Veteran United States Auto Club (USAC) executive and champion driver Levi Jones was named as director of the Indy Lights series, INDYCAR officials announced today.
Jones will oversee all operations and competition of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the final step for drivers in the Road to Indy ladder that prepares drivers for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. INDYCAR adds the role of promoter to its duties as the sanctioning body of Indy Lights on Nov. 1.
“My entire career has been in racing and moving to INDYCAR and Indy Lights is the perfect next step,” Jones said. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to grow Indy Lights and expand its legacy and position as the ideal final step before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
“It’s hard to put into words what joining an organization like INDYCAR really means. When you’re in racing, you always want to be a part of the biggest and the best. This is a dream come true.”
Illinois native Jones, 39, comes to his new role after working in competition and executive positions with the United States Auto Club since 2015.
Jones started his USAC administration career in 2015 as the national series competition director, leading the planning and operation of more than 75 USAC events around the United States in the Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget National Championship series.
In 2019, Jones was promoted to USAC executive vice president, helping to diversify the sanctioning body’s activity beyond open-wheel racing to youth racing, off-road competition, rally and sports car racing. During his tenure, Jones was responsible for a wide array of tasks, including maintaining and executing annual rule books, managing sponsorship for each series, negotiating sanctioning agreements, personnel management and working as race director for the Camping World SRX Series in its inaugural season in 2021.
“Because of his broad experience in and out of the cockpit, Levi is the perfect choice to become the director of Indy Lights,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “Levi is well respected in the racing industry and knows every angle of the sport as a driver, team owner, racetrack operator and sanctioning body. We are excited to have Levi on board and look forward to the new era of INDYCAR operating Indy Lights.”
Jones began racing 410 Sprint cars at age 16 and built one of the most decorated driving careers in USAC history. He won seven USAC national championships, including a record five Sprint Car titles (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011). He also won consecutive Silver Crown titles (2010-11).
All but the 2005 Sprint title came when Jones drove for Tony Stewart Racing, owned by the legendary NASCAR Cup Series and INDYCAR SERIES champion and two-time Brickyard 400 winner.
During his USAC career, Jones won 35 feature races between the Sprint Car (28 wins), Midget (four wins) and Silver Crown (three wins) series.
This continues the plan INDYCAR has for the series as they announced last month that they’ll take over starting in 2022.
Indy Lights is the final step on the successful Road to Indy ladder system that develops drivers and teams to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Cooper Tires will continue as a trusted partner for the Road to Indy and provide tires for all three developmental series.
Over its 35-year history, Indy Lights has provided an excellent pipeline for open-wheel’s future stars. Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden are former Indy Lights champions who have gone on to become INDYCAR SERIES champions. Currently, 20 drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES are Indy Lights graduates, including rising stars and 2021 race winners Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay. 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew found success in each of Andersen Promotions’ Road to Indy programs (Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000, and USF2000) and is among the eight former champions who have joined the bold and daring athletes of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Andersen Promotions will continue stewardship of Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000.