ASHLEY ASKS…… Ryan Norman
After a successful second season in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Ryan Norman is ready to the chase championship in 2019. The Andretti Autosport driver recently shared his thoughts with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts entering the season?
RYAN NORMAN: I’m really excited for this season. I’ve built a lot of experience over the past two years with Andretti in the Indy Lights Series and I feel coming into this season, I am definitely going to be a lot stronger and consistent then we have been, and I feel like we have a pretty good shot at the championship.
POW: I was just going to ask. What are your goals and expectations now heading into year three?
RYAN: I would say consistency. I think getting on the podium as much as possible, and if I’m not in the position to win the race, I just have to get the best of it that I can without throwing it away trying to get to the win. I think not crashing is going to be important, obviously, as you may be leading the championship and you have a couple crashes, you may end up taking you out of contention.
So I think the key is getting the best finishes possible and being consistent; obviously the angle is the championship.
POW: What track are you looking forward to most?
RYAN: Probably Circuit of the Americas. I’ve never been there before and it looks like a really fun track. It’s going to be super fast, so I’m really excited to try out that track. Other than that, I’d probably say Mid-Ohio; hometown race is always fun with some family coming up.
POW: As we leave this past season in the rearview, what are your final thoughts?
RYAN: I feel like towards the end of the season, I was hitting some good strides. I feel like all of the experience started coming together and obviously we had the win at Gateway and the pole position in Portland. So I feel like we were heading in the right direction and have a lot of momentum heading into the off-season.
Obviously, we had some pretty good tests as at the Chris Griffis (Memorial) test (at Indianapolis Motor Speedway), we were first there. I feel like it was a good building year and a monumental year for my career.
POW: How did you originally get started in racing?
RYAN: So I started racing dirt bikes when I was four-years-old; I kind of came a different way than a lot of people go getting into cars. A lot of kids go from karting, working their way up and get into cars. I didn’t have any karting experience; I just raced dirt bikes.
Then I was 14, I went to Skip Barber Racing School. Me and my dad did it, and I ended up catching on, and really enjoyed it so I came back for their Winter Series and raced in that. Then I slowly made my way up the system in SCCA racing, the Formula Atlantic Series, and here I am now.
POW: Who is your racing hero?
RYAN: I would probably say either Aryton Senna which is usually what people say – or actually probably Scott Dixon. I think he’s the type of driver that a lot of people should try to emulate. Obviously he’s very strong on track, but he just never seems to have a bad day; he always seems to savage the best result possible and that’s what I am trying to do in my driving as well.
POW: What is one track that you wish was on the Indy Lights schedule that currently isn’t?
RYAN: I would say Long Beach. I really wanted to race there – hopefully I’ll get to race there In IndyCar, kind of wish Lights was going back there. I love street courses so St. Pete and Toronto are great tracks, so I would say Long Beach.
POW: If you could win the Indy Lights championship this year, what would that mean to you?
RYAN: It would change my life for sure. Obviously that will help me get a ride in IndyCar the following year, but I also feel it’d be a huge confidence boost for me and last the rest of my career. It would be a monumental thing to achieve for sure.
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