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Mazda Road to Indy 2016 schedules revealed

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The schedules for the 2016 Mazda Road to Indy have been revealed, which more or less mirror the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule that was released on Tuesday.

The only notable change is Indy Lights not going to Long Beach. Meanwhile, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will return as the season finale, a week before the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway. Pirelli World Challenge will be back at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2016, but not on the same weekend as MRTI.

The full release from the series is below:


Andersen Promotions today unveiled the 2016 calendar for the series that comprise the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. All events will be in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series with the exception of the season finale which will once again take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Seven venues will feature all three levels of the ladder system.

“I am extremely pleased with the caliber of events we have on our 2016 schedule,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We have a total of 50 races on deck for the three series across key markets in the United States as well as Canada. Finishing the season – and crowning all three champions – at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale this year proved to be a great ending and we are excited to return and close out the season again next year.

“We have a lot of exciting things in the works. including the unveiling of the new USF2000 car at Indianapolis in May, and we will be working hard to build on the tremendous season we had in 2015.”

On the heels of a successful debut of the Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15, Indy Lights will see an expanded schedule of 18 races next season with the addition of three new circuits – Phoenix International Raceway, Road America and the Streets of Boston. The blend of three ovals, three street circuit and five road course events will include doubleheader rounds at all street and road course venues with the exception of the Boston race. A new qualifying feature – the Cooper Tires Lightning Round – will also debut at select circuits next year featuring the top three drivers from qualifying in a one-lap shootout on a new, softer compound Cooper RS3 racing slick for the coveted Cooper Tires Pole Award.

Indy Lights competitors will again vie for a guaranteed three-race scholarship to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2017, which includes the Indianapolis 500. NBCSN will host one-hour broadcasts of all race events with live broadcasts on the IMS Radio Network to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR App from Verizon. ESPN International holds the international broadcast rights with races airing in Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Australia amongst others.

RoadToIndy.TV and the Mazda Road to Indy App will continue to feature behind-the-scenes content, race recap episodes, special features, live streaming at select events and live shows of Mazda Road to Indy on and off-track activities.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2016 Schedule of Events

March 11-13 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 1-2 Phoenix International Raceway 1-mile oval
April 22-24 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12-14 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval
June 24-26 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 9-10 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
July 15-17 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29-31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
September 2-4 Streets of Boston, Massachusetts 2.25-mile street course
September 9-11 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*
*Doubleheader events

Upcoming tests include the fifth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on November 21-22, Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 5, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11 (road course) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 7. Additional test dates, including a test day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Pro Mazda will maintain a 16-race schedule featuring five road course, two street course and two oval venues. With the exception of the ovals, all events will comprise double-header rounds. Pro Mazda competitors will once again vie for a Mazda scholarship to advance to Indy Lights in 2017.

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
March 11-13 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 22-24 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12-14 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 28 Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis .686-mile oval
June 24-26 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 9-10 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
July 15-17 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29-31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
September 9-11 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*
*Doubleheader events

Test dates include the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on November 21-22, Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 6/7, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11 (road course) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 8/9.

The USF2000 calendar will include 16 races held at eight venues featuring five road course, two street circuit and one oval event. Aside from the oval, all rounds are double-headers with the now traditional tripleheader event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. At stake is a champion’s prize of a scholarship from Mazda to advance to Pro Mazda in 2017.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
March 11-13 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street circuit*
April 22-24 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12-14 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 28 Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis .686-mile oval
June 24-26 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 15-17 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29-31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course**
September 9-11 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*
*Doubleheader events
**Tripleheader event

The test schedule includes the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on November 21-22, Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 6/7, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11 (road course) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 8/9.

Off-track training for all series will feature the unparalleled Mazda Road to Indy Summit program which will take place over the St. Petersburg and Indianapolis race weekends. Past subjects have included media training, maximizing social media, fitness, performance thinking, creating a sponsorship proposal, the business of motorsports, what team owner’s look for in a driver and simulator training.

INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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