Indy Lights: Ryan Phinny, Casamigos switch to Belardi for Sonoma

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Upon his return to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, young American Ryan Phinny has showed promise at both Toronto and Mid-Ohio while driving the No. 28 Casamigos entry for Bryan Herta Autosport.

Phinny, who lives in Southern California, now will have his chance to shine in Northern California at Sonoma under the auspices of Belardi Auto Racing.

He’ll take over the No. 4 entry for this race, which ran through Toronto with Alex Baron at the wheel and at Mid-Ohio with Axcil Jefferies. The Casamigos logo and signage will carry over as well.

Phinny will be the teammate for Indy Lights points leader Gabby Chaves, who looks to secure the title this weekend.

“I’m excited to run the Casamigos car with Belardi this coming weekend at Sonoma,” Phinny said in a team release. “They’ve had a great year so far and I’m looking forward to a strong finish for the 2014 season.”

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.