The U.S. Open Wheel Ladder


Podium Finisher
The United States does actually have a nicely set up ladder leading to Indy Car racing. The problem is that it is not very populated. I have stated for decades that the problem with American racing is that the "crucible isn't hot enough", meaning that the depth and caliber of the series isn't such that it is going to generate a significant number of world class (American) drivers. Lets us look where we are at in 2019:

First rung: F2000 National Championship. It has 8 races in a season, with 7 of them being double-race weekends. So 15 races. The first two races of 2019 each had 20 drivers. Of the 21 participating drivers, 10 are American.

Second rung: Indy Pro 2000 (formally Pro Mazda Championship): It has 9 race meets with 16 races. The first race of the season had 14 drivers while the second race of 2019 has 13. Of the 14 participating drivers, 7 are American.

Third rung: Indy Lights. This is supposedly the feeder series into Indy Car racing. It has four teams and 10 drivers. There are 10 race meets with 18 races. They have had four races this season for their 10 drivers. Of the 10 drivers, 4 are Americans. The series is being lead right now by one them (with 2 wins), Oliver Askew, who is 22 and has been carting since he was 8. He has been working his way up the ladder, competing in the Formula Ford Festival in 2016, winning the U.S. F2000 in 2017 (7 wins) and placing third in Pro Mazda in 2018 (1 win).

And then we get to Indy Car: It is a 17-race season with 24 drivers at the first two races. Of the 26 participating drivers,11 are American. Right now, 6 of the top 8 drivers in the points are American, with the series led by Josef Newgarden (7 seasons in Indy Car - 11 wins) followed by Colton Herta (new guy - 1 win).

Anyhow, for those of us waiting for another race-winning American to show up in may happen, but as I have always complained the "crucible isn't hot enough." Quite simply, American road racing never recovered from the gas crisis of the 1970s and the subsequent shift away from the "car culture."
nice read

i agree that American driver is a objective for F1 & all the other ones from indycar arent suitable newgarden 28, rahal 30, ferruci 20 (but black listed himself), hunter reay 38, rossi 27, daly 27, andretti 32

but i was talking about colton herta on indy thread. he seems good impressed the paddock in st pete, the mechanics love him say they never seen driver give feedback over a lap like him, wins in his 2nd race as a 18yr old rookie. always talking about who is the American driver to be in F1 its early days but this guy with 2 or 3 yrs in IndyCar might be the 1.
Well, there are 11 American drivers in Indy Car racing and one winning driver in Indy Lights to consider. A quick look at their bios slims the field down:

1. Past their sell date (age): Hunter-Reay (who is impressive- age 38), Newgarden (29), Rossi (27), G. Rahal (30), Marco Andretti (32), Kimball (34)
2. Previously raced in Europe and couldn't make it: Newgarden (GP 3 2010), Rossi (F1 test driver 2012-2014), Kimball (F3 2006 and 2008, Renault 3.5 2007),
3. Not demonstrated any significant performance: Pigot (25), Veach (24), Kaiser (23 - although he was Indy Lights Champ in 2017...has not had a full time ride since then)

This leaves 1) Colton Herta (18), 2) Ferrucci (20) (Test driver for Haas, 2016-2018), 3) Askew (22 - currently Indy Lights) and maybe someone else who is still coming up the ladder. If none of these three or so are quite good enough for F1 in the next couple of years....then it may be a while before we see any other promising prospects. As it was, our most promising American prospect in the last 30 years (Michael Andretti) was quickly flushed out of F1.
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