MRTI Switches Focus from Iowa Oval to Toronto Streets
 July 14, 2017| 
  • Series News

Indy Lights and USF2000 to Host Double-Headers on Exhibition Place Temporary Circuit

TORONTO, Ont., Canada (July 12, 2017) – One of the many attributes of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder is the variety of challenges it places upon young drivers who are intent upon pursuing a career in the premier category of open-wheel competition in North America, the Verizon IndyCar Series. At no time during the season is that more apparent than this week. 

Teams and drivers from two of the three feeder categories, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, will switch gears – quite literally – from the ultra-fast, high-banked Iowa Speedway oval, where they competed last Sunday, to the sinuous, concrete wall-lined temporary road course centered upon Exhibition Place, just a few miles away from bustling downtown Toronto. Both series will feature a pair of races in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Askew and VeeKay Set to Continue USF2000 Rivalry
Rookies Oliver Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., and Rinus VeeKay, from The Netherlands, have proven to be a dominant force in this year’s USF2000 championship chase. Between them they have won eight of the nine races held so far this season, and on six occasions have stood together on the victory podium.

Askew, driving for the defending champion team Cape Motorsports, holds a significant edge with six race wins to the two for Pabst Racing’s VeeKay, and currently holds a healthy 32-point lead in the quest for a Mazda Scholarship worth almost $400,000 which will assist the eventual champion in graduating onto the next step of the MRTI ladder, Pro Mazda, in 2018. Both youngsters are currently taking part in their very first season of car racing after achieving tremendous success in the karting ranks.

Two more rookies, Kaylen Frederick, from Potomac, Md., representing Team Pelfrey, and VeeKay’s Pabst Racing teammate Calvin Ming, from Guyana, South America, hold down third and fifth in the points chase, sandwiching series veteran Parker Thompson.

Canadian favorite Thompson, 19, from Red Deer, Alb., who spearheads a popular program aimed at educating high school students about the dangers of distracted driving, scored an emotional victory last year on the Toronto streets and has high hopes of repeating that success with the series’ only Canadian-based team, Exclusive Autosport, who will also field entries for Prince Albert’s Jayson Clunie and Dev Gore of Atlanta.

Other top contenders from a cosmopolitan and ultra-competitive field will include teenager Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., who already has one win to his credit – in the season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. – and Frenchman Alexandre Baron, who last weekend at Iowa Speedway made an impressive, last-minute return to the series for ArmsUp Motorsports by finishing fourth, almost four years since winning a pair of races in just four starts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Reliant Park temporary circuit in Houston, Texas.

Brazilian Lucas Kohl, who claimed his first podium finish recently at Road America for Pabst Racing, Indian Ricky Donison (Cape Motorsports), and Chicagoan David Malukas, who impressed last month at Road America for BN Racing, also will expect to run among the leaders.

Jose Sierra Sandoval, 18, from Mexico City, a member of the Escuderia Telmex family of drivers who recently clinched second place in the NACAM Formula 4 Championship (behind Calvin Ming), will make his USF2000 debut aboard a third DEForce Racing Tatuus USF-17 alongside Mexican countryman Moises de la Vara and Kory Enders, from Warwick, New York.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products will commence on Friday, July 14 with a 30-minute practice, followed by the first of two qualifying sessions later in the afternoon which will set the grid for Race One on Saturday at 12:00 noon. A second qualifying period earlier in the morning will establish the starting positions for Race Two on Sunday at 9:40 a.m. All times are EDT.

Coverage of the Mazda Road to Indy 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. 

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