Archive for the ‘Indy Lights’ Category
4.21.14 (via RACER.com) – With our very first win at St. Petersburg just a couple of weeks ago, the team and I were very excited to get back after it, especially at one of the most iconic tracks on the schedule – Long Beach. Last year was my first time getting the opportunity to compete on the circuit and I fell in love with it instantly. Of course for multiple reasons – one, its not like the typical street course; it's very fast and flowing. Third gear in most of the corners whereas in St. Pete and Toronto you're in second. Two, you have the Hairpin, where you're down to just 35mph and you get to drive around a fountain in Turn 3.
Last year our Long Beach weekend started out well, qualifying third but ending the race about 300 yards after the start-finish line on the first lap. So of course, with the championship lead going into the 2014 race, we definitely wanted things to go differently!
Especially with how the points are set up for this season: If a driver fails to compete 50% of the race winner's laps, he or she will only get a single point for that weekend. This puts a heavy price on being overly bold until halfway.
Like St. Pete, our weekend was set up pretty simple. Two practice sessions, qualifying and a 45-lap race. Right from the get go, we put our momentum to good use and ended up P2 in our practice session on Friday. Overall I was pretty happy with the car, but we knew we needed to get more speed out of it. In that situation we made some pretty bold changes on the car for practice two. Looking back it might have just been more of the track that we were chasing which put us behind to P4 in the second practice on Saturday morning. We only had a little over an hour before qualifying, so we went with our gut feel on what to go back on and waited.
At the beginning of the 45-minute session we were playing a bit of catch-up, settling back into the new changes. I felt right away they were the ones we needed. As I got more comfortable with the car, I started to change and try different things with my driving. My engineer was on the radio the whole time telling me what sectors I needed to improve on and where we were the fastest. With about 30 minutes to go, we decided to come in and switch to our first new set of tires. After I got a few laps out of them, we were P1, but I knew it was only going to be for a short time. As I came to pit lane for my second set of new tires, we'd had already fallen to P2. At the point, we decided to make a bigger change than before on the car to help aid the understeer. As I got back on track, we had 9 minutes to go, which only meant 6 or 7 more laps. This was when everyone started putting in their fastest times. We'd be P2, P3, and then P2 again, while everyone was bouncing around.
As I came through the hairpin with only 20 seconds to go, we were 0.15 seconds off, and P4… My engineer told me, "OK, This is going to be your last lap, squeeze everything you can out of her!"
I took a breath to clear my head, and just tried to focus as much as I could to put together a perfect lap; it felt like everything just slowed down for a minute. I came around to the timing line and entered pit lane.
To be honest, I had my head down; I didn't know what kind of lap I just did. A split second later, I heard my engineer come on excitedly saying "Nice job, man! Right now that's pole!" Turns out, the top 4 were separated only by 0.07 of a second… I was only ahead of P2 by 0.03. It was the closest gap I've ever been in! We couldn't believe it.
Of course, getting the pole was a nice start, but only that – a start. Thinking back to St. Pete, we started second, and was able to make a move into turn 1 and go on to win from there. With that being said, we were really focused on making a great start because it's so hard to pass at Long Beach with the low downforce levels.
We were on our way of doing just that as well coming to the green, except for one thing we didn't think about. As Gabby [Chaves] and I were racing neck and neck into Turn 1, his teammate gave him a little push from behind with his front wing. From my point of view, it looked like he pulled another gear. At the same time, I saw Matt Brabham looking to the inside of me.
With the help of the push, Gabby was about a car ahead of me, so it made more sense to let him go, and focus on defending myself from Matt. The race was pretty much sealed from there on, unfortunately. I coasted the first half, trying to save my tires the best I could and came on strong at the end putting the pressure on Gabby. It just wasn't enough.
After 45 laps, we finished second with the fastest lap of the race. We had the fastest car, but a second-place opportunity. All in all, I can't complain with that – we made valuable points, and that's what a championship is all about.
