Then and Now: Freedom 100 Winners Part 1
For the past 16 years, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Freedom 100 has been the perfect support event alongside the Indianapolis 500 during the month of May. The event has become prestigious for the up-and-coming drivers, in giving them a chance to showcase their talent on the famed speedway.
As the countdown continues towards the 17th edition, Popular Open Wheel is looking back through the winners and seeing what they were able to accomplish post-victory.
2003: Ed Carpenter
Carpenter’s victory in the event marked his only career Indy Lights win, as he scored three other podiums en route to placing third in the standings. He moved up to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2004, scoring three victories in 176 races across the past 15 years.
Carpenter’s success extends beyond that, as he formed his own racing team Ed Carpenter Racing in 2012. His team has managed to score five victories in the seven years of competition, highlighted by a best of fourth in the standings by Josef Newgarden in 2016.
2004: Thiago Medeiros
Thiago Medeiros’ victory was simply the icing on the cake for him 2014, as he won six races with nine podiums en route to winning the series championship. He made only one IndyCar start afterwards, placing 31st in the Indianapolis 500 in 2006 for PDM Racing after electrical issues.
He would return to Brazil, competing in Stock Car Brasil, before giving up his career behind the wheel in 2007 to fly helicopters.
2005: Jaime Camara
Like Carpenter, the Freedom 100 marked his only victory during the season, as he scored two more podiums to finish sixth in the year-end standings. The Brazilian returned to Indy Lights a year later, placing sixth once again following another three podiums. He moved up to the IndyCar Series in 2008, running 14 of the 18 events for Conquest Racing with a best finish of 14th on two occasions.
Although he tested with Conquest pre-season in 2009, he did not return and has not competed in any known motorsports events since.
2006: Wade Cunningham
The only multi-time winner of the event, Wade Cunningham’s first victory in the Freedom 100 came after leading flag-to-flag from the pole. He scored two more wins before the end of the year (Sonoma and Chicago), en route to placing third in the year-end standings with a total of six podiums for the campaign.
2007: Alex Lloyd
Lloyd ran two seasons of Indy Lights competition, with his Freedom 100 triumph occurring in the second of those. It was a successful year as he won half of the 16 races, with 13 total podiums, en route to the series championship.
He made his IndyCar Series debut the following year, finishing 25th in the Indianapolis 500 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing following a crash. He would not run the full series schedule until 2010, scoring his best finish in the Greatest Spectacle of Racing with a fourth for Dale Coyne. Loyd returned to Coyne to run seven events the following season, before stepping away from the IndyCar Series.
He continues to be involved with motorsports and cars, doing production car reviews for various website, currently with Yahoo! He also ran three Pirelli World Challenge GT Class events in 2014, winning the
25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race with Davidson Racing.
2008: Dillon Battistini
In his first full season of Indy Lights competition, Dillon Battistini won the Freedom 100 – along with three other events en route to placing sixth in the year-end standings. He ran three more series events over the next two years, along with making his IndyCar Series debut in 2011 at Kentucky Speedway with a 28th place due to “driver fatigue.”
He has not participated in any well known motorsports divisions since then.
2009: Wade Cunningham
Wade Cunningham scored his second triumph in the Freedom 100 after pacing 14 laps after starting on the pole. He would score another win at Kentucky Speedway that season, en route to finishing fourth in the year-end standings.
2010: Wade Cunningham
The 2010 campaign saw Wade Cunningham only enter a pair of events – a win in the Freedom 100, followed by a third-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He made his IndyCar Series debut in 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring a 29th-place finish for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports following a crash. He made four more starts in the premiere open-wheel division, with a career-best of seventh at Kentucky Speedway.
He has not ran in any open-wheel or premiere motorsports tour since then.
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