Mazda Road to Indy testing notes from Tuesday at Road America

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Aaron Telitz

The Mazda Road to Indy ladder series is back in action following a short break post-May.  Each level of the minor league open-wheel program was on track Monday at Road America for a morning and afternoon session of testing.

Some of the headlines from Monday included 2017 USF2000 champion Oliver Askew’s absence from his Cape Motorsports machine, Pro Mazda points leader Parker Thompson’s neutered day due to gearbox issues and Dalton Kellett’s binned Andretti Autosport Indy Lights chariot.

Day two is shaping up to be another exciting venture with a shower or two possible amid the abundant sunshine.

Below we will have updates from contributors on the scene as well as other resources that may be useful for our readers.  We hope you enjoy the coverage of the event and look forward to the second half of this Mazda Road to Indy championship across all three levels.

Testing Schedule  |  Indy Lights Entry List  |  Pro Mazda Entry List  |  USF2000 Entry List

Indy Lights  |  Combined Results

Pro Mazda  |  Combined Results

USF2000  |  Combined Results

Tuesday, June 12 News and Notes

Update from 8:30 p.m. Central time

After two full days of on-track action, the Mazda Road to Indy test at Road America has come to a close.

Across the three levels of the MRTI ladder, drivers turned a total of 3,312 laps which amounts to 13,294.368 miles around the 4.014-mile Wisconsin road course.  A grand total of 48 drivers took laps during the multi-session test.

In Indy Lights, rookies stole the show as Victor Franzoni (No. 23 Juncos Racing) paced the field with his lap time of 1:52.7325 that was set during Tuesday’s morning session.  Franzoni is currently 4th in the Indy Lights championship, 50 points behind points leader Colton Herta.

The man right behind Herta in the championship standings is Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Indy Lights machine.  O’Ward was runner-up on the time sheets for this week’s test, setting a fast time of 1:52.8097s that was just seven hundredths of a second off of Franzoni’s quickest time.

Rounding out the Indy Lights podium for the Road America summer test was another Andretti Autosport product, Ohio’s own Ryan Norman.  After completing 71 laps over four sessions, Norman registered a time at 1:53.3538s on Tuesday that was his best of the week.  Norman currently sits 5th in points, 61 tallies from the lead.

With just seven participants in the Indy Lights test, the rest of the field aligned as follows: 4th for Santi Urrutia (No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing), 5th for Aaron Telitz (No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing), 6th for Colton Herta (No. 98 Steinbrenner Racing) and 7th for Dalton Kellett (No. 28 Andretti Autosport).

While the championship leader Herta could only place 6th on the hot lap charts, expect him to be better in 10 days when the series returns to Road America.  The young prospect accumulated 72 laps of action over the two-day test and should be well-prepared for a strong doubleheader showing later this month.

As with Indy Lights, most of the week’s fastest times in Pro Mazda were set during Tuesday morning’s blazing-quick session.  All but one of the 16 drivers to take times this week in a Pro Mazda machine set their best times in a session other than the final stanza.

The time of 2:00.3640s for David Malukas stood up as the quickest on the day, edging out Rinus Veekay by just 0.14 seconds for best lap of the test.  Both drivers completed 67 laps across Monday and Tuesday, and seemed to be in each other’s tracks all day long.

Despite some mechanical gremlins hampering his efforts on Monday, championship leader Parker Thompson rolled his Exclusive Autosport PM-18 to 3rd on the overall time charts with a lap time of 2:00.8867s.  Even with the issues on Monday, Thompson was able to rack up 46 laps of track time.

A total of 955 laps were completed across the four sessions with Raul Guzman completing the most laps with 85.  In an odd two days at the track, 2017 USF2000 champion Oliver Askew was remarkably quiet with just 37 laps complete and a best time of 2:02.3481s, 11th quick.

Not to be forgotten, USF2000 had a strong presence at the track this week with 25 drivers taking times and a total of 1,900 laps accumulated.

Kaylen Frederick, just 9th in the championship standings, was quickest in testing while driving for Pabst Racing.  Frederick, 16, turned a lap at 2:09.3357s that beat out Lucas Kohl (2:09.4150s) and championship leader Kyle Kirkwood (2:09.4289s).

Additionally, Frederick tied Rasmus Lindh for most laps completed in the two-day test with 94.

Other notables for USF2000 included Alex Baron (Swan-RJB Motorsports, 2nd in points) finishing 12th on the time sheets, Jose Sierra (DEForce Racing, 3rd in points) placing 8th overall, and the reigning Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship winner Keith Donegan down at 20th overall.

Each level of the Mazda Road to Indy will be back in action from June 22-24 for the KOHLER Grand Prix race weekend.  Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 will all feature two races so there will be no shortage of action.

Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for continued coverage of the Mazda Road to Indy.

Update from 12:30 p.m. Central time

Business is picking up!  Each level of the Mazda Road to Indy have completed their morning test sessions and now will break for lunch.  USF2000 be back in action at 12:45 p.m. Central to kick off the final afternoon session.

