IndyCar to give up control of struggling Indy Lights Series

John Cote

IndyCar will hand over control of the Firestone Indy Lights Series to Dan Andersen, the promoter and owner of the other two steps of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system -- USF2000 and Pro Mazda.

According to a report by Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, IndyCar is relinquishing control of the Indy Lights Series, ultimately granting ownership of the tour to Dan Andersen.

Once the move becomes official, Anderson will control and promote all three stages of the Mazda Road to Indy, including the USF2000 National Championship, Pro Mazda and now the Lights Series.

Andersen has a history strengthening the ladder system, relaunching USF2000 in 2010 and purchasing the assets of Star Mazda before the start of the year.

As Tony Dizinno points out at NBC Sports Motorsports Talk, Andersen was brought in to both tours to help lower costs and attract more participants. The USF2000 grid now has more than 30 cars running on road and street courses and over 20 at Indianapolis.

And while Pro Mazda only had 10 entries at Indianapolis and Milwaukee, participation is only further expected to grow as Andersen's direction settles in. That direction is what IndyCar is banking on when it officially announces the decision next month at Toronto -- the next time all three ladder system tours will race at the same venue.

Indy Lights had just eight car-and-driver combinations at last week's race in Milwaukee and only nine entries are expected to compete this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

Andersen has a history of eliminating costly oval track races but still believes the discipline should be taught at the development level. Andersen is believed to want one oval race in USF2000, two in Pro Mazda and three in Indy Lights.

Ideally this will lower costs and ease the concerns of parents -- as children under the age of 18 predominates the bulk of the Road to Indy field.

Indy Lights has a great product as witnessed at Indianapolis in the Freedom 100 where Peter Dempsey just barely beat Gabby Chaves, Sage Karam and Carlos Munoz to the line in a wild four-wide finish. The racing is solid. Now it will be up to Anderson to increase participation and grow the tour.

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