Anthony Martin claims 2016 USF2000 crown

Martin wins USF2000 title. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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MONTEREY, Calif. – Anthony Martin has secured the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda championship, and has become the sixth different driver in succession for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing to claim the series title.

The 21-year-old Australian won seven races this season and finished second today in the 16th and final round of 2016 to secure the title and the Mazda advancement scholarship of $363,000 that goes with it to advance to the next level on the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

Martin joins the previous five champions for Cape, who are Nico Jamin (2015), Florian Latorre (2014), Scott Hargrove (2013), Matthew Brabham (2012) and Petri Suvanto (2011).

Martin opened the day with an 18-point lead over teammate Parker Thompson and ended it with an 21-point margin, unofficially (394-373), to secure the crown. Martin won seven races to Thompson’s four this season.

Up front, Victor Franzoni won his third race of the season and second this weekend, at the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Monterey Powered by Mazda, to complete a weekend sweep for ArmsUp Motorsports.

Franzoni got out to a 2.2865-second lead on the opening lap of the race while the Cape twins battled behind them, and set sail from there to a final winning margin of 10.1026  seconds.

Thompson got Martin for second off the line, before Martin made an ambitious, determined move by Thompson to the inside at Rainey Corner, Turn 9, to get him back for second, where he stayed.

The order stabilized right there with Franzoni drawing away, Martin holding station in second and Thompson in third. Thompson stayed close to Martin’s rear wing but unlike on Saturday, he was unable to make it past his teammate for position.

As on Saturday, Martin’s countrymen Jordan Lloyd and Luke Gabin completed the top five, albeit in a different order. Lloyd gained a spot from yesterday to today to end fourth for Pabst Racing, while Gabin brought his JAY Motorsports car home in fifth. Nikita Lastochkin was sixth in the third Cape car.

Of note, Robert Megennis made a late-race pass of Yufeng Luo for seventh, a spin dropped Pabst’s Garth Rickards back in the field, and John Cummiskey Racing’s Michael Scott finished his first series race.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.