiano da Matta into the top levels of motorsports.

"The Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series is growing (in popularity) in Russia," he said. "I hope to be the first Russian to race there as well."
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Bia returns for 2009 Indy Lights campaign

Postby mlittle » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:14 am

Image


Sam Schmidt Motorsports announced Feb. 20 that it has signed Ana Beatriz as driver of the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry in the Firestone Indy Lights. Beatriz, who goes by the nickname "Bia,"enters the 2009 season as a strong contender for the championship title after finishing third as a rookie in 2008. Beatriz became the first woman in history to win a race in the Firestone Indy Lights when she took the checkered flag at the Nashville Superspeedway in July. She also received the prestigious Firestone Indy Lights Rising Star Award.

---Ana "Bia" Beatriz, Driver-#20 Healthy Choice D/I, Sam Schmidt Mtrspts.,
I'm very excited to return to the Firestone Indy Lights with the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team. We had a great year in 2008 as a group, and now we can focus on trying to win more races. It's great to be back. I know (managers) Andre Ribeiro and Augusto Cesario made the right choice last year in helping me establish myself as a driver in U.S. motorsports and racing in the Firestone Indy Lights with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Being with Sam again is amazing, and being able to stay with team will allow us to continue moving forward. I'm excited Healthy Choice is back with us, and I'm hoping we can win a championship with everyone involved.
---Sam Schimdt, Owner-Sam Schmidt Mtrspts.,
We're very pleased to have Ana back to campaign the 2009 season and build upon her success last year. She showed last year that she's a quick learner, and with a full season of experience behind her, we're very confident that she'll be a threat to win races every time our car hits the track. Also, with ConAgra doing a complete re-branding of the Healthy Choice product line and making Ana part of their marketing process, we are very excited about the opportunity to perform off the track as well.
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Hinch to race for SSM in 2009

Postby mlittle » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:12 pm

Image

One of the more popular open-wheel racers of recent memory is bringing his "A" game to the Firestone Indy Lights series as Sam Schmidt Motorsports recently announced that they had signed former Atlantic Championship competitor James Hinchcliffe to drive the #7 LUCAS Oil/ISILON D/I Indy Lights car for 2009.
[Mod's note 1.....this is the equivalent of signing for Penske OR Ganassi in IndyCars; past FIL champions Jay Howard and Alex Lloyd both raced the #7 for SSM in 2006 & 2007, respectively]

Quotes from both Hinchcliffe and SSM owner Sam Schmidt..............
~~James Hinchcliffe, Sam Schmidt Motorsports,
I don't think the word 'excited' does justice to how I feel about joining Sam Schmidt Motorsports for 2009. I really am honored to have such a successful team put their confidence in me. We have such a good group of people and I'm really looking forward to teaming up with Bia (Ana Beatriz) and Gustavo (Yacaman). I have never been looking forward to any racing season as much as I am this year. The switch to Firestone Indy Lights for me was a no brainer. My whole career I have made my decisions to race based on where the competition is, and for 2009 there is no junior formula car series on earth that will be more competitive. Also, to support the IndyCar Series is an excellent chance to prove you can hack it in the big cars.
[Mod's note 2.......call me skeptical, but a few years back Hinch once infamously opined that he wouldn't compete in anything Indy-related, for, in his words, the 500 meant nothing to him. My, how a year can change things, huh?............ :shock: :shock: :twisted: ]

~~Sam Schmidt, Owner-Sam Schmidt Motorsports,
"We're really looking forward to taking back the championship this year. We've put together a great group of drivers with James, Bia, and Gustavo, who have a lot of talent, and I think all three have the potential to win races and be champions. We've got a lot of exciting things going on this year, and I can't wait to get down to St. Pete to get started.
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