O'Ward and Telitz. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Sunday title primers in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000

Leave a comment

MONTEREY, Calif. – The three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires will be decided today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the “Soul Red Finale.”

Here’s quick breakdowns of the titles for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series.

Indy Lights

Ed Jones (No. 11 Carlin) leads Santiago Urrutia (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian) by seven points, 343-336.

Jones will have at least one bonus point for pole position, which gives Urrutia a maximum possible number of 32 points. If he were to achieve that with a win, he’d have 368 points. He’d defeat Jones at that number, because the best Jones could do would be second, and at a 368-point even tie, Urrutia would have four wins (or five in this instance, because 32 assumes a win) to Jones’ two.

Otherwise, for Urrutia to overtake Jones, he’ll need a seven-point overtake. That could be second to Jones’ fifth, third to Jones’ sixth, fourth to Jones’ ninth and so on and so forth.

INDY LIGHTS POS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
PTS 30 25 22 19 17 15 14 13 12 11
1 11 Ed Jones UAE Carlin 343 373 368 365 362 360 358 357 356 355 354
2 55 Santiago Urrutia URG Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 336 366 361 358 355 353 351 350 349 348 347
POS 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th
PTS 10 9 8 7 6
1 11 Ed Jones UAE Carlin 343 353 352 351 350 349
2 55 Santiago Urrutia URG Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 336 346 345 344 343 342

Pro Mazda

This is likely going to come down to the second of two Pro Mazda races on the day, and third on the weekend, to decide.

Following a first race win on Saturday, Pato O’Ward has closed the gap to Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz to just eight points, 371-363.

With a win in the first race, O’Ward would take the points lead if Telitz finished fourth or worse. Telitz has the pole position so the key for him is simply finishing ahead of the teenager to solidify and/or increase the gap.

PRO MAZDA POS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
PTS 30 25 22 19 17 15
1 82 Aaron Telitz USA Team Pelfrey 371 401 396 393 390 388 386
2 80 Pato O’Ward MEX Team Pelfrey 363 393 388 385 382 380 378
POS 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
PTS 14 13 12 11 10 9
1 82 Aaron Telitz USA Team Pelfrey 371 385 384 383 382 381 380
2 80 Pato O’Ward MEX Team Pelfrey 363 377 376 375 374 373 372

USF2000

Anthony Martin appears to have the easiest road to a title ahead of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Parker Thompson, with an 18-point gap, 369-351.

The maximum number of points Thompson could get with a win and most laps led and fast lap would be 32 points, and 383 for the season.

That means regardless of what Thompson does, Martin clinches if he finishes sixth or better. Sixth place nets him at least 384 points.

USF2000 POS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
PTS 30 25 22 19 17 15 14 13 12 11
1 8 Anthony Martin AUS Cape Motorsports w/WTR 369 399 394 391 388 386 384 383 382 381 380
2 2 Parker Thompson CAN Cape Motorsports w/WTR 351 381 376 373 370 368 366 365 364 363 362
POS 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th
PTS 10 9 8 7 6 5 4
1 8 Anthony Martin AUS Cape Motorsports w/WTR 369 379 378 377 376 375 374 373
2 2 Parker Thompson CAN Cape Motorsports w/WTR 351 361 360 359 358 357 356 355

New schedule has Josef Newgarden seeing double (points) again in 2020

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske believes the latest revised schedule for 2020 will change his approach to the season.

The new schedule has the defending IndyCar champion looking at ways to double the possibilities for a second consecutive championship.

“When I look at the whole schedule they released now, I look at it as double-points as a whole in all of them,” Newgarden told NBCSports.com Monday. “Iowa is double points on a short oval. There are double points at the Indy GP because there are two races and a road course. Then double points at Laguna, which is a different road course than IMS. And there is double points in the Indianapolis 500.”

IndyCar announced to team owners two weeks ago that the season finale (once scheduled for Laguna Seca and now at St. Petersburg) will no longer be a double-points event. But Monday’s schedule revision essentially adds three double points-style races to the Indy 500’s double-points format, Newgarden said.

“Those are four events where you have to be quite strong,” Newgarden said. “They are all very different from each other. Each one is critical to get right. Iowa has a chance to be the most difficult. From a physical standpoint, it’s already a physical track for one race. To double it up on one weekend will be quite the toll for the drivers.

“It will be a very big test physically to see who will get that weekend right. You can bag a lot of points because of it.”

Just 12 days after the first schedule revision, IndyCar officials announced another revised schedule Monday because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The new schedule features doubleheader weekends at Iowa Speedway in July and Laguna Seca in September. There is an additional race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Oct. 3.

That race will be known as the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix. It will be the second time in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history that an IndyCar race is held in the fall. The only other time was the Harvest Auto Racing Classic, a series of three races won by Johnny Aitken on Sept. 9, 1916.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix scheduled for May 30-31 will be dropped from the 2020 schedule. Michigan has a “Stay at Home” order that won’t be lifted in time to start construction of the Belle Isle street course.

Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles said the Detroit event will return in 2021.

The IMS road course essentially will have a doubleheader spaced out by nearly three months. The first race will be the GMR IndyCar Grand Prix on July 4, and the second will be Oct. 3 in the Harvest Grand Prix.

The extra doubleheaders combined with the loss of Detroit gives IndyCar a 15-race schedule for 2020. It started out as a 17-race campaign, but April’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the Acura Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the AutoNation IndyCar Classic at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) have been canceled. The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is being revived as the season finale on a TBA weekend in October.

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Newgarden also is excited about the chance to run at Indianapolis for three major races in one season. Of course, that all depends on how soon IndyCar can return to action because of the global pandemic.

“I’m continually excited about the thought of getting back to the race track,” Newgarden said. “We would love to be there now, but we can’t. With the current situation, everyone is trying to do the best they can to pitch in and do their part so we can get back to the track as quickly as possible.

“I’m excited to get back to racing at some point in the future. To see that is planned to start at Texas is still great. IndyCar has done a great job staying active and fluid with the ever-changing dynamics and current situation.

“We have three opportunities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are a lot of chances to get it right at the Mecca of our sport.

“I have a lot of trust and faith in IndyCar and Roger, and they are doing their best to stay on top of the situation.”

The one downer to the revised schedule is the loss of the Detroit doubleheader, a very important weekend to Team Penske because Roger Penske also owns the Detroit race. It’s a chance to showcase the series in front of as “Motor City” crowd, which is also the home to the Penske Corp.

“It’s a shame that we miss any event this year,” Newgarden said. “As a racer, you look forward to each one of them. If any of them drop off, it’s a tough pill. Detroit is more so because it is such an important race for us at Team Penske. It’s in our backyard for Penske Corp. Also, our relationship with Chevrolet, how much they put I that event and try to get it right for everybody involved. It’s tough to not have a go at that this year.

“I think of the volunteers. The Detroit weekend is so well run and executed with such a positive momentum behind it for the last eight years that I’ve gone there. I’ve always enjoyed that weekend off the back of the Indy 500.

“It’s a shame we will miss that this year, but I look forward to getting back there in 2021 and getting it started again.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500