IndyCar – The Road To Indy

There have been many things fans, teams, drivers, and sponsors have all been requesting/begging/demanding from the Indy Racing League. We asked for better racing than we were getting at the beginning of 2009, and we got it. We asked for multiple manufacturers for both the engines and the chassis, and it looks like we might get those. We asked for a title sponsor, and we got that, too. One big thing that people have been asking for that will do more to improve the influx of new talent and hopefully put a turnicate on the draining of young open-wheel talent to Europe or stock cars, is a clear ladder system through which a young driver could enter and eventually find their way to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Well, now we have that, too. As we speculated earlier when the US F2000 National Championship announced their 2010 schedule, Star Mazda has now joined as the 2nd rung in that ladder. Sharing many dates with the US F2000 series and a few with the IZOD IndyCar Series, Star Mazda once again has clear direction for its graduates.


With the diminishing Atlantics Championship, it was unclear what would become of the very strong and well populated Star Mazda Series. Now we know that Mazda not only has an interest in keeping the Star Mazda series healthy, but also in supporting some of the other series withing the Road To Indy progression. Mazda is also the exclusive provider of powerplants to the US F2000 series, and with the current Firestone Indy Lights engines remaining unbadged since the departure of Infinity, one has to wonder if there might not be an opportunity for 2011 to see the Firestone Indy Lights Series Powered by Mazda. Take that great rotory engine from the RX8, boost the output with a nice large turbo, and you’d have one heck of a race engine. …but that’s just a bit of wishful thinking on my part for now. I certainly don’t have any data to back up that speculation. At any rate, the future is looking good for young drivers who want to test their talent on all types of circuits against drivers from all over the planet. The Indy Racing League is now poised to become the most diverse series in motorsports with respect to both drivers and types of courses.

Here’s what Brian Barnhart had to say in the announcement article at

“In creating the Road to Indy, we are trying to bridge the gap between the premier open-wheel racing divisions and the entry level open-wheel series by creating a clear career path for aspiring racing drivers,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League, which also sanctions the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

“With the Road to Indy, a driver has the opportunity to hone his professional racing skills at an early stage of his or her career and has a chance to build upon those skills in a professional environment while driving similar-style open-wheel racing vehicles on similar tracks at every step.”

All three series will race on ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits and program participants will have the opportunity to showcase their drivers and teams in front of IZOD IndyCar Series teams and owners each year. In 2010, all three series will join the IZOD IndyCar Series at race weekends in St. Petersburg, Fla., (March 26-28) and at Iowa Speedway (June 18-20).

Additionally, all four series will conduct events Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis — Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda and Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear racing at O’Reilly Raceway Park at the “Night Before the 500,” while Firestone Indy Lights (Firestone Freedom 100) and IZOD IndyCar Series (Indianapolis 500) race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Come celebrate American Open Wheel Racing at its finest with the Openpaddock Crew at the Indianapolis O’Reilly Raceway Park the night before the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race to see the new US F2000 series, Star Mazda, and the USAC Sprints and Midgets. Shaun, Mike, and myself will be there hopefully in Turn 1. Give us a tweet to @Openpaddock when you’re at the track.

2010 Race Schedules

Cooper Tire Presents the US F2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda:

Date Venue Headliner
3/27–3/28 St. Petersburg IndyCar Series
5/29 O’Reilly Raceway Park USAC
6/19 Iowa Speedway IndyCar Series
6/26-6/27 New Jersey Motorsports Park Star Mazda
7/31 Autobahn Country Club, Joliet, IL Star Mazda
8/21-8/22 Road America ALMS
9/30-10/1 Road Atlanta ALMS

Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear:

Date Venue Headliner
3/19 Sebring International Raceway ALMS
3/26 St. Petersburg IndyCar Series
5/22 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ALMS
5/29 O’Reilly Raceway Park USAC
6/19 Iowa Speedway IndyCar Series
6/26-6/27 New Jersey Motorsports Park Feature
7/31-8/1 Autobahn Country Club, Joliet, IL Feature
8/15 Circuit Trois-Rivières Feature
8/21 Road America ALMS
8/28 Mosport International Raceway ALMS
10/1 Road Atlanta ALMS

Related posts

3 Thoughts to “IndyCar – The Road To Indy

  1. I was expecting something like this when Star Mazda and USF2000’s dates lined up so perfectly. Add that to the increase in Mazda commercials during IndyCar events towards the end of the season and we knew something was up. Now they have taken the platform of the PRI show in Orlando to officially announce it and I can say I am very happy with the results.

    One concern is that all the USAC drivers used to wear patches on their uniforms that said “Road to Indy” and we all know how that worked out for them….

    The usac sprints will not be in attendance at “The Night Before the 500”. It has traditionally been a midget only show. But that is fine by me, cause the midgets are freaking awesome on that track. Chad Boat, Bobby East, Cole Whitt…. Cant wait! It has been too long since I have attended at IRP.

  2. I’m not concerned that the USF2000 and Star Mazda drivers will have the same issues as USAC drivers. Let’s face it, the nature of USAC racing does not prepare one for the type of cars that we’ve seen at Indianapolis for the past 30-40 years. Its a long outdated link. Karting and lower formula cars is where young drivers gain the skills needed to handle a modern IndyCar.

  3. No arguments from me on that point Doug. I am excited to see how this works out for the series in the coming years.

Comments are closed.