Matthew Brabham joins list of St. Pete-only-thus far all-stars, with Andretti in Indy Lights

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What do Sage Karam, Simona de Silvestro and now Matthew Brabham have in common?

If you said they’re three young open-wheel talents, you’re right.

But the correct answer is that each is right now, only confirmed for the season-opening weekend at St. Petersburg next week.

Karam and de Silvestro will have one-off appearances, for now, with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Andretti Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series, respectively.

Brabham will rejoin Andretti Autosport for a one-off, for now, drive in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship. His chief engineer from the Formula E campaign, Dave Seyffert, will be engineering the No. 83 car at St. Petersburg.

The Australian American is the 2012 USF2000 and 2013 Pro Mazda champion, and won a race in his rookie season of Indy Lights a year ago. He reunites with Shelby Blackstock, who was his Pro Mazda teammate in 2013.

Brabham has remained active in the FIA Formula E Championship, having driven two races for Andretti and also served as the team’s reserve and test driver.

“It’s brilliant that we have the opportunity to link up with Andretti Autosport again for this campaign,” said Brabham. “It has been a tough off-season trying to piece everything together, but thanks to the team and some close supporters, we’ll be at St Petersburg.

“Having won both races at St. Pete in Pro Mazda and being quite strong there last year, I’m confident of hitting the ground running. It’s a great track and I love street courses, so we’ll be aiming to be in the mix.”

Added team principal Michael Andretti, “It’s great to have Matt back in a seat within our Indy Lights program. He’s done a stellar job stepping up for us in the INDYCAR off-season in our Formula E team as reserve driver, but it will be great to see him back in Indy Lights alongside Shelby (Blackstock). Those two work well together and they will be ones to watch as they hit the streets of St. Pete.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.