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Indy Lights

Then and Now: Freedom 100 Winners Part 2

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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.

IndyCar

2011: Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden’s victory was the highlight of a dream lone season in the top step of the Road to Indy. The American took home five wins in the 14 races en route to winning the championship.

His title led to a full season in the NTT IndyCar Series with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in 2012. Through the past eight years, he has won a series championship (2017), 11 races, and currently leads the standings heading into the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2012: Esteban Guerrieri

The Argentina native ran two seasons of Indy Lights competition in 2011 and 2012, with his Freedom 100 victory coming in the second campaign. Both years, he was able to win three races – but was the title runner-up.

He switched to touring car racing in 2013, partnering with
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport to drive a Honda Civic TCR in the FIA WTCR Series.

John Cote | Road to Indy

2013: Peter Dempsey

Although he was unsuccessful through his first two years of Indy Lights competition, the 2013 campaign turned into his break-out campaign. He won the Freedom 100, while scoring three other podiums, en route to placing fifth in the year-end standings.

He has yet to race in any series of significance since the 2013 campaign, though.

2014: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves’ Freedom 100 triumph was one of four victories that season en route to the championship in his second year of competition. The success enabled him to run his only full-time NTT IndyCar Series season in 2015 with BHA with Curb-Agajanian Racing.

Despite making 39 starts over the past four years, Chaves has yet to score a podium finish in the NTT IndyCar Series.

John Cote | IndyCar

2015: Jack Harvey

Jack Harvey won two races during his second season of Indy Lights competition in 2015 – notably the Freedom 100. He was a strong competitor in the ladder series, placing second in the year-end standings in 2014 and 2015.

He would make his IndyCar Series debut in 2017 with Michael Shank Racing in the Indianapolis 500. He is scheduled to run a partial schedule this year with the team.

2016: Dean Stoneman

His only campaign in the Indy Lights Series saw him win the Freedom 100, along with six other podiums, en route to placing fifth in the year-end standings.

In March 2017 Strakka Racing announced that Stoneman would race for them in 2017, sharing a McLaren 650 GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.

IndyCar

2017: Matheus Leist

Matheus Leist ran just one season of Indy Lights, scoring four victories through 2017 en route to placing fourth in the standings. He then moved into the NTT IndyCar Series last year, driving for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Through 2018 and this season to date, he has yet to score a top-10 finish, with 11th at Pocono Raceway in 2018 marking his best career run to date.

2018: Colton Herta

Colton Herta ran up front throughout the entire Indy Lights season, with the Freedom 100 just being one of four victories. However, he lost out on the championship to his then-teammate Patricio O’Ward at year-end.

Herta signed with Harding Steinbrenner Racing for his first full NTT IndyCar Series campaign in 2019. He has already been successful, scoring his first career victory at the Circuit of the Americas.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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