IndyCar feeder series drying up

This week in Edmonton, only 16 cars will line up for the Firestone Indy Lights race. The economy is drying up the developmental pipeline to the IRL.

Indy Lights teams are often grass roots efforts funded by family, friends and sponsors with a personal connection to team owners or drivers. Those backers are often the first to bail when the economy goes south. Even some of the feeder series more deep pocketed owners have downsized the season after their Wall Street portfolios have been battered.

Last year, the Indy Lights series averaged nearly 23 cars per race for its 16-race schedule. There was no race with fewer than 20 entrants and only one below 22. This year, through 10 races (including tomorrow’s Edmonton race), the entrant list is averaging 21, with two 18-car fields and two 16-car fields.

Ditto for the Atlantic Series, they are down to 15-car fields, which feeds drivers into IndyCar. The Indy Lights and Atlantic Series need to merge….pronto. There is no reason for two weak series when you can have one strong series. Mazda backs the Atlantic series and should be brought in as the engine supplier of the merged series.

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