Amidst the uncertainty surrounding many things involving the Indy Racing League (title sponsor, Brazil race, new engine/chassis specs), one more iron is added to the fire: F2000. The Indy Racing League has recently signed an agreement to be the sanctioning body for the U.S. F2000 National Championship. This is certainly an interesting move, and an uplifting one in some respects. If successful, the new F2000 series could provide a solid ladder sequence for young drivers to make their way to Indianapolis. Last year, the IRL supported the Snap-On Stars of Karting series by being a presenting sponsor, and the league is heavily involved with karting around the Indianapolis area. With the addition of F2000, the league now has that first step in to cars that will give young drivers the experience they need in order to be successful in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. This won’t be the only F2000-spec series out there, however. Peter Windsor’s USF1 has endorsed the F2000 Championship Series as their “official feeder series” and from the looks of things, that series is strong and lot likely to be closing up shop any time soon. Presumably, the new USF2000 series would be sharing race weekends with the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. That would certainly give the new series its best opportunity for exposure, and it would give young drivers, mechanics, and engineers the best opportunity to network with the bigger teams in hopes of moving up the ladder. I’m concerned as to where this leaves the Mazda open-wheel program, though. Star Mazda and Formula Atlantics have both offered great racing and good opportunities for young drivers over the years, but with the Atlantics only having 10 entries this year and looking to be all but dead for next year, I’m not sure where the Star Mazda series sits. Andersen Racing has heavy involvement the Star Mazda series, but with their reintroduction of the USF2000 series, Star Mazda is left with a diminished grid, and no clear place for its graduates to go. There’s a lot of positives to this deal, but I also see a lot of negative side effects. I suppose we’ll just have to wait until 2010 and see how this all turns out.
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