Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Iowa 'Road to Indy' Recap

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm open wheel racing news

Last weekend was historic in that the USF2000 National Championship, Star Mazda Championship, Indy Lights and the IndyCar Series all took part in a race weekend at the same venue as part of the ‘Road to Indy’ development program.  I was fortunate to be in attendance.

I decided to bullet a few thoughts on the weekend.

What Was Good:

  • It was great to see the USF2000 and Star Mazda competitors performing in front of all the IndyCar team owners as well as a decent number of race fans. As a whole, I thought the weekend was incredibly successful.
  • Iowa Speedway did a great job hosting the event.
  • The weather turned out great considering the unfavorable forecast presented to us prior to the event.  Friday night the track itself was completely flanked by severe storms — I’m still not sure how they missed us.
  • The media center had some pretty fabulous meals which included: fresh salads w/various dressing, grilled pork chops and chicken breasts, bbq beef brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream with all the toppings you can imagine, a crepe buffet (which also included all the toppings you can image – crepes were drizzled with various fruit, chocolate, caramel, whip cream, etc.  Not exactly health food but it sure was good.
  • I had the opportunity to meet several contacts who I’ve been in touch with for a long time, but never met face-to-face.  The down side is I didn’t have time to catch up with everyone that I had hoped to.
  • Photography.  I had the opportunity to play both photographer and reporter over the weekend which was a challenge — but very enjoyable.  The weekend itself was consumed by running back and forth from the paddock for interviews, to the track/pit/victory lane for photos and, of course, trying to make it back to the media center in order to get the written report out in a timely manner.
  • Several drivers had a great weekend: Sage Karam, Conor Daly and Sebastian Saavedra each won their respective race.
  • In addition to the race winners; honorable mention has to go to the following competitors for a great weekend:  Raphael Abbate, Mikhail Goikhberg, Jorge Goncalvez, Joao Horto, Nick Andries, Martin Plowman, Adrian Campos Jr.  — just to name a few — who stood out.
  • During the race weekend it was common to see drivers from all four of the ‘Road to Indy’ series mingling and enjoying the weekend together, rather than each sticking to their own area of the paddock.
  • The race fans at Iowa were very receptive to the junior formula series which was great to see.  Before the Indy Lights race, Charlie Kimball was being broadcast over the loud speaker while talking about managing his diabetes while in the car.  The looks shared by the fans, while listening, were priceless.
  • I could go on-and-on about the weekend but you get the general idea. It was a great experience.  Hopefully other facilities will follow suit and promote the event heavily.
  • On Sunday I was able to sit back and enjoy the IndyCar race – which was incredibly exciting.  It’s not often that I get the opportunity to say the IndyCar race topped the junior formula races… but, I think in this case, it did.

Things I would change:

  • Honestly, not much.
  • I love watching the Indy Lights’ cars run under the lights but it might be nice if a Thursday practice was added an all four series could run the same day- Saturday evening.  Obviously it would be an incredibly long day/night but it might bring in a few more spectators, not to mention the opportunity to promote/expose today’s up-and-coming drivers to a larger crowd.  The USF2000 race was run too early on Saturday in my opinion.
  • Interest in junior formula racing seemed dismal in the media center, which was disappointing to say the least. That said, the lack of interest certainly can’t be applied to all.  As more of these events are put on by the IRL — I expect the overall interest and attractiveness of the feeder series to grow.
  • Oh, I almost forgot, it would be nice to see this brought back to the grandstands. Try not to laugh.
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3 Comments

  1. Arni on June 24, 2010 12:42 pm

    Thanks for coming out JOWT. We’re taking baby steps in making the Road to Indy a very big thing. Hopefully, you’ll be a big part in that.

    Arni

  2. Ryan on June 24, 2010 12:51 pm

    Not a problem Arni. It was great to be there and take-in the event first hand. The ‘Road to Indy’ development program has tremendous potential.

  3. Doug on June 25, 2010 8:40 am

    Its real disappointing to hear of such a lack of interest from those within the media center. I can tell you that there are a lot of fans out there. Many of us within Indy Downforce are very excited about the junior series. Keep the faith, Ryan!

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