With the Pro Mazda and USF2000 series off for the weekend, the Indy Lights series takes center stage for the Mazda Road to Indy. Drivers would be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque second race to their 2014 season, trading in the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida for Long Beach, California.
Open wheel racing is nothing new at the Long Beach street circuit, which has hosted various series since 1975, including Formula 1 for a time in the late ’70s and early ‘80s, making it among the longest running street races in North America. The Indy Lights series has competed every year at Long Beach since the Verizon INDYCAR Series became the headlining racing series in 2009. This year should prove to be yet another exciting chapter to the history of the event.
The list of past winners in Long Beach includes current INDYCAR stars J.R. Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, and the most recent winner, Carlos Muñoz. In the previous incarnation of Indy Lights, Hélio Castroneves and Scott Dixon visited victory lane.
Zach Veach comes into Long Beach fresh off his first career victory in the Indy Lights series for Andretti Autosport, and he figures to be a strong contender for the top spot on the podium this weekend. He also has experience at this event, having finished ninth last year.
Gabby Chaves also figures to be a strong contender for victory, having finished second in both the 2014 season-opener and at Long Beach last season. The only other driver to have competed in last year’s event was Juan Pablo Garcia, who turned in a sixth place effort. All of the other drivers entered at Long Beach are rookies in open wheel competition at this event.
The Indy Lights cars take to the track for their one-hour race on Sunday, April 13th at 1:15 p.m ET, with same day coverage on the NBC Sports Network at 2:30 p.m ET. Get ready for an exciting weekend of racing and check out the recap of the season opener in St. Petersburg by watching Episode 2 of Road to Indy TV.