ProMazda — Iowa is no-go, but Mazda Raceway gets a trio

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The next round of the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, originally schedule for next weekend at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA has been rescheduled to be the third race of the season-finale weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, CA.

The motivation for the Mazda Road to Indy ladder program is to recruit and develop young driving talent and prepare them for racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Of course, this means racing not only on temporary street courses and natural terrain road courses, but also short ovals and superspeedways. The progression into oval racing is an easy one with USF2000 having a single oval race at the 5/8-mile Lucas Oil Raceway (formerlly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park or IRP) on the weekend of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Pro Mazda usually has two oval races, one with the USF2000 series at Lucas Oil Raceway and one at the 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway. The Indy Lights series races at the uniquely-shaped 1.0-mile Phoenix International Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carburetion Day, and the Iowa Speedway.

Unfortunately, although oval racing seat time is important to the development of these young drivers’ racecraft, it’s not always popular. Part of it is the unfamiliarity with oval racing, and part is certainly the higher physical and financial risks involved. The cars are significantly safer than in years past, but having an incident at an oval circuit is frequently much higher than a typical incident at a road circuit. As a result of the skittishness toward oval racing, the number of entrants for the upcoming Pro Mazda race at the Iowa Speedway were lower than what Dan Anderson, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, felt was required for a viable round of the championship.

With the Iowa round cancelled, the series has negotiated the inclusion of a third race during the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, This will make an already packed race weekend even more frantic, and place a premium on performing well at Mazda Raceway for those seeking the championship title. I’m happy to see more racing at Mazda Raceway, but it’s unfortunate that it comes at the cost of an oval race that these young drivers need to master if they’re to be successful in IndyCar.

Official Release from Andersen Promotions

Pro Mazda Expands Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Schedule
Iowa Speedway Round Moves to Mazda Road to Indy Season Finale Weekend

PALMETTO, Fla. – The season finale for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will become a tripleheader event as Round 10 originally scheduled for Iowa Speedway moves to the northern California venue. A decision to alter the schedule was made between Andersen Promotions and Iowa Speedway after a lower than anticipated field was set to contest the 40-minute race slated for July 10.

“I want to thank [Iowa Speedway President] Jimmy Small for giving us the option to move our race off of next weekend’s schedule,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Iowa Speedway produces some great oval racing and it is unfortunate that we didn’t have what we felt was a viable car count to meet not only the track’s expectations but the fans as well. At this stage we will look forward to what is a pivotal round in the Indy Lights championship on July 10 and a return for Pro Mazda in 2017.”

Pro Mazda will next head to the streets of Toronto for a doubleheader event on July 15-17.

The Indy Lights Iowa Challenge Presented by Cooper Tires will take place at 2:15 pm CDT on July 10 leading up to the Verizon IndyCar Series feature race – the Iowa Corn 300 – at 4:35 pm.

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