Sage Karam leads Gabby Chaves at Houston (IndyCar)

Indy Lights gets nine cars for season finale

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More will come Wednesday on the championship battle between Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves for the Firestone Indy Lights Series season finale.

Today, though, a brief look at the entry list for the Lefty’s Kids Club 100 (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) reveals several other things.

Jack Hawksworth and Carlos Munoz will be eliminated when the race begins. Although they are within a mathematical range (35 and 36 points behind, respectively), they will not be able to gain enough points assuming Karam and Chaves both start the race.

The maximum available points gained this weekend will be 31 with nine cars entered – 53 for a win, pole and leading the most laps, and 22 for ninth place.

Kyle O’Gara returns for the first time since Indianapolis in a fourth SPM entry, with support from Wink Hartman, Hartman Oil and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. The silver, blue and black that has adorned Josef Newgarden’s No. 67 IndyCar most of this season will be on O’Gara’s entry.

Giancarlo Serenelli will make his first career oval start in the No. 6 Belardi Auto Racing entry. Team Moore Racing, which ran Peter Dempsey and Conor Daly at Houston, had one potential driver for its No. 22 car this weekend but funding has apparently fallen through for that. Bryan Herta Autosport also won’t race as it did at Houston, with driver Axcil Jefferies.

Of the nine drivers entered, only Munoz and Serenelli’s two Belardi teammates, Jorge Goncalvez and Juan Pablo Garcia, have Fontana experience. Munoz won the race handily last year.

The last driver in the field after Karam, Chaves, Hawksworth, Munoz, O’Gara and the three Belardi drivers is Zach Veach, Munoz’s Andretti Autosport teammate.

This is the last race for Firestone in the series, as it signs off before Cooper Tires takes over next year. Daly and Tristan Vautier have spent time testing the Coopers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.