Jones Leads the Way as Indy Lights Heads to Long Beach
 April 15, 2015| 
  • Series News
Eight Mazda Road to Indy Competitors Prepare for Long Beach Debuts

PALMETTO, Fla. – Briton Ed Jones and his Carlin team made a sensational North American debut three weeks ago by winning back-to-back races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. This weekend they have an opportunity to continue that streak on the opposite coast when Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the top tier on the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder, heads for the famed streets of Long Beach, Calif., for the Grand Prix of Long Beach Presented by Allied Building Products.

This year will mark the 20th time Indy Lights has visited the downtown streets, but the first time with the new-for-2015 Dallara IL-15 chassis and turbocharged 2.0-liter Mazda MZR-R engines. The state-of-the-art technical package has drawn rave reviews from everyone who has driven it and is sure to provide some thrilling action on the 1.968-mile circuit.

Jones, 20, a winner previously in the 2013 European F3 Open series, will make the trip as a clear championship leader following his emphatic performance in Florida. Teammate Max Chilton, who has raced in Formula 1 the last two seasons, also is expected to be a serious challenger. Chilton, who, like all of the other contenders, is looking toward a future in the Verizon IndyCar Series, was fast at St. Petersburg.

Other contenders will include a variety of Indy Lights veterans and rookies. Those with prior experience on the track include Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian), who finished fourth in 2014 on his way to second in the championship, and Matthew Brabham. The third-generation racer will drive for Andretti Autosport with local support from The Stellrecht Company, a family-owned building corporation, and is looking to improve on his third-place finish one year ago. His father, Geoff Brabham, scored two Formula Atlantic victories on the Long Beach streets and twice finished on the podium in IndyCar events in the 1980s.

In addition to the Carlin pair, a strong rookie contingent includes the Juncos Racing duo, Spencer Pigot and Kyle Kaiser, plus Belardi Auto Racing’s Felix Serralles, Schmidt Peterson’s RC Enerson and Shelby Blackstock of Andretti Autosport.

Pigot, in particular, has high hopes after stepping up to Indy Lights on the heels of victory in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and with a MAZDASPEED scholarship in his pocket. Pigot, who finished third in the first two races of the season, also will have a strong contingent of supporters on hand from Torrance, Calif.-based Doug Mockett & Company.

The first practice session for Indy Lights will take place at 1:30 pm PT on Friday, April 17, followed by a second half-hour period at 9:15 am on Saturday and then qualifying later in the afternoon at 12:55 pm. The green flag for the Grand Prix of Long Beach Presented by Allied Building Products will fly at 8:45 am on Sunday, April 18.

The race will feature same-day coverage on NBCSN at 3:00 pm ET. Live timing and commentary for all sessions will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at indylights.com.
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