Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Carlin confirms Garth Rickards to step up into Indy Lights

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Garth Rickards is the first driver confirmed for Carlin’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires program next season, with the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania native stepping up from the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda ranks into an Dallara IL-15 Mazda.

Carlin ran three cars this year with Ed Jones winning the championship, and graduating to the Verizon IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne Racing. Neil Alberico isn’t confirmed but seems very likely to be back for a second season while a third car would be a topic of intrigue.

As for 24-year-old Rickards, he completed two years in USF2000 with Team Pelfrey and Pabst Racing, and scored his first series podium with third at Mid-Ohio last year, at his de facto home track. Rickards has tested extensively with Carlin this offseason prior to this signing. He showed a lot of pace in USF2000 but was frequently unlucky from a results standpoint, and perhaps that’s why his overall mark wasn’t as good as it could have been.

“To say I am excited is an understatement and I can’t thank everyone who was involved enough,” Rickards said. “Carlin has proven that they are one of the best junior open wheel teams in the world with their track record. Their focus on driver development will really help me grow and move my way up through the field in my rookie season.

“Trevor and the whole Carlin squad have been extremely supportive and I’m excited to work with them hopefully for many years. I want to personally thank David Luther and Luther Automotive for believing in me and helping me continue to chase my dream. Together with all my associate sponsors coming on board it has put us in a great position to be a force in 2017.”

Team principal Trevor Carlin added, “We are extremely pleased to have Garth join us here at Carlin for 2017. Garth has shown real potential in his career so far and it’s always nice to see a driver moving further up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. We know that Garth will be a strong addition to our team and having already worked with him over the course of a test program we’re looking forward continuing where we left off and building a strong program together for the season ahead.”

Rickards is the ninth Indy Lights driver confirmed for 2017. Andretti Autosport (with Steinbrenner Racing for Colton Herta’s entry, 4 total cars), Juncos Racing (2) and Belardi Auto Racing (2) have also confirmed entries with Team Pelfrey now the only team yet to reveal its first driver for next season.

Red Bull driver Verstappen wins Formula One’s Brazilian GP


Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.

Verstappen controlled nearly all the race at Interlagos, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they fought for the fourth position. Both failed to finish.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium after finishing second ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was third but faces an investigation after an incident that caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin.

Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.”

Dutch driver Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing… we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.

Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.