Indy Lights and USF2000 Represent Mazda Road to Indy at Iowa Speedway
 July 5, 2017| 
  • Series News

Second-Generation Oval Racer Chad Boat to Make Indy Lights Debut

PALMETTO, Fla. – Two of the three steps on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will converge this weekend on Iowa Speedway in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Both feeder categories are now beyond the halfway mark in their seasons as drivers vie for prestigious and financially crucial Mazda Scholarships to assist in their progression toward the elite level of open-wheel racing in North America.

This year will mark the 10th appearance of Indy Lights, the top rung of the highly acclaimed MRTI ladder, at the super-fast 0.894-mile oval for the second of three oval track races in 2017, while USF2000 makes its return after visiting rural Newton, Iowa only once previously, in 2010, for its lone oval race of the season.

Kaiser Seeks to Extend his Indy Lights Championship Advantage 
Kyle Kaiser has won only one of the nine Indy Lights races so far this year for Juncos Racing, but a tally of six podium finishes from the seven most recent races has enabled the 21-year-old from Santa Clara, Calif., to open up a substantial 27-point advantage over his rivals. At stake is a Mazda Scholarship valued at $1 million which will guarantee entry into at least three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500.

Kaiser has finished fourth and sixth in his two previous outings on “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”

Others with prior Indy Lights experience at the track include Belardi Auto Racing teammates Santi Urrutia and Shelby Blackstock, the Carlin pair of Zachary Claman DeMelo, who secured an emphatic maiden victory two weeks ago at Road America, and Neil Alberico, plus Juan Piedrahita (Team Pelfrey) and Dalton Kellett (Andretti Autosport). 

Nevertheless the driver with the most competitive mileage at Iowa – albeit in stock cars – is Chad Boat, who will be making his Indy Lights debut aboard another Belardi Auto Racing Dallara-Mazda. Boat, 25, from Phoenix, Ariz., has previously earned a pair of third-place finishes and a fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA at Iowa Speedway. Boat’s father, Billy, contested 11 Indy Lights races in 1986 and 1987 with a best finish of third at his home track of Phoenix.

Other favorites for top honors this weekend will include Carlin’s Brazilian rookie Matheus Leist, last year’s British Formula 3 champion who has won two of the three most recent races, including the Freedom 100 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, and the youngest driver in the field, Colton Herta, who displayed prodigious pace for Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing during a pre-season oval test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

Herta, 17, from Valencia, Calif., and Andretti Autosport teammate Nico Jamin, from France, have won two races apiece this season and currently lie third and fourth in the championship table, separated by just two points.

Aaron Telitz, last year’s winner of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, also has visited Victory Lane this season for Belardi Auto Racing.

The 100-lap Mazda Iowa 100 Presented by Cooper Tires will mark the 10th out of 16 Indy Lights races this season. After a pair of practice sessions on Saturday, July 8, and single-car qualifying at 11:15 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning, the green flag is set to fly at 3:00 p.m., as the scene-setter for the weekend’s Iowa Corn 300 Verizon IndyCar Series headline event. Same-day television coverage is set for 4:00 pm EDT on NBCSN. 

Additional 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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