Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Iowa Speedway preview

Leave a comment

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda resume action this weekend at Iowa Speedway, the lone short oval on the 2017 calendar for Indy Lights and the only oval period for USF2000.

After completing their fourth double-headers of 2017 at Road America, both series will contest only one race around the .875-mile oval this weekend. Indy Lights will feature a 100-lap affair, dubbed the Mazda Iowa 100, while USF2000’s will be 60 laps, similarly dubbed the Mazda Iowa 60. Both races are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Below are quick previews for both series.

INDY LIGHTS

  • Top 5 in points: 1. Kyle Kaiser, 199, 2. Matheus Leist, 172, 3. Colton Herta, 161, 4. Nico Jamin, 159, T-5. Aaron Telitz, 149, T-5. Neil Alberico, 149.
  • The Indy Lights field increases to 15 drivers this week, with Chad Boat driving an extra entry for Belardi Auto Racing. This is Boat’s first start in Indy Lights, and will be the first of two starts he’ll make in the 2017 season. He will also race at Gateway Motorsports Park on August 26.
  • Seven drivers entered have raced at Iowa Speedway previously in Indy Lights: Santi Urrutia, Shelby Blackstock, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Neil Alberico, Juan Piedrahita, Dalton Kellett, and Kyle Kaiser.  Chad Boat has also raced at Iowa previously, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards, but never in a single-seater.
  • Matheus Leist won the only other oval race this year (the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Points leader Kyle Kaiser suffered his worst finish of the season (ninth) in the same event, but has previously won on a short oval (Phoenix Raceway, 2016).
  • Recent winners at Iowa Speedway: Félix Serrallés (2016), Max Chilton (2015).

 

USF2000

  • Top five in points: 1. Oliver Askew, 215, Rinus van Kalmthout, 191, 3. Kaylen Frederick, 144, 4. Parker Thompson, 134, 5. Calvin Ming, 112.

    Oliver Askew saw his championship lead dramatically reduced at Road America. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
  • This is the first time USF2000 is competing at Iowa Speedway since 2010. Sage Karam was victorious that year.
  • Points leader Oliver Askew is looking to rebound from a difficult outing at Road America, when loose camber shims on the left-front wheel relegated him to a 17th-place finish in Race 1. While he finished third in Race 2, Rinus van Kalmthout swept the weekend, his first victories in USF2000, and only trails Askew by 24 points heading into the weekend.
  • The field sees a slight drop down to 14 entries. Perhaps most notable among the drivers absent is David Malukas, who won the pole and finished second in Race 1 at Road America.

The USF2000 race will roll off at 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, with Indy Lights slated for 3:00 p.m. ET.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.