Andretti confirms first Indy Lights entry with Shelby Blackstock moving up

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As first reported by MotorSportsTalk, Andretti Autosport will continue with its Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires program into 2015. The team has announced Tuesday morning that Shelby Blackstock will move up after two years in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires for its first car.

“I am very happy to be back with the Andretti Autosport team for the 2015 Indy Lights season,” Blackstock said. “I’m extremely excited to test the new IL-15 and to see if all the great expectations are true. I want to thank Andretti Autosport for giving me the opportunity to be in one of its cars this year – this team is like a second family to me. I hope there is a lot of success to come from a completely fresh season.”

The Nashville, Tenn. native captured one win, three pole positions, 13 podiums and 18 top-five finishes throughout two seasons in Pro Mazda (2013, 2014). Blackstock becomes the third driver to take the next step up the Mazda Road to Indy through Andretti Autosport’s Pro Mazda program to its Indy Lights outfit (Zach Veach, 2013; Matthew Brabham, 2014).

The North Carolina resident will go back to his racing roots by using the first number of his racing career, piloting the No. 51 Starstruck entry, switching from 28 that he’s run the last two years.

Blackstock is the son of country music legend Reba McEntire.

“Shelby has been with us for some time now, and he’s put in a lot of hard work to make the step from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights happen,” Andretti Autosport’s Chief Operating Officer JF Thormann noted. “We are all very excited to keep Shelby in the Andretti Autosport family and look forward to watching his success continue during this new chapter of his career with us.”

No word was given in the team release whether this will be a two-car program, but it is anticipated that it should be.