Megennis (left) and Fischer (right). Photos: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Pelfrey retains Megennis, Fischer for second seasons

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Team Pelfrey has confirmed its first two drivers for its Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires programs in 2017, with Robert Megennis (Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) and TJ Fischer (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) set for their second seasons in each of the respective championships. The team has moved its operations for both to Indianapolis over the winter.

Megennis was perhaps the revelation of the 2016 USF2000 campaign, as the series’ top rookie at just age 16. He has the potential to win races and contend for a title this year, as the USF2000 championship shifts to the debut of the new Tatuus USF-17 chassis.

“I am delighted to be returning to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda with Team Pelfrey. The revitalized team, relocated to Indianapolis, will be hard to beat,” said Megennis, who will drive the No. 80 Palo Alto Networks entry. “After the awesome rookie season we had in 2016, I’m super excited to see what we can do in our second year in the series and my third year in yellow!”

Fischer moved up midseason from USF2000 into Pro Mazda. The Californian was consistent, frequently finishing between fifth and sixth, and has potential to become a podium regular this year.

“It’s clear, they have won the past two Pro Mazda titles, and the demeanor within the team shows why they’ve been so successful. Last year, I got a taste of what racing in the Pro Mazda Championship was like and now I am able to learn from the 2016 season and apply it to a full proper year,” said Fischer, who during the year will work to increase awareness on his Project O2 initiative. Fischer created the O2 campaign, which is designed to inform, inspire, and innovate a new path to asthma awareness.

These two signings should kick off a flurry of Mazda Road to Indy announcements for Pro Mazda and USF2000 over the next month or so, before the official preseason test takes place in Homestead, Fla. at the end of February.

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.