MRTI: Indy Lights, Pro Mazda title battles head to penultimate weekend

Leave a comment

While the Verizon IndyCar Series title battle will get most of the attention this weekend, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires championships are also at a crucial point this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile.

Both series have had a number of doubleheader race weekends this year, but there’s only one race for both series in Milwaukee. Pro Mazda’s 100-lapper runs Saturday night with Indy Lights’ 100-lapper Sunday morning. Here’s the quick title battle synopsis:

INDY LIGHTS (Entry List)

On paper, this represents Zach Veach’s best shot to claw back the 24-point gap to points leader Gabby Chaves (431-407). Veach nearly won this race a year ago, but burned off his tires too quick and fell into Sage Karam’s clutches. Veach won twice earlier this year and as he’s solid on ovals, this is where he can capitalize.

Chaves, so long as he keeps Veach within three to four spots ahead, will be able to sustain the points lead. The only way he won’t is if he finishes seventh or eighth in the admittedly small eight-car field.

The wild card is Jack Harvey, who’s new to the circuit and has suddenly played himself into title contention following a Mid-Ohio doubleheader weekend sweep. Harvey sits second in points, 18 behind Chaves (431-418). He may not take the points lead away this weekend but if he limits the damage to his two title rivals, he’ll still be in with a shot at Sonoma next weekend.

Those playing spoilers? Basically the rest of the field, with Matthew Brabham, the Pro Mazda winner here last year, most likely to hassle the title contenders. Although listed, Zack Meyer’s Team Moore Racing entry is not here this weekend.

PRO MAZDA (Entry List

The two-horse race that is the battle between Spencer Pigot and Scott Hargrove continues at Milwaukee. Pigot should have the edge heading into the weekend and it remains to be seen if Hargrove can continue his second-half surge. Pigot leads Hargrove by 14 (259-245) entering the weekend.

Their respective teammates, Kyle Kaiser (Pigot’s) and Neil Alberico (Hargrove’s) as well as the Andretti Autosport pair of Garett Grist and Shelby Blackstock have the opportunity to play spoiler.

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.