ashley asks....

“They Said What?” IndyCar NXT (Indy Lights) Edition

By: Ashley McCubbin

Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face – especially when they’re mad, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the Indy Lights season, there were quite a few of these moments. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

It’s a lot of confidence. We’re trying a lot of things with the car and set-up things that we can to check off the list; but at the end of the day, I’m just always working at betting myself first and foremost, so every test is a better opportunity to do that.

Honestly, I’m not relaxed, but I’m confident in how we go about things for the season. So as long as we keep pushing ourselves and moving the bar, we’ll be in good shape. I have a fantastic group of people around me helping me get those things accomplished, so I’m honestly enjoying it and taking advantage of each moment. – Benjamin Pedersen

I think running the Road to Indy it teaches you a lot, partly because you’re running the same circuits. I’ve been practically every circuit that I am going to next year; I think there’s a few new ones with the street circuits that are coming. But other than that, having those layers on the track benefits us.

I think anything personally I’ve learned is having a little patience in the racing. Sometimes let the race come to you, instead of chasing it like crazy and making mistakes. So I think that’s kind of maturing as a driver, getting better all the time, and the Road to Indy is a great platform to do that. – Christian Rasmussen

I think just by being bigger, faster, it’s completely different to the Indy Pro. We have wider tires for example, and we have more power and there’s more aero so we have to be, for me at least, I have to be more confident to throw more speed into the corners and knowing the car will hook up even though I feel like it wouldn’t. I feel that’s one of the biggest differences between the current car and the old car, and with a season under my belt, over a whole season, I have a very good idea of what the car is going to do at each circuit and how it will act.

Every time we went into a weekend, I know what to expect; I’m not going there blind now. There’s only one next track called Iowa (Speedway) which is the oval; that’s a new track for me, but I think that’s the same for everyone. I think we’re all in the same boat so it won’t hurt us in that point of view. But we’re just going to have push ourselves as much as we can to do good. – Danial Frost

It was one of those things that just came about and I said yes. It wasn’t like I went chasing it exactly, but my plan has always been to get to IndyCar especially when I got in for those races for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Grand Prix. I thought I did a really good job and just felt if I had more opportunities in IndyCar I could’ve stayed in there and done really well. That was what I was working towards, and I just never gotten anywhere with it. The opportunity didn’t come up and there were no seats available and I didn’t have the funding.

That’s why I sat out for all those years and obviously when I was approached with this opportunity, I thought I’d never get another chance at IndyCar because I’ve been out too long and I’m not in the system racing open-wheel cars so I’d get overlooked by guys running Indy Lights and those things.

So when I got approached by Andretti and some of my sponsors and supporters that I’ve had through Andretti over the years, they approached me asking if I’d want to do Lights and I said absolutely. I’ve got nothing else and got nothing to lose. I’ve always said yes to opportunities and that’s why I’ve been jumping all over the place doing Stadium Super Trucks, off-road, Baja, all different things. I just love to race and I always say yes to opportunities. – Matthew Brabham

“Andretti is where they are for a reason. They’ve put the effort and team around getting results and it’s nice to see benefits that come with an IndyCar team, not only on the resource side of things but knowledge. My engineer is Ron Darkhorse and he’s been in IndyCar for over a decade. So having that knowledge and experience in my corner as an engineer, it pays off.

“We can also go back and review on-board IndyCar videos and see where the line is for them and what advantage that can play with us for the Indy Lights car. Even though we’re in a lighter car with the Indy Lights car, that rubber the indyCars put down play a role in how our weekend goes.” – Sting Ray Robb

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