By: Ashley McCubbin
Indy Lights may have taken the 2020 campaign off, but they’re back for this season and Robert Megennis is set to be one of the drivers on the grid following his first career series victory at the 2019 Indianapolis Grand Prix. The Andretti Autosport driver recently spoke about the upcoming year with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts heading into the upcoming season?
ROBERT MEGENNIS: I’m super excited to get going with Indy Lights again. It’s the first time that I will be in the same series, same car for two years in a row, second year with Andretti Autosport, and I’m super excited I’ll be with the same crew, same engineer. I already know how to work with these people so we have something to build off 2019.
ASHLEY: What are your goals and expectations?
ROBERT: I would say I’m not really trying to set goals and expectations for this year. I just want to go in and try and drive the best I can every time I am in the car every lap. When you put goals and expectations on yourself, you end up pressuring yourself and trying too hard. I just want to focus on myself and what I can do and I know if I do that, I’ll be up front trying to win races so that’s what I plan to do.
ASHLEY: What track are you most excited to get to?
ROBERT: Super excited for Toronto. It’s a super fun track. I love the whole atmosphere. I love street circuits – they’re super fun, super technical, so Toronto for sure.
ASHLEY: The last season Indy Lights ran in 2019 you got to break through and score your first career win. What did it mean to you to finally knock that off the list?
ROBERT: It was awesome. It was my first win in Indy Lights. It feels so good when you go win your first race. I beat a lot of great drivers – guys currently in IndyCar and just to know I did that and can compete with these guys and win races, it helps my confidence. Hopefully we can win some more races.
ASHLEY: So building to that, what do you feel you need to do to improve as a driver to get more wins?
ROBERT: I think, for me and this year, the plan is making all of my driving, all of my laps a little cleaner and smoother. I think I end up pushing too hard, trying too hard, and I just need to relax and push to the limits of the car but not over it.
ASHLEY: Now the Indy Lights drivers were faced with a bit of a conundrum last year with the series not running. How did that affect your development as a young driver?
ROBERT: I think it was great for me. Obviously, pandemics are bad – they have affected so many people and we’ve lost so many lives so it’s awful. But for me, having the break and being able to take a step back and think about why I’m racing, why I’m doing what I’m doing has given me a lot to think about. I’ve been working so hard on the Road to Indy for the las five years, it was nice to take a year, a season and sit back and relax.
I was able to do some other racing. I ended up racing in the European LeMan Series for a couple races, I raced in the Intercontential World Challenge race, and I learned a lot from endurance racing in driving different style cars and racing. I was able to sit back and think about what I was going to do when I got behind the wheel again, and when I was able to race, I learned a lot from those different experiences.
ASHLEY: So with that in mind, is there anything else you’d like to get behind the wheel of? I know IndyCar one day being on the Road to Indy, but how about something outside of the open-wheel realm?
ROBERT: I mean, I would never – oh, outside of the open-wheel aspect as I was going to say driving an open-wheel car.
ASHLEY: Well, I mean I’m sure that’s in the dreams, too. High speed and high technology is easily why.
ROBERT: It doesn’t get any faster than that – that’d be super cool. I’ve been trying to keep up with NASCAR, getting behind the wheel of a Cup car an oval would be fun as I really love oval racing. But really, I would drive anything, anywhere. I’ve been watching a lot of Rally racing – my little brother wants to be a rallycross driver so I’ve been watching that. so I’ll drive anything.
ASHLEY: If you could reach IndyCar down the road, what would that mean to you?
ROBERT: That would be amazing. I mean, that’s everything I’ve dreamed of since I was 10 years old driving go-karts. To be in an IndyCar and in the Indy 500 would be a dream true. From there, once you get there, you still have to drive the car and treat it like every other racing opportunity that I’ve had.