All Three Mazda Road to Indy Series Set for Indianapolis GP
 May 8, 2018| 
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Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 to Race in Support of the Lupus Foundation

PALMETTO, Fla. – With a history dating back over 100 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ranks right at the top of the list of venues for all open-wheel racers. This weekend around 50 young Indianapolis 500 aspirants, representing all three levels of the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires development ladder, will be chasing victory on the Brickyard’s 2.439-mile Grand Prix road course in a total of six races which will comprise the Royal Purple Synthetic Oil Grand Prix of Indianapolis supporting the Lupus Foundation of America.

It will be the first time since the season began in March on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., that competitors from Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will share the spotlight in support of the exciting, new-look Verizon IndyCar Series cars.

For the second straight year, Royal Purple Synthetic Oil – the Official Oil of the Mazda Road to Indy – will support Lupus Awareness Month to help spread the word on this mysterious disease and raise funds for lupus research and education. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans – and at least five million people worldwide – suffer from a form of lupus. All MRTI cars will display a special decal in support of the Lupus Foundation of America, and the hashtag #RaceToEndLupus will be utilized throughout the event. Fans, drivers and teams can show their support by donating via a special page on the national Lupus Foundation of America website - www.lupus.org/racing.

Kirkwood Leads the Way in USF2000
The first rung of the MRTI ladder, USF2000, has attracted a strong field of 26 cars and drivers representing 10 different nations from around the world for the third and fourth rounds of this year’s 14-race title-chase.

One of the favorites for top honors will surely be Kyle Kirkwood. The 19-year-old from Jupiter, Fla., has taken over the same Cape Motorsports Tatuus-Mazda USF-17 with which life-long friend and fellow karting star Oliver Askew won both races at Indy last year en route to the championship crown. Kirkwood also swept all three F4 US Championship races for the Capes last year at Indianapolis during a dominant campaign, and began his graduation to USF2000 in perfect style by winning the first race of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“To be the championship leader after my debut weekend, to me, is quite an amazing feeling,” says Kirkwood. “We’re very strong at the moment so it's definitely a relief knowing that Cape Motorsports and I are carrying over our momentum from last year.

“IMS is a special track to me,” he continues. “We obviously had great success there last year in the F4 US Championship and so did Oliver Askew and Cape. No doubt it is one of my favorite tracks we will race this year.”

A host of talented young rivals will be seeking to knock Kirkwood – and the Capes – off their perch. Prime among them should be Anglo-Frenchman Alex Baron, who claimed a rampant victory in Race Two at St. Petersburg for the new Swan-RJB Motorsports combination, and last year’s British Formula 4 champion Jamie Caroline, who shone at St. Petersburg for BN Racing despite having not even sat in a USF2000 car prior to the opening practice session.

Mexico’s Jose Sierra (DEForce Racing), who qualified on pole position and finished second in the opening race at St. Pete, and Japanese-born Brazilian Igor Fraga (Exclusive Autosport), who finished second in Race Two, also impressed in Florida, as did Darren Keane (Newman Wachs Racing), from Boca Raton, Fla., and Brazilian Lucas Kohl (Pabst Racing), who each claimed a third-place finish to ensure that six drivers – and six different teams – were represented on the podium in the opening double-header.

Guyana’s Calvin Ming (Pabst Racing) and South African Julian Van der Watt (Team Pelfrey) also are looking to feature in an ultra-competitive field after securing top-finishes in Florida. Others to watch will include Pabst Racing pair Kaylen Frederick (Pabst Racing), from Potomac, Maryland, and young Swede Rasmus Lindh, plus Greenfield, Ind., native Zach Holden (DEForce Racing), plus a pair of fast ladies, Bruna Tomaselli (Team Pelfrey), from Caibi, Brazil, and Grand Junction, Colo., native Sabre Cook (Team Benik).

Max Peichel, from Edina, Minn., and Irishman James Roe, whose uncle, Michael, raced Can-Am cars in the 1980s, are due to make their USF2000 debuts with ArmsUp Motorsports and Swan-RJB Motorsports, respectively.

Two 50-minute test sessions on Thursday, May 10, will be followed by a lone 30-minute practice at 3:45 p.m. A pair of qualifying sessions on Friday at 8:05 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. will set the grids for each of the two races. The first is slated for a green flag at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, and the second at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 12.

Coverage can be found on a series of platforms including Road to Indy TV, the Road to Indy TV App and dedicated broadcast channels on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku and, most recently, the Xbox One Official App as well as live streaming and live timing on the series’ respective websites and indycar.com. Indy Lights is also featured on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts on Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

NBCSN will air Sunday’s Indy Lights race on Tuesday, May 22, at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
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