Mazda Road to Indy Drivers Ready for Oval Track Experience
 May 20, 2015| 
  • Series News
PALMETTO, Fla. – Drivers on all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy will gain their first oval track experience of the season – and for some, the first in their young careers – as they return to Indianapolis this week for the #MRTI FreedomFest.

While the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field will contest Friday’s Freedom 100 Presented by Allied Building Products at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the two junior series, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, will congregate one day later at the nearby Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for their respective Cooper Tires Freedom 90 and Mazda Freedom 75 races – the traditional events leading up to the 99th Indianapolis 500 in the “Day Before the 500”.

As part of the Mazda Road to Indy Summit program, all drivers will benefit from a two-hour Oval Racing Clinic on Wednesday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway featuring four-time Indy 500 winner (and long-time Team Penske adviser) Rick Mears, as well as Carlos Munoz and Simona de Silvestro, who will both be among this year’s 33 starters in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” INDYCAR President of Operations and Competition Derrick Walker and five-time Indianapolis 500 starter Johnny Unser. Additional seminars include “How to Create a Winning Sponsorship Proposal” by Mazda Motorsports and simulator training by Racecraft1.

Jamin on a Roll as USF2000 Heads for its Sole Oval Event
Nico Jamin (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) has taken control of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda following a streak of three consecutive victories, including a double-header sweep on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course. Jamin, 19, from Rouen, France, is seeking to become the second Frenchman in as many years (after Florian Latorre) to clinch the USF2000 title and a MAZDASPEED scholarship to progress up to Pro Mazda for 2016.

Jamin currently holds a 19-point advantage over Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing), whose title aspirations were blunted slightly by an unrepresentative 12th-place finish in the most recent race following a clash with fellow American Aaron Telitz (Cape Motorsports). Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., has one win and five additional podium finishes to his credit this year. He also knows how to win on an oval after fighting his way from sixth on the grid to victory at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2014.

Indianapolis-based Australian Anthony Martin (John Cummiskey Racing) is the best placed rookie, fourth in the standings, and is riding a streak of five top-five finishes. Fellow Aussie Luke Gabin burst to prominence for Team Pelfrey in the two recent road course races at Indianapolis with a fifth and a fourth, while Canadian karting standout Parker Thompson also has made good progress with JDC MotorSports under the tutelage of 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.

Other promising youngsters from the international field include Norway’s Ayla Agren, who finished sixth in Race One on the Indy road course for Team Pelfrey, Russian teammate Nikita Lastochkin, who finished a season-high seventh in Race Two at Indy, 15-year-old German Keyvan Andres Soori and China’s Yufeng Luo (Pabst Racing), who already has a pair of top-five finishes to his name.

The Mazda Freedom 75 week will commence with two and a half hours of testing on Wednesday, May 21. After a day off to pour over the data and soak in the experience, the USF2000 field will practice for 20 minutes on Saturday morning, starting at 8:00 a.m. EDT, then reconvene for qualifying at 9:50 a.m. The 75-lap race will take the green flag at 12:15 p.m. Live timing and commentary for all sessions will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at
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