2020 Indy Lights Season Preview
By: Christopher DeHarde
The young chargers in the 2020 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires have over $1 million to chase over the 18 race season. That scholarship will fund a driver for three races in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, including a chance to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Let’s take a look at the teams and drivers that will be contesting the 2020 Indy Lights season.
Andretti Autosport have won the last two Indy Lights championships and are back with four cars in 2020. Kyle Kirkwood joins the team after having won the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 title, taking his scholarship to the same car that his childhood friend Oliver Askew drove in 2019 to the title. The Jupiter, Florida native will look to break Spencer Pigot’s record of 24 wins on the Road to Indy, as Kirkwood already has 21 wins to his credit in two years.
Robert Megennis is back with the Andretti squad after winning one race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and scoring five other podium finishes en route to finishing fifth in the points. Megennis had flashes of brilliance in 2019 at Circuit of the Americas, but his most spectacular moment was his collision with Toby Sowery during the Freedom 100 and the subsequent save that accompanied it.
Danial Frost also joins the Andretti team after spending a half season in USF2000 in 2018 and a full year in Indy Pro 2000 in 2019. Frost made a name for himself by winning last year’s Indy Pro 2000 race at Lucas Oil Raceway, his first win in the Road to Indy. Frost also won the first race at Toronto, but four finishes of 11th or worse dropped the Singaporean native to fifth in the standings.
Andretti Autosport does have a fourth Dallara IL-15 in the shop, but no driver has yet been announced for that entry.
HMD Motorsports has three cars for their 2020 Indy Lights title assault and their commitment has been assured based on their driver lineup. David Malukas is back for his sophomore season in Indy Lights after scoring a pair of podiums in 2019 helped the Chicago native to sixth in the championship.
Returning to the Road to Indy after a year in Europe is popular Uruguayan front-runner Santi Urrutia. Urrutia won the 2015 Indy Pro 2000 title before finishing second in the 2016 and 2017 Indy Lights title fights and third in 2018. Urrutia has eight Indy Lights wins in three seasons with 16 other podium finishes in 51 races and has to be considered a title favorite for HMD Motorsports.
Moving up from Indy Pro 2000 to join HMD Motorsports is Canadian rookie Antonio Serravalle. Serravalle competed in 24 Indy Pro 2000 races over the past two seasons and will race in the first five weekends of the Indy Lights campaign. Serravalle would like to complete the season, but that will depend on his sponsor negotiations.
Belardi Auto Racing announced Rasmus Lindh to drive the first of their two cars for the 2020 Indy Lights season and will be a top contender for the championship. Lindh finished in the top five in every Indy Pro 2000 race last season to come second in the title hunt to Kirkwood by two points. Lindh has finished second to Kirkwood the last two years in USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, so the Swede will be hoping to not see Kirkwood’s rear wing at all this season.
Brian Belardi’s team also has Toby Sowery testing for them at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sowery won at Portland last year for HMD Motorsports and would be a title contender for the Brownsburg, Indiana squad. The British racer ran his first full season in America last year after racing one weekend each in USF2000 in 2017 and Indy Pro 2000 in 2018.
New to Indy Lights is Exclusive Autosport. The Canadian team has been on the Road to Indy the last three years and by expanding to Indy Lights, they are the only organization racing in all three levels of the Road to Indy. Nikita Lastochkin raced for Exclusive in 2019 in Indy Pro 2000 and is looking to score his first Road to Indy win to go along with his 18 top five finishes in 75 Road to Indy starts.
There may be more entries to the Indy Lights season as we are a week out from the season starting in St. Petersburg. Juncos Racing ran two cars for four of the last five Indy Lights seasons, but Ricardo Juncos does not have a driver currently signed for Indy Lights. Juncos Racing has two Indy Lights championships since the IL-15 was introduced in 2015
Also acquiring Indy Lights machinery was Jay Howard Driver Development. Jay Howard’s team has been testing with USF2000 driver Christian Bogle. The team may enter a driver for the Freedom 100, but nothing has been announced yet.
The 2020 Indy Lights schedule has doubleheaders at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Road America, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Portland and WeatherTech Raceway with single races on the ovals at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and at WorldWide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
Point values are increased by one and a half times the normal value for the oval races.
The first two Indy Lights races of the year will be at 1:35 p.m. ET on Saturday March 14th and at 1:15 p.m. ET on Sunday March 15th.