Earlier in the day, many USF2000 drivers set their fastest lap times of the week with 22 prospects turning their quickest lap of the two-day test this morning.  Kaylen Frederick laid down the cleanest circuit of them all when he broke off a 2:09.3357s lap that was good for a 111.728 mph average around Road America’s 4.014-mile course.

Lucas Kohl was once again fast today as he improved to 2nd on the combined speed chart from today and yesterday.  He improved his best time to 2:09.4150, less than a tenth behind the pace Frederick set in the session.  Kory Enders finished with the morning’s third-fastest lap at 2:09.5856s, which slotted just behind Kyle Kirkwood’s time of 2:09.4289s from yesterday on the combined chart.

Through three test sessions, 25 drivers have taken times in USF2000 action with a total of 1,351 laps turned to this point.  Rasmus Lindh has completed the most laps of all drivers so far with 67 trips around Road America’s 14-turn course.

Much like the USF2000 session, many Pro Mazda drivers went quicker in today’s morning practice than they had at any point on Monday.  David Malukas continues to slug it out with Rinus VeeKay as they were P1 and P2, respectively.  Malukas ran a lap at 2:00.3640s that just edged VeeKay’s best time of 2:00.5057s.

Pro Mazda championship leader Parker Thompson was back in action this morning after a muted day yesterday with mechanical issues.  The Canadian driver completed 22 laps in the AM session today and registered a time at 2:00.8867s, good for P3 on the overall time chart.

Last year’s USF2000 champion, Oliver Askew, also returned to the track Tuesday morning to complete his first laps of the two-day test.  Askew was on the sidelines for each session on Monday but completed 20 laps earlier today and is slated to be back behind the wheel this afternoon.  His quickest laps was a 2:02.3481s circuit, good for P11 out of the 16 drivers to take times this week.

Raul Guzman continues to turn the most laps for all Pro Mazda drivers this week.  Guzman has finished 65 laps over the three test sessions while Harrison Scott has 64 laps completed to his credit.

Finally, Indy Lights has also been on-track today and just wrapped up their third session out of a scheduled four.  Each of the seven Indy Lights participants set their fastest lap times of the two-day test this morning.

Victor Franzoni is leading the way for Juncos Racing as he set a time at 1:52.7325s, just beating out Pato O’Ward for that top spot.  O’Ward clicked off a lap at 1:52.8097s, more than five tenths better than the next closest challenger who was Ryan Norman in P3.

The rest of the field included Santi Urrutia in P4, Aaron Telitz at P5, Colton Herta a surprising P6, and Dalton Kellett rounding things out in P7.

Kellett, 24, rejoined the action today after losing control of this Andretti Autosport machine in yesterday’s afternoon session and sustaining damage.  His crew worked into the night to repair the car and had him ready to roll for the start of practice this morning.  He was two seconds off of the pace set by Franzoni in session three.

Each driver with the exception of Kellett has completed at least 51 laps over the three sessions with Ryan Norman the lap leader at 56.  A total of 356 laps have been recorded over the past two days.

Here are a couple additional notes going into the final afternoon sessions.

  • Each series has one final test session remaining, with the sessions being no longer than 1 hour and 30 minutes.  USF2000 hits the track first after lunch, followed by Pro Mazda and then Indy Lights.
  • The times seen this morning will likely stand as the quickest of the two-day test as the sun is expected to break out of the clouds this afternoon and raise the temperatures into the mid-70s.
  • Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship winner Keith Donegan has struggled a bit this season in the transition to USF2000.  He is currently 12th in the points, a whopping 105 tallies behind leader Kyle Kirkwood.  Through the three sessions at Road America this week, Donegan is only 20th quick with a time just over 1.5 seconds off of the pace.
  • Victor Franzoni and Pato O’Ward are the only two rookies in Indy Lights this year, though they continue to flourish.  The pairing is leading test sessions here at Road America and in the Indy Lights championship, O’Ward is 2nd while Franzoni is 4th.

Update from 8:15 a.m. Central time

The time is 8:15 a.m. and USF2000 machines are buzzing around Road America as we speak for their first of two practice sessions today.  We are overcast to start the day and a shower or two is a threat though passing sun will also be present as well.  The temperature is a humid 63 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are a couple of quick notes to get the day started before our later recaps.

  • Oliver Askew is slated to hit the track today after missing all of yesterday’s action.  The defending USF2000 champion is 5th in the Pro Mazda championship, currently 73 points off of leader Parker Thompson.
  • We expect Dalton Kellett to run in at least one of the two Indy Lights sessions today.  Kellett was involved in a significant accident yesterday that damaged his No. 28 Andretti Autosport machine, but his team has been hard at work and it is expected that he will run in his own car.
  • Toby Sowery will hit the track again today for BN Racing in the Pro Mazda division.  Sowery was announced to the team earlier in the month.  The British driver was a 2017 participant in the USF2000 championship where he ran two races at Barber Motorsports Park and finished 11th & 5th.

Image provided courtesy of Mazda Road to Indy Media.

Tanner Watkins

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