So far, Gabby and I have had identical weekends except for a single point. After Long Beach, I am at 93, and he has 92. It feels great to still be leading the championship, but I'll definitely be working to make our lead bigger next weekend in Barber!
Thank you for reading, and thank you to RePLAY XD, Young Marines, ADS IT Solutions, Zakosi Data Back Up, OMP, Bell, and of course Andretti Autosport for all of the support.
4.7.14 - Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with our INDYCAR drivers from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights and the Verizon IndyCar Series! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at the Grand Prix of Long Beach!
Thursday, April 10
Pit Stop Demo
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, April 11
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz
Verizon IndyCar Autograph Session
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz
w/ a performance by LIVE
The Federal Bar
102 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802
6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Saturday, April 12
Carlos Muñoz meet & greet
INDYCAR Fan Village
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Zach Veach & Matthew Brabham signing
Indy Lights Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
4.2.14 (via RACER) – Zach Veach took the first Indy Lights win of his career with a dominant performance in St. Petersburg. The Andretti Autosport driver, who was one of only three non-rookies in the field, passed polesitter and fellow veteran Gabby Chaves at the first corner, and never looked back. He crossed the line five seconds clear of Chaves, who in turn had a 16s buffer over third-placed Jack Harvey.
"I'm so happy. Last year didn't go exactly how we wanted it to, but my engineer (Doug Zister) never stopped helping me," related Veach. "This winter I spent a lot of time trying to get more physically strong because I felt that was my weakness, and spent a lot of time doing mental things and came into the season with a whole new attitude. I think it paid off for us.
"My engineer definitely was on me a lot about saving tires. In my mind I was thinking, 'Just don't mess up, just hit my marks, have
It was the battle for third that provided most of the race's interest. Early on the position was occupied by Matthew Brabham, who looked a threat for second during the opening laps before he clipped the wall at Turn 3 and was forced to pit with a punctured left-rear tire. That promoted AutoGP champion Vittorio Ghirelli onto the provisional podium, but he was never able to open a gap over the group of cars pursuing him and was eventually beaten with a great move around the outside of the last corner by Harvey.
3.21.14 (via MotorSportsTalk) – Carlos Munoz’s two 2013 starts for Andretti Autosport in an IndyCar produced audible gasps more often than not.
There was no way he was going to make some of the moves and entry lines he did work. At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his line of arcing in so high and then diving so low below the white line in the turns should not have ended without him in the wall. But it did, in second place in his Indianapolis 500 debut.
Then at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana in October, Munoz was moving high or low with ease in an action-packed 100 laps. Then, just past the century-mark, it finally bit him.
The 22-year-old Colombian is a seriously impressive star in the making, and with a full offseason to prepare for his first full season in the championship, he’s the early favorite for rookie-of-the-year honors in the team’s No. 34 Cinsay Honda.
Don’t tell him that, though. Munoz is a quiet, introspective student appreciative of the teammates around him and his countryman, Juan Pablo Montoya, who he’ll have the chance to race this year.
“Yeah, I’m a really quiet guy. I’m really shy,” Munoz admitted during IndyCar media day in Orlando. “That doesn’t mean I’m – how you say – bad person. I’m quiet and shy compared to James (Hinchcliffe). He’s always talking, making jokes, completely different mind.
“But they treat me as one of them. They treat me really well. After Indy they treat me really well! But it’s great to have this combination of drivers, no?”
Munoz didn’t need to produce a star turn in the ‘500 to earn his place on the grid, but it didn’t hurt. He showed enough aggression, poise and pace in his two full seasons in Indy Lights that he was projected to move up this year, despite not winning the championship a year ago.
“That race just gave me the opportunity to be here in a full season,” he said. “I have another chance to go get that race. I’m focused on this year. But now I have my chance and I have to think and work for it.”
At least initially, he may have a slight pace edge on his two countrymen, Montoya and Sebastian Saavedra. Montoya will need to shake the rust off after his extended open-wheel hiatus, while Saavedra acclimates to a new team at KV/AFS Racing.
