Per report, IndyCar to cede control of Indy Lights

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Per Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, IndyCar will turn over control of the Firestone Indy Lights Series to Dan Andersen, who also runs and promotes the other two rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

Andersen relaunched the USF2000 National Championship in 2010 and took over operations of the renamed Pro Mazda Championship, formerly Star Mazda, before the start of this year.

In both cases, Andersen was brought in to help lower costs (reduce engine rebuilds, number of sets of tires bought) and attract more participants. The USF2000 grid is now booming with more than 30 cars running at the road and street courses when National Class cars are included, and more than 20 on the oval in Indianapolis. Pro Mazda, although it has only had 10 at the recent oval events in Indianapolis and Milwaukee, should grow for the rest of the season.

A formal announcement, per Cavin, is expected at Toronto in July. That’s the next weekend IndyCar and all three ladder series will be present at the same time.

To put it mildly, Indy Lights’ 2013 season has been tumultuous. Car count is at an all-time low with less than 10 cars from just four teams at all events except Long Beach and Indianapolis. Plans for a new car to be implemented for 2014 have been scrapped.

Ironically, the change comes with a field that could actually lay claim to the “quality over quantity” mantra. Series observers will note there is probably more talent at the top end of this year’s field than in the last two to three years.

The highlight of the Indy Lights season to this point was the four-wide finish at the Firestone Freedom 100 at Indianapolis, when Peter Dempsey edged Gabby Chaves, Sage Karam and Carlos Munoz.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)