Over the last week Andersen Promotions has confirmed two of the now-annual events on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
Last Thursday Andersen confirmed the third annual Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test will occur December 9 and 10 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. The test features all three ladder series – Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 – and the event is named for the late Chris Griffis, a longtime crewmember and team manager for Sam Schmidt’s Lights team who died unexpectedly in September 2011.
Each of the first two years the test was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, but it shifts this year due to the necessary track alterations ahead of the IndyCar road race there next May.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the promotional organization also announced details of the Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship, opening it up to Pro Mazda and Indy Lights after it had just been for USF2000 the last two years. $30,000 in prize money is on offer for both series.
USF2000 will race two tripleheaders (six races) and Pro Mazda two doubleheaders (four races). The first event will be at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, Feb. 21/22, and a few days later the two series shift to Barber on Feb. 25/26. All four days will also feature open testing for Indy Lights.
This is all the latest steps the Andersen Promotions group, led by Dan Andersen, is taking to unify and market the Mazda Road to Indy as one cohesive unit under a single umbrella. All three series will also race on Cooper tires next year; Cooper replaces Firestone for Indy Lights in 2014.
“It’s amazing what Dan Andersen has created in such a short time,” Chris Pantani, Director of Motorsports for Cooper Tire said in a release. “By unifying the Mazda Road to Indy, the growth and awareness of the entire open-wheel program seems to be at an all-time high, but we all know that it’s just the beginning and Cooper Tire is proud to be part of that growth.”