As part of today’s Penske Entertainment Corp. Year in Review News Conference in Long Beach, California, PEC President and CEO Mark Miles announced that INDYCAR and Andersen Promotions Owner and CEO Dan Andersen have agreed that INDYCAR will become the sanctioning body and promoter of the Indy Lights series after the 2021 season.
Indy Lights is the final step on the successful Road to Indy ladder system that develops drivers and teams to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Cooper Tires will continue as a trusted partner for the Road to Indy and provide tires for all three developmental series.
“For many years, Dan Andersen has been integral to the success of Indy Lights,” Miles said. “His leadership since his group took over promotion in 2014 was crucial. However, with the Penske acquisition of INDYCAR, we have an opportunity to bring the series in-house, which we think can provide greater opportunity for the growth of the top level of the ladder series.”
Over its 35-year history, Indy Lights has provided an excellent pipeline for open-wheel’s future stars. Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden are former Indy Lights champions who have gone on to become INDYCAR SERIES champions. Currently, 20 drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES are Indy Lights graduates, including rising stars and 2021 race winners Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay. 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew found success in each of Andersen Promotions’ Road to Indy programs (Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000, and USF2000) and is among the eight former champions who have joined the bold and daring athletes of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Andersen Promotions will continue stewardship of Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000.
“It has been our pleasure and honor to oversee the promotion and organization of Indy Lights for these past eight seasons,” Andersen said. “We are proud of the results demonstrated by the quick success of our many recent graduates. The Road to Indy works as a training program, and we will continue to develop young drivers and move them up to Indy Lights and, ultimately, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”
In recent years, there have been many inspiring and successful stories of growing Indy Lights teams that have groomed drivers and crew members for the elite level of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. This season, Juncos Hollinger Racing joins Carlin, Andretti Autosport and Arrow McLaren SP as INDYCAR SERIES teams that have competed in Indy Lights.
“It is about strengthening the pipeline to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES,” Miles said. “We want to grow Indy Lights into an even stronger link and final step for drivers, teams and sponsor partners leading to the most audacious and competitive open-wheel series on the planet.”
The 2022 Indy Lights schedule and remaining details will be released at a later date.