Munoz said Montoya wasn’t so much his idol, as much as a symbol of what could be achieved when Munoz was growing up. But he plans to consider him just “one of the guys” once on track.
“I don’t like the word ‘idolized,’ but he was a symbol for me when I was a kid, an example for me and many Colombian drivers, to follow him,” Munoz said.
Brabham, 20, is part of the Brabham Family dynasty as grandson of three-time Formula One champion Jack Brabham, son of four-time IMSA GTP champion Geoff Brabham and nephew of two-time ALMS LMP champion David Brabham. With this scholarship he will work with Dr. Jacques Dallaire, Director of Performance Prime, on an individually-designed performance-enhancement program, and will benefit from a unique training program at Jim Leo's PitFit Training – all courtesy of Gorsline Company.
2.28.14 (via RACER.com) – The rivalry that is developing between Matthew Brabham and Gabby Chaves continued to gain momentum when the Cooper Tires Winterfest Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series test concluded with two more days of testing at Barber Motorsports Park. As was the case last Friday and Saturday at NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana, the two protagonists were rarely separated by more than a few tenths of a second during four sessions yesterday and today on the scenic and challenging 2.3-mile road course. On this occasion it was Brabham who emerged with the fastest time for Andretti Autosport.
Brabham, who is seeking to become the first driver ever to win all three steps on the Mazda Road to Indy in consecutive seasons after claiming the 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda championship and last year's Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title, posted a best of 1:15.160 in bitterly cold conditions this afternoon.
"I'm coming out of this test a lot more confident than I was going in, that's for sure. I think we proved that we definitely have the pace to run up front. We were in the top two, fighting for the first few positions time-wise, in every single session, so I'm really, really confident and very happy with how the team's working. They're doing an awesome job. I can't thank the guys enough and I'm really looking forward to the first race in St. Petersburg. It's going to be interesting to see where everybody ends up when testing finishes and we get to the first race, but so far so good for us."
Chaves, who paced this morning's session for Belardi Auto Racing, ended up second overall with a time of 1:15.461 set this afternoon.
Brazilian Luiz Razia completed the test third fastest for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at 1:15.522. The veteran of GP2 in Europe headed Andretti Autosport's Zach Veach (1:15.728), from Stockdale, Ohio, who was feeling much better after being hit by a nasty throat infection last weekend, and Englishman Jack Harvey in a second Schmidt Peterson car on 1:15.806.
2.28.14 – Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires sophomore Zach Veach spent his Friday visiting with eighth-grade students at Riverside Jr. High in nearby Fishers, IN. Veach spoke to six classes totaling about 180 students at the Northside school.
The high school graduate related the technology of Indy cars to what the students in Mr. Brad Bill’s students are about to begin discussing in his Technology Education classes. Zach spoke about aerodynamics, each part of the car, technology within the steering wheel and the journey that has brought him to where he is as an Indy Lights driver today.
“I am very privileged to be here today at Riverside (Jr. High) speaking to Mr. Bill’s eighth-grade classes about my passion and hopefully getting more youth involved in our sport,” the 19-year-old said. “A lot of the kids seem very interested in what we’re showing them. I’m hoping to see a lot of them make it out to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May!”
This is the fifth year Andretti Autosport has participated in a school visit with Riverside Jr. High bringing along a show car to reference to during the visit for Mr. Bill’s class.
Veach and Indy Lights teammate Matthew Brabham will next head to Milwaukee, WI this weekend for a series of appearances on behalf of the ABC Supply Co. Inc. Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers. Fans can meet the American Andretti Autosport duo at the Greater Milwaukee Auto Show in front of the Milwaukee IndyFest show car on Saturday from 3 – 4 p.m. CT and 11a.m. – 12p.m. on Sunday. They will also be bowling at JB’s on 41 Sunday at 7p.m. for anyone who would like to join.
2.27.14 (via RACER.com) – Three of auto racing's rising stars under the age of 21 who have already demonstrated their talents on North American racetracks for at least a dozen years are candidates for the 20th Gorsline Scholarship in 2014.