I apologize for my absence. It's been over a month since I last wrote a Ladder Report here at PopOffValve.com. It's been a busy month, to say the least - so I'm still working on getting caught up on everything. I can't promise that I will be updating here weekly, but I will do my best to feed your junior formula cravings on a semi-frequent basis.
Now, ... where to start? I suppose we should just focus on the month of May.
Rookie Orientation- Seven drivers took part in the Firestone Indy Lights' rookie orientation test at Kentucky Speedway. The first oval of the season will be run May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway- The Freedom 100. It seems strange that the IRL didn't just run the rookie test at IMS before the May 14 Open Test, in an effort to cut costs for struggling teams/drivers.
Inge Returns to F2000 Championship- Matthew Inge, who finished second in the 2009 F2000 Championship, made his return to the series at Road Atlanta. Despite battling a misfiring engine in qualifying for Race 1, Inge proceeded to drive through the field passing 19 cars in 18-laps.
USF2000 and Star Mazda Test at O'Reilly Raceway Park- The 'Road to Indy' development series (USF2000, Star Mazda, Indy Lights) will all be running in Indianapolis over Memorial Day weekend. USAC Midgets, the USF2000 National Championship and the Star Mazda Championship will all race the "Night Before the 500" at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Drivers from USF2000 and Star Mazda had a chance to sample the track on May 5; here are the times from Day 1 and Day 2.
Driver Profile: Joel Miller- Every so often I write a feature story on an ill-funded driver who I feel has an exceptional amount of talent. This month's driver is American Joel Miller. If you want to read the full story and learn a little more about Miller, make sure to click the link above. If you're interested in skipping the article and reading the interview - click here.
Ben Searcy withdraws from USF2000 National Championship- Ben Searcy and ZSports Midwest have withdrawn from the USF2000 National Championship due to inadequate funds. As noted in my article (linked above), Searcy is a true talent and it would be a shame to see him conclude the 2010 season on the sidelines. Speaking of Ben, you can take a ride with him (not literally) in his ZSports MIdwest USF2000 car at St. Petersburg here.
Simmons in at Team E for Indianapolis Freedom 100- Simmons, 34, has four career Freedom 100 and Indy 500 starts under his belt. He was originally planning to try for a fifth Indy 500 start, but a lack of funds relegated him to the Freedom 100. He should do quite well.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. Signs with Andersen Racing for the Freedom 100- Luyendyk might not be as old as Simmons but he certainly has more starts. The 28-year-old race driver will make his 63rd Indy Lights start on May 28, driving for Andersen Racing. His only win came in his very last start - Chicagoland 2008.
Yacaman Tops Indy Lights Open Test- Gustavo Yacaman set the fastest lap of the May 14 Open Test for Firestone Indy Lights' competitors. Sixteen drivers took part in the test.