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INDYCAR & INDY LIGHTS: 2018 SEASON PREVIEW

A CLEAN SLATE.

The energy is circulating and the anticipation is high as we grow closer to the first official day of on-track action for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires seasons. With new goals, fresh ideas and eager drivers all awaiting the season's first green flag, we're here to fill the gap and prepare you for the new year. 2018 starts now.


CONTINUITY IS KEY.

BEHIND THE WHEEL.

Familiar faces will climb into the cockpits of the Andretti Autosport Indy cars this year as all six Verizon IndyCar Series drivers have been a part of the Andretti stable. Rookie Zach Veach will compete alongside veterans Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi for the full season, and we will welcome back Carlos Munoz and Stefan Wilson for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Mexican driver, Pato O'Ward will join Indy Lights veterans Dalton Kellett, Colton Herta and Ryan Norman during the 2018 season as they chase down the first series title for the team since 2009.

ZACH VEACH - INDYCAR, No. 26 GROUP ONE THOUSAND ONE HONDA
The Ohio-native started two Verizon IndyCar Series races last year, but will make his full season debut with Andretti Autosport when the green flag waves over the streets of St. Petersburg. Veach completed every step of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires before graduating to the Verizon IndyCar Series and will be the first to have competed at every step including IndyCar with one team, Andretti Autosport.

ALEXANDER ROSSI - INDYCAR, No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA
The 2016 Indy 500 winner may have a different number this year, but Rossi will still wear the blue and yellow of NAPA AUTO PARTS as he fights to win his first ever Verizon IndyCar Series championship title in only his third year of competition.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY - INDYCAR, No. 28 DHL HONDA
The veteran driver will represent DHL for the eighth year as he seeks to build on his Indy car resume of 16 race wins, inclusive of the 2014 Indianapolis 500, and add two-time champion to the end of his name.

MARCO ANDRETTI - INDYCAR, No. 98 U.S. CONCRETE / CURB HONDA
The third-generation driver will pilot the No. 98 Andretti-Herta Autosport entry for the 2018 season. The colors of Ruoff Home Mortgage will decorate his machine for the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg and will make an appearance again when he takes on the road course at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Texas-based company, U.S. Concrete will paint the car white and red at Long Beach, Indy (both the Grand Prix and Indy 500), Texas, Pocono and the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.

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PATRICIO O'WARD - INDY LIGHTS, No. 27 ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT MAZDA
The 19-year-old competed in the first four races of last year's Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season and shared the podium with race-winner and now teammate, Colton Herta, in just his second race. As he joins Andretti Autosport for his first full season of Indy Lights competition, O'Ward has his eyes on the championship and proving he is a top driver.

DALTON KELLETT - INDY LIGHTS, No. 28 K-LINE INSULATORS MAZDA
The third-year veteran driver currently has three podium finishes and is eager to add more, and a race win or two, to his chart. Strong on the ovals, Kellett will use his engineering knowledge and racing experience to fight for a Freedom 100 victory.

RYAN NORMAN - INDY LIGHTS, No. 48 JOURNEY MAZDA
In his rookie season, Ryan Norman finished every race on the lead lap except for one and finished in the top 10 in 15 of the 16 races on the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season. Now heading into his sophomore season, Norman has a taste of what racing is like in the Mazda Road to Indy and has his sights on his first podium finish in St. Petersburg, Florida.

COLTON HERTA - INDY LIGHTS, No. 98 ANDRETTI STEINBRENNER RACING / CURB MAZDA
The second-generation driver earned Rookie of the Year honors after earning six pole position and two race wins, finishing third in his first Indy Lights championship. This year, the 17-year-old will fight to win the championship, along with the $1 million scholarship to compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

undefinedNo. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda
Verizon IndyCar Series

“I can’t believe that the start of the 2018 season is finally here. This moment has been something I’ve been thinking about my whole life and Group One Thousand One and Andretti Autosport has empowered me to be able to do it. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can this season and going after our goal of being Rookie Of The Year. The new car is going to put on a great show for fans and make us dig even deeper to find that advantage on track. It’s going to be a great year!”

undefinedNo. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda
Verizon IndyCar Series

