Blackstock staying at Andretti Autosport, leads opening Lights test
Fifth Annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Circuit of The Americas sees Lights returnee Blackstock looking dominant in first test session.
Shelby Blackstock will remain with Andretti Autosport for a fifth year, and will start his second Indy Lights season in 2016, team owner Michael Andretti confirmed to Motorsport.com today.
The American, who finished 10th in the Lights championship last season in what was largely a one-car effort, will be joined full-season by Dalton Kellett. However, Andretti added that he is “still working on a couple more entries.”
Blackstock, whose career highlight so far was third place in the 2013 Pro Mazda championship, led the Lights field by more than a second in the first test session at Circuit of the Americas, with Juncos Racing’s Lights sophomore Kyle Kaiser in second, and Kellett in third.
First of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport cars was series rookie James French in sixth, some three seconds off Blackstock’s pace.
Blackstock then went on to top Test 2 by a second as well, this time followed by Canadian driver Zach Claman DeMelo and Jose Gutierrez.
The three Mazda Road To Indy series are due to complete six sessions apiece over the course of the weekend, and Team Pelfrey grabbed the top two times in the first Pro Mazda run - with the same driver, in different cars. Series returnee Patricio “Pato” O’Ward outperformed himself by 0.6s, but more significantly he was 1.3s ahead of Nico Jamin.
Jamin, who won last year’s USF2000 title with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, has graduated with that team and finished the session half a second clear of Juncos Racing’s Will Owen.
Owen’s rookie teammates Jake Parsons and Nicolas Dapero trailed him by 0.5 and 1.0 seconds respectively. Parsons was the 2014 AsiaCup champion and raced in the Formula Masters China Series this year.
In Test 2, Owen headed O'Ward by a tenth, with Jamin the only other driver within a second of the lead.
In USF2000, Russia’s Nikita Lastochkin led the first two sessions for Cape Motorsports, his nearest pursuer in each session coming from Pabst Racing – first Yufeng Luo, then Garth Rickards.
Check back for further updates throughout the weekend
Carlin staying focused on Indy Lights for 2016
Kaiser topples Blackstock, Jamin to the top, Lastochkin holds on