By: Ashley McCubbin
With many young drivers hopeful of competing in the NTT IndyCar Series one day, it’s no secret the Road to Indy Silly Season can sometimes be full of surprises and new faces. The 2021 edition is no different, especially when it comes to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
The Indy Lights edition already covered the plans of seven drivers, and the closure of one shop. It is worth noting HMD Motorsports was quick to clarify their plans.
Thus far, things have been quiet on the Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires, with only a pair of announcements. The confirmations come via a pair a pair of teams hopeful of first time competition – Velocity Racing Development (VRD) and Miller Vinatieri Motorsports (MVM).
VRD is entering the Road to Indy for the first time, set for two entries in USF2000 and a single in Indy Pro 2000. The jump comes following success in the F4 United States Championship, with eight wins and podium results with three different drivers. While not confirming their Indy Pro 2000 drier yet, they revealed Erik Evans will be competing in USF2000, following a victory in F4 competition in 2000.
MVM has experience in Road to Indy, virtue of a couple seasons in USF2000 with Jack William Miller. The youngster is set to move up the ladder, following a season with podium results throughout after witnessing their program “come on strong with the engineering changes” made.
They will still be involved in USF2000, with Kent Vaccaro behind the wheel, following his debut at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The Purdue University student also has previous racing experience, coming in F4 United States Championship and FR Americas.
Turn 3 Motorsport will join them on the grid with a two-car effort, fielding entries for Dylan Christie and Josh Green. Both drivers have scored victories in karting, before advancing into formula racing. Christie finished second overall in the in the 2020 FRP F1600 Series with four wins and 12 podiums in his rookie year in addition to winning three SCCA races. Green, meanwhile, won the Team USA Scholarship in 2019 and was successful last year in USF2000 with a sixth in the final standings.
Turn 3 is also expected to be involved in Indy Pro 2000, following a third-place standings finish with Danial Frost after winning the season opener. Frost, though, will not return as he previously announced Indy Lights plans with Andretti Autosport.
Pabst Racing has confirmed their first driver of 2021, re-signing 14-year-old Josh Pierson. The youngest driver on the grid last year will be hopeful of improving upon his rookie success, following a top-10 in the 14th event of the year in New Jersey.
Cape Motorsports will have a Canadian influence in their chase for a 10th straight title, with Thomas Nepveu joining the fray following a nine-year karting career, earning countless victories, eight championships and twenty-two (22) top-10 finishes in high-level international events and in various championships (Canada, United States, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, Finland).
There will be a new team on the grid, with Force Indy ready to join the fray, led by African American business leader and former team manager Rod Reid. With a focus on hiring and developing Black American men and women mechanics, engineers, staffers and drivers, Reid will have the right tools of leadership in his back pocket through years of karting and auto racing experience and a recently expanded relationship with NXG Youth Motorsports Inc.,
A big critical piece of the organization is the fact they will be receiving mentorship from Team Penske, and will be based out of Concord, North Carolina to have both teams close.
Categories: Road to Indy