Not only are the drivers and teams starting to align for the IZOD Indycar series we’re starting to see a number of signings on rungs of the Road To Indy ladder series.
Firestone Indy Lights
Andretti Autosport/AFS Racing: Has signed 20-year-old Columbian Carlos Munoz to his second full season in the series with an Indy 500 start. Long-term development Driver Zach Veach, 17, Stockdale, Ohio, signed the second seat. Veach apparently got the seat over Sage Karam, 18,Nazareth,PA., because Veach has put together a better sponsorship package.
Sam Schmidt Motorsport: The long term dominate team in this series got stronger this year when they signed Jack Hawksworth, The 21-year-old Brit who dominated the Star Mazda Series so much he skipped the last race. SSM is expected to field at least two more cars, supposedly Karam is chasing the seat funded by Lucas Oil. The team also tested Canadian Indy Lights veteran David Ostella in November.
Belardi Auto Group: Signed Peter Dempsey whose website weirdly claim’s he’s Ireland’s top racing Driver (Relatively certain there are like a dozen drivers including Derek Daly and his son who would disagree with that statement). They could field two to three cars in total.
Team Moore Racing: Will probably have two new drivers as Gustavo Yacaman and David Ostella look to be moving on. Team Moore tested Mikael Grenier, 20,Quebec, at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test and Gustavo Menezes, 18, Marina Del Ray, CA at test in Kentucky. No word on who they might sign in 2013.
Juncos Racing: Strung together a full season between a couple of different drivers, haven’t announced any drivers across any of the ladder series.
Bryan Herta Autosport: Has all the equipment needed to run an Indy Lights team, no word if they will though.
Jeffery Mark Motorsports: Fielded one car last year and is expected to return for 2013, recently posted pictures of their car without any significant sponsorship.
Kyle O’Gara: He’s Sarah Fisher’s teenage nephew and they’re looking to put together a mixed Indy Lights/Pro Mazda schedule for 2013
Pro Mazda Series (Formerly Star Mazda)
Andretti Autosport: Will move Shelby Blackstock, 22, up from their USF-2000 operation and has signed USF-2000 Champion Matthew Brabham, 18, for 2013, and perhaps beyond.
JDC Racing: Hasn’t announced any drivers for 2012 but could have anywhere between two to four cars.
Juncos Racing: Will have at least one Brazilian driver and has inked a deal with Brazilian sports management to funnel funded Brazilian drivers to their team going forward.
Team Pelfrey: Ran three cars in 2012, including Hawksworth. No drivers announced for 2013, but since Ryan Tveter, 18, took over Hawkworth’s seat at Road Atlanta after he clinched the championship and Spencer Pigot, 19, was a Pelfery junior driver, and tested with Pelfery it would seem likely those two have inside shots at those rides
Matthew Di Leo: The 17-year-old Canadian is on the edge between the USF-2000 and star Mazda. He could return for a second year in USF-2000 or move up to Pro Mazda. Funding will probably determine which series he ends up in.
Ashley Freiberg: One of TrueCar’s development drivers she’s recently tweeted she should have a deal done for 2013 soon. No word what series, but she would probably benefit from another year in Pro Mazda
CapeMotorsportswith Wayne Taylor: This team swept the top two positions in this series with Matthew Brabham and Spencer Pigot have signed Neil Alberico, 20, Los Gatos,CA and Scott Hargrove, 18,British Columbiafor the 2013 season.
Belardi Auto Racing: has signed Matt McMurray, 14, of Phoenix Arizona and is expected to have one teammate for him.
JDC Racing: Has signed Michael Johnson, 20,Detroit, paralyzed from the hips down Johnson drives with the aide of a special steering wheel. British teenager Sennan Fielding also drove for JDC and matched Johnson’s times during the Griffis test
Tim Paul, who at 28 is like at least eight years older than most everyone else in this series, will compete with a team TBA.
Peter Portante: Until now this 15 year old has been splitting his time between NASCAR feeder series but he won the Skip Barber Race Series Shootout Awards at Road Atlanta this December and won a $200,000 scholarship to compete in the USF-2000 series. With that scholarship he can pick his ride and plenty of seats are still open.
Jake Edison: Finished second in the Skip Barber shootout and won a $25,000 scholarship and showed speed with Belardi at the Griffis test
Brandon Newy: Son of Steve Newy, who is a partner in Bryan Herta Autosport, he finished second in F-1600 this year and tested for JDC at Griffis.
Jack Mitchell, 16, Chicago, Ill, Winner of a Team USA scholarship earlier this year and is expected to be in USF-2000 in 2012