“There is a lot of anticipation surrounding the start of the year. I’ve had an incredibly busy offseason but I am now solely focused on the task at hand of trying to fight for a championship and another Indy 500 victory for Andretti and NAPA AUTO PARTS. The new car feels great and the team is working incredibly well together, so the expectations are high.”


undefinedNo. 28 DHL Honda
Verizon IndyCar Series

"I’ve really been looking forward to the introduction of the all-new universal aero kit for quite some time now. From 2012-2014 the IndyCar Series had a spec aero kit which was the same for both competing manufacturers and we were able to win a substantial amount of races, including the Indy 500. Hopefully this new spec aero kit will give us an opportunity to return to that form. With that said the new kit is vastly different to anything we’ve had in the past so there will be many challenges along the way including re-working our setups to suit the new car. The response from the fans has been overwhelmingly supportive of the direction INDYCAR has taken with the new design, so hopefully we can get the No. 28 DHL Honda back in victory lane in the near future.  

"In 2017 we experienced some pretty rotten luck at times where circumstances out of our control took us out of contention for potential race wins. Hopefully for 2018 we can have a more consistent season and challenge for a second championship. After leading the most laps again at last year’s 500, a second Indy 500 win is also right at the top our priority list. "

undefinedNo. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda
Verizon IndyCar Series

"I'm excited to get the season going and start off on the right foot this year. We've had some exciting news over the past few weeks with both U.S. Concrete and Ruoff Home Mortgage joining the No. 98 team and we hope to produce the best results for them. I'm feeling confident in myself and my team with the new aero kits and I think it will turn into good results."



undefinedNo. 27 Andretti Autosport Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

 "I’m super pumped to get this year going. This year is the first year I actually get a 100% chance to compete the best way I can. I have never had a year where I've tested in the off-season and worked with the people I’ll be working with for entire season, so that is something that I have really enjoyed the past couple months. I have learned many new things and the Andretti Autosport guys have really welcomed me to the team. I wouldn't want to be with any other group of guys and gals! They have been a tremendous help to me in and out of the car so far, so I can’t wait to get the season going and show some people what we've got!"

undefinedNo. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

"We’ve had a productive offseason, but I’m really excited to get back to racing. We’ve been working really hard with a new engineer this offseason and I’m really enjoying that relationship. I think we’ve made the cars a lot better and I think I’ve made some good improvements in my driving. We will be looking to hit the ground running right from the get-go at St. Pete and carrying that momentum through the rest of the season. I’m really excited to be back with Andretti Autosport for my third year in Indy Lights. I’m honored to once again represent the Andretti name and very thankful for the confidence that Michael and the rest of the team have placed in me and looking forward to having some great results this year."

undefinedNo. 48 Journey Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

"I am really excited to start my second year of Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport. Coming into this year, I have way more experience with the tracks that were new to me last year, and I am overall a better driver in my opinion. A lot of work has been put into the offseason with physical training and testing; which has shown that we have some good speed, so I’m looking forward to being able to show that. The goal of this year is to take it race by race, get the best out of the car and finish the best that I can. I’m going for wins and podiums this year instead of last year’s approach which was to gain experience. With the help of Andretti Autosport, I believe we are going to have a strong year."

undefinedNo. 98 Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing / Curb Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

"It's been a long off season, and I am ready to get back in the car and going. Last year we started off the year strong and ran in championship contention the remainder of the season. Last year my engineer, crew and I built a really strong relationship and we have serious respect for one another. Going into year two, I think we have set some pretty high standards and we're determined to walk away from the season as champions."

COMPETITION UPDATES.

The Verizon IndyCar Series has also made a few updates for 2018 competition.

Qualifying order for Phoenix, Texas, Iowa, Pocono and Gateway will now be based off of Entrant championship points. Qualification order will be set in reverse order of Entrant points, with the highest in points qualifying last. Entrants without points will be placed at the front of the line in an order determined by a blind draw at the first Competition meeting for that Event

Qualifying order for the Indianapolis 500, will remain a blind draw.

Practice for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 will begin Tuesday, May 15. With the omission of Monday practice, teams will have an extra hour of on-track time Tuesday through Friday with hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To view the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, click here.
To view the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires schedule, click here