2017 Projections – USF2000 v1

  01.19.2017 - It’s been a long time since there was this much excitement surrounding the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. The arrival of the new Tatuus-built USF-17 to race shops around the country has fueled incredible momentum for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and there are a total of 14 teams that have purchased at least one new car. I’m told that there are indeed a couple of squads that may be looking to sell their new chassis due to unforeseen circumstances, but I’m expecting to at least a dozen transporters in the paddock at St. Petersburg. Surprisingly, the number of confirmed drivers sits at just seven at this time, but with test programs having already restarted in early January, I’m sure the game of musical chairs will begin and we’ll start seeing many more announcements. In fact, I’m expecting to see at least one driver Continue Reading

Indy Lights – 2017 Projections

  01.09.2017 - The flipping of the calendar to 2017 has re-fired the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, as testing has resumed in Florida. Belardi Auto Racing restarted their efforts at Homestead on Wednesday and Palm Beach on Friday, putting two drivers through the paces in both wet and dry conditions. The remaining Indy Lights teams will be back on-track later this month, all focused on being ready to run for race wins at the season opener in St. Petersburg on March 10-12. As it stands, we are looking at a total of five teams for the 2017 season and the fact that I’m predicting 14 cars for the first round is a pretty positive note, considering the shuttering of series stalwart Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports. Andretti Autosport has already confirmed four drivers, and I project that both Belardi and Carlin will have at least three cars under the tent. Juncos Racing has already Continue Reading

Pro Mazda 2017: Questioning The Uncertainty

  It’s good to be back in the office, having just returned from the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis. It was a stellar show, I hosted a few driver announcements on the IndyCar stage, and I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss with many people the ongoing excitement in USF2000, my projected line-up for Indy Lights, and of course, the current state of the Pro Mazda category for 2017. We also pulled the cover off the new Tatuus PM-18 that will debut at the new car for the Pro Mazda Championship in 2018, and it should not be a surprise that this year’s version of the series was a hot topic. To address that question correctly, I took the stance that we all need to stand back and look at the big picture. In truth, nothing has changed. The Pro Mazda Championship will do exactly what it’s done for the last few years. It will award its champion with a tremendous scholarship for Continue Reading

Indy Lights – 2017 Projections

  10.05.16 - We may be less than a month past the Soul Red Finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires drivers, managers and teams are already extremely hard at work, focusing on locking in plans for 2017. I want to jump right back into ‘projection’ mode, as we’re also just over five months from the start of the new season and just days from the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at IMS this weekend. The names are going to start falling into place over the next few weeks, and I’m excited to see which current drivers elect to return to the Indy Lights series, which drivers move up to the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy from within the system, and who is drawn from Europe to re-focus on the Verizon IndyCar Series. Let’s start by having a quick look at the top five drivers from the 2016 season and what I know or forecast about their plans: Ed Jones Continue Reading