Indy Lights - Soul Red Finale: Six candidates for a million-dollar award
A new Indy Lights champion would be crowned on Sunday, September 11, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The Soul Red Finale is the last event of the 2016 season and six drivers still have a chance to take the championship trophy: Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach. They lie within 40 points with a total of 66 points available from the final two races at the famous Californian race track.
As the Indy Lights is the part of the Mazda Road to Indy programme, the main award is a Mazda Scholarship valued at one million dollars, including the participation in at least three 2017 IndyCar Series events. One of those events would be the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. Such an award guarantee the thrilling climax of the 2016 Indy Lights season and the excting battle for the championship title.
The top two protagonists are Uruguayan Santiago Urrutia (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and Dubai-based Englishman Ed Jones (Carlin), who are separated by a solitary point after 16 races. Another Englishman Dean Stoneman (Andretti Autosport) is 23 points behind Urrutia and eight points ahead of Zach Veach (Belardi Auto Racing). Puerto Rican Felix Serralles (Carlin) and Californian Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) are also in contention for the award.
Whoever would be a championship, he will follow the footsteps of the 2015 champion Spencer Pigot, who won four Mazda scholarships on his road to the top. Pigot competed for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in eight races of the 2016 IndyCar Series.
As the whole 2016 Indy Lights season was unpredictable, with seven different winners in 16 races, the predictions for the Laguna Seca race were also impossible. Urrutia had a comfortable 16-point advantage ahead of last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen and he started from pole, but finished 12th and the gap is now just one point. It is the proof that everything is possible at Laguna Seca. On the other side, Urrutia had a good memories of the 11-turn 2.238-mile Californian road course because he scored two second-place finishes in the races of the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship, taking the championship title. This time, the second place may not be enough.
The 40-minute sprint race will start at 3:00 PM (local time) on Saturday. The season’s finale will follow at 1:10 PM on Sunday.