Mazda Road to Indy 2014 schedules released, will only race with IndyCar

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Andersen Promotions confirmed Thursday its desire to see all three of the Mazda Road to Indy divisions run in front of IndyCar, and only IndyCar, for 2014.

Schedules for Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 were all released and the schedules sync up with the recently released IndyCar schedule.

All Indy Lights races will feature same-day coverage on NBCSN with international rights held by ESPN International. Pro Mazda and USF2000 will also be featured on NBCSN with a minimum of four highlight shows, which will also be broadcast on Motors TV in Europe.

Indy Lights has a 14-race slate with four doubleheader weekends on the four road course races at Barber, Indianapolis, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. The doubleheaders will feature a 40-minute sprint race on Saturday and a 60-minute feature race Sunday just prior to the IndyCar race.

Barber and Mid-Ohio are holdovers while Indy Lights returns to the IMS road course for the first time since 2007. The series returns to Sonoma for the first time since 2010.

The remaining six races are split three apiece between street courses (St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Toronto) and ovals (Indianapolis, Pocono, Milwaukee). Fontana has been dropped for 2014.

Pro Mazda and USF2000 also will have 14-race schedules. All Pro Mazda road and street races will be doubleheaders (six weekends) and standing starts. Oval races will occur at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis the night before the Indianapolis 500, and at Milwaukee in August.

USF2000’s 14 races will come on just seven weekends. All road and street races will be doubleheaders with the exception of Mid-Ohio, which will be a tripleheader as it was this year.

These two series also have the previously announced Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship to look forward to.

Here’s a breakdown of all dates and schedules:

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2014 Schedule of Events

• 14 races
• Three street circuits, four road courses, three ovals
• Doubleheader rounds at all road courses

 Round   Date   Track   Venue 
 1  March 30  Streets of St. Petersburg  1.8-mile street circuit
 2  April 13  Streets of Long Beach  1.968-mile street circuit
 3/4  April 26/27  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 5/6  May 9/10  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.434-mile road course
 7  May 23  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.5-mile oval
 8  July 6  Pocono Raceway  2.5-mile oval
 9  July 20  Streets of Toronto  1.75-mile street circuit
 10/11  August 2/3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course
 12  August 17  The Milwaukee Mile  1-mile oval
 13/14  August 23/24  Sonoma Raceway  2.385-mile road course

Series Test Sessions

 December 9/10  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 January 7/8  Sebring International Raceway  1.7-mile road course
 February 21/22  NOLA Motorsports Park  2.75-mile road course
 February 25/26  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 May TBA  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.5-mile oval
 June 3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires 2014 Schedule of Events

• 14 races
• Two street circuits, four road courses, two ovals
• Doubleheader rounds at all road and street circuits
• Standing starts on all street circuits

 Round   Date  Track  Venue
 1/2  March 29/30  Streets of St. Petersburg  1.8-mile street circuit
 3/4  April 26/27  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 5/6  May 9/10  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.434-mile road course
 7  May 24  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 8/9  June 28/29  Streets of Houston  1.634-mile street circuit
 10/11  August 2/3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course
 12  August 16  The Milwaukee Mile  1-mile oval
 13/14  August 23/24  Sonoma Raceway  2.385-mile road course

Series Test Sessions

 December 9/10  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 May 3  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 June 4/5  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course

Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship (four races)

 February 21/22  NOLA Motorsports Park  2.75-mile road course
 February 25/26  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda 2014 Schedule of Events

• 14 races
• Two street circuits, four road courses, one oval
• Doubleheader rounds at all road and street circuits with one tripleheader road course event

 Round   Date  Track   Venue
 1/2  March 29/30  Streets of St. Petersburg  1.8-mile street circuit
 3/4  April 26/27  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 5/6  May 9/10  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.434-mile road course
 7  May 24  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 8/9  July 19/20  Streets of Toronto  1.75-mile street circuit
 10/11/12  August 2/3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course
 13/14  August 23/24  Sonoma Raceway  2.385-mile road course

Series Test Sessions

 December 9/10  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 May 3  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 June 4/5  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course

Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship (six races)

 February 21/22  NOLA Motorsports Park  2.75-mile road course
 February 25/26  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”