Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Indy Lights News…

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted September 6, 2008 at 6:17 pm Indy Lights, open wheel racing news

This has been an interesting week for Indy Lights drivers and teams. I have several tidbits to provide…

The biggest surprise is Dillon Battistini’s move from Panther Racing to Team Moore Racing. Dillon had a very good start to the season, claiming one pole position and four victories…all with Panther Racing. Dillon’s relationship with Panther seemed to be quite good as the team even put him in an Indy Car at Kentucky for a day of testing and evaluation. Although neither Panther Racing or Dillon will comment on the situation, it may be safe to assume that the departure has something to do with Battistini’s Indy Car hopes for 2009.

Michael Crawford Motorsports has decided to shut their doors after this weekend, reportedly due to several drivers leaving the team without paying their bills. Tom Dyer is driving for MCM this weekend at Chicagoland, making his second Indy Lights start. MCM has worked hard on their program and it’s a shame to see it disappear. Michael Crawford doesn’t seem to be affected much as a new opportunity awaits…. Just today he was announced as the new manager of HVM’s Indy Lights effort for 2009. (more to follow) It appears that Keith Wiggins of HVM just bought out MCM’s Indy Lights Program.

HVM Racing, largely known for their years in the Champ Car World Series, has announced their interest in a Indy Lights Program for 2009. Team owner Keith Wiggins is looking to expand on his new Indy Car program by adding a two car effort in the Indy Lights series for 2009, as stated above; Michael Crawford will serve as the general manager for the team. Wiggins is looking for a way to help driver’s pursuing an Indy Car ride, while closely monitoring the talent first hand.

Bobby Wilson will drive for Panther Racing this weekend. He spent 2008 driving for Team E, in their series debut. According to inside sources, Team E elected to skip both Infineon and Chicagoland in an effort to save money for their 2009 assault fielding two cars. Wilson also skipped Infineon, most likely due to funding issues, so it’s good to see him back in a car this weekend.

Wade Cunningham has signed with Integra Motorsports for the weekend and Pablo Donoso will join Mo’s Gold this weekend. With all the team changes, it appears several drivers are evaluating their options for 2009….should they return for another season of Indy Lights racing.

The Indy Lights season finale will be televised live tomorrow on ESPN 2.

The much anticipated championship battle between Rafa Matos and Richard Antinucci looks to be dimming slightly. Matos came out today with an incredible qualifying effort, picking up the pole position and adding a point to his championship lead (now up to only four points). I will say that I could visibly see Rafa’s fire during qualifying as he attacked the 1.5 mile oval. Antinucci qualified a decent ninth, but failed to make much improvement after this morning’s practice sessions. We all know that a solid qualifying effort doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best race car (in traffic), so tomorrow’s SunRichGourmet.com 100 will be an interesting race. Make sure to watch all the live coverage on ESPN 2.

Here is your starting line-up.

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