One of the two one-off entries that raced in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season opener will be back for Long Beach this weekend, with Andretti Autosport confirming Tuesday that Matthew Brabham will make another start in the team’s No. 83 Stellrecht Company Dallara IL15-Mazda.
“I am incredibly happy and grateful to be heading to Long Beach, a big thanks must go to Bob Stellrecht for believing in me and giving me this opportunity,” said Brabham. “I am confident we will be right up there at the top and fighting competitively.
“The team has been doing a great job and we were constantly learning and improving the car at St Pete. It is an awesome race car and I couldn’t imagine anything better than muscling it around the wall jungle of Long Beach.”
Brabham finished third in last year’s Long Beach race.
Unfortunately for Brabham’s St. Petersburg sparring partner Scott Hargrove, it appears unlikely that his Florida-based 8Star Motorsports team will make the trip out west to Long Beach.
Per a source to MotorSportsTalk, neither driver nor team was able to find the necessary funding to make the trip.
Assuming there isn’t an 11th-hour deal, it will leave the field at 12 cars for Long Beach. However, there is the prospect of one Indy Lights team announcement occurring at Long Beach, which would add to the field going forward.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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