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USAC's best to get Indy Lights ride
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is working on a plan to reward USAC’s best with a ride for all the Indy Lights ovals in 2011.

“One of things I hear most from fans and media is that we need more American drivers and I agree, I think it’s very important,” said Bernard, who has been to Bloomington and Kokomo for USAC shows this summer and is planning to be at Rossburg, Ohio this Saturday night.

“There are a lot of good young racers in USAC who deserve a chance to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and USAC is a valuable part of our heritage in Indy cars.”

None of USAC’s full-timers thinks about a career in the IZOD IndyCar series because they aren’t road racers. But past USAC champions like Tracy Hines, Dave Darland, Jerry Coons Jr. and Bud Keading are certainly some of the most accomplished open-wheel racers in this country and are deserving of a shot.

Clauson, who scored 20 victories in 2009, was under contract to Chip Ganassi a few years ago and made several Nationwide starts before the team folded for lack of sponsorship. He started in USAC and now he’s back but at least the Indy 500 is on his radar.

“Don’t get me wrong. I love racing in USAC for a living and even though you’ve got to run 100 times a year, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing,” he exclaimed.

“If I could win this deal and get a Lights ride, it may give me a chance to run at Indianapolis. We need some more Americans in that race and I’d like to be one of them.”

Ditto for Jones.

“Man I grew up bugging my dad to take me to Indy for practice and qualifying, it was ALWAYS what I wanted to do,” said the 28-year-old veteran who drives for Tony Stewart. “Until Randy Bernard came along I never thought I’d ever have a chance so to get that opportunity would be all I could ever hope for.

“I’d like to see Tracy, Darland, Clauson and myself run the Hoosier 100, the Lights race and Indy 500 all in the same weekend.” More at SPEEDtv.com

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