Road to Indy ladder on display together
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer race weekend will mark the final time in 2010 that the Road to Indy developmental ladder series will run together.
The system provides a natural career progression from the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda to the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear to Firestone Indy Lights and finally the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Iowa Speedway's start/finish line provided a backdrop for a photo opportunity that included Dario Franchitti's Indianapolis 500-winning car, the two cars that won races at the "Night Before the 500" and Charlie Kimball's Firestone Indy Lights car.
"It was a pretty special experience to get to sit in my car next to the Indianapolis 500 winner's car," said Kimball, who finished second in the Firestone Freedom 100. "It's the goal of all four of us here, even though Dario has won the race a couple of times now. It's pretty neat to be in that group. Having a clear-defined path that the Road to Indy provides makes everyone's life easier."
Star Mazda points leader Conor Daly, who is aiming for his fourth consecutive win, represented his series in the photo while Patrick McKenna, who won the "Night Before the 500's" USF2000 event in his first oval race, represented his series. The Irishman enjoyed spending time with the other drivers and meeting Franchitti, a driver he looked up to when he raced in British Formula Ford.
"The photo shoot with all the cars lined up was pretty impressive," McKenna said. "To meet Dario was a very nice thing. He's a cool guy. I've met quite a few (IZOD) IndyCar Series drivers at the Road to Indy Summit and the Road to Indy is great. It's so high profile and we get to run on these weekends with other series where you want to be running. Those are the people you are trying to impress, so it's important to have a chance to do that."
Franchitti was impressed by the young drivers who participated in photo and wished them the best for the rest of the season.
"The drivers who were with me got to where they are because they are doing a great job and there's obviously a lot talent in the ladder system," said Franchitti, the IZOD IndyCar Series reigning champion and championship points leader entering the June 20 race. "I think they are all in the positions that they are in because they worked hard and they are talented and they have the right people behind them. They are the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and I hope they can make their way up the ladder."