There is one final weekend of on-track action this year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A popular mix of veteran and rookie drivers will converge this week on the road course, beginning preparations for the 2020 season.
Nearly three dozen drivers representing 12 different countries are on the entry list for the popular two-day test on Saturday and Sunday. This is the ninth annual test session held in the memory of long-time crew chief and team manager Chris Griffis, who played major roles within Indy Lights championship-winning teams at Panther Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports before passing away unexpectedly in September 2011.
The on-track agenda will comprise three 45-minute sessions each day for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
After winning their second consecutive Indy Lights championship, Andretti Autosport will field four turbocharged AER-powered Dallara IL-15 cars at the test. Returning driver Robert Megennis will lead the team after winning one race during his rookie year. He will be joined by rookies Rasmus Lindh and Danial Frost, and Egor Orudzhev. Orudzhev moved up through the open-wheel ranks in Europe, placing third in the 2016 Formula V8 3.5 series, before competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the past few years.
Exclusive Autosport recently announced plans to join Indy Lights in 2020 and while plans are progressing smoothly, the Canadian-owned organization will concentrate its efforts this week on a trio of Indy Pro 2000 cars. HMD Motorsports, which fielded a two-car program in 2019, will not participate in the test as it focuses on an expansion into USF2000 with two new young drivers. Both organizations, along with Juncos Racing, which continued its successful form in 2019, will have an opportunity for track time in the next series test at Sebring in December.
Ricardo Juncos’ 2018 championship-winning team will oversee three Indy Pro 2000 cars this weekend for Parker Locke, Matt Round-Garrido, and Phillippe Denes. A talented pair of rookies, Kellen Ritter and Raoul Hyman, will drive both days of the test for Exclusive Autosport. Belardi Auto Racing, past winners in both the Indy Lights Driver and Team Championships, will field a single-car entry for Rinus VeeKay. The 19-year-old Indy Lights championship runner-up completed his second test with Ed Carpenter Racing at Mid-Ohio after a spectacular debut this summer at Portland.
Defending champion team RP Motorsport USA has entered three drivers for the two-day test, with Artem Petrov, who contested the final handful of races this year, driving both days and USF2000 champion Braden Eves, and USF2000 grad Manuel Sulaiman sharing duties in a second Tatuus PM-18 machine. Eves also will spend one day with Exclusive Autosport, while Sulaiman will return to DEForce Racing for one day after gaining two USF2000 podium finishes in 2019. DEForce veterans Kory Enders and Moises de la Vara will seek to build upon their promising end to the 2019 season, while series veteran Parker Thompson is slated to drive both days with the team.
Jacob Abel will remain with his family-run outfit, with the 14-car entry list completed by Pabst Racing, which is looking to augment its successful USF2000 program after securing back-to-back-to-back team Championships. Hunter McElrea and Colin Kaminsky will step up with the Wisconsin-based team after claiming four wins, eight poles, and 19 podium finishes between them last season. Pabst also will field two USF2000 cars for Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Rick Bouthoorn.
Perennial USF2000 front-runner Cape Motorsports will field a Tatuus USF-17 machine for Reece Gold, while Indianapolis-based Jay Howard Driver Development has entered three cars for Christian Rasmussen, Christian Bogle, and Wyatt Brichacek, who made a strong debut earlier this month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. DEForce Racing will also bring two cars for the Brazilian pair of Eduardo Barrichello and Kiko Porto.
Miller Vinatieri Motorsports will add SCCA Formula F racer Max Kaeser to its roster alongside fellow teenager Jack William Miller, while HMD Motorsports is set to make its USF2000 debut with Viktor Andersson and regular midget and sprint car racer TJ Thompson, who is a mechanic with IndyCar team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The 16-car entry will be completed by Kyle Dupell and Nolan Siegel, who will remain with Newman Wachs Racing, and rookie Jonathan Kotyk with Legacy Autosport. Kotyk, a Team USA Scholarship winner in 2017, capped an impressive FRP F1600 Championship Series-winning season last weekend at Virginia International Raceway where he added a second successive SCCA Formula F National Championship title to his resume.
Live timing and scoring for all sessions will be available on the respective series’ websites, indylights.com, indypro2000.com and usf2000.com, as well as the Road to Indy TV App.