INDIANAPOLIS — Antonio Serravalle started off with Abel Motorsports for the 2022 Indy Lights season but the 19 year old driver will be swapping teams this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Serravalle, will now team with HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing for this weekend’s Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
He’ll drive the No. 11 entry and joins he joins Linus Lundqvist, Daniel Frost, Christian Bogle and Benjamin Pedersen (Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports) in the organization’s five-car program.
Serravalle claimed a pair of top-10 finishes in the opening two rounds of the season with Abel Motorsports. Last week, he joined HMD Motorsports at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for a team test, along with the four other HMD Motorsports entries, as well as five additional Indy Lights drivers. He ran fifth after only a few hours of running.
While Serravalle did not start the season with HMD Motorsports, this is not the first time he has been linked with the team. Serravalle was set to join HMD Motorsports for the 2020 Indy Lights season prior to the season being canceled. Leading up to the season, Serravalle and the team worked together at multiple test events.
“I would like to say a big thank you to Bill Abel, John Brunner and everyone at Abel Motorsports for all of the support and opportunities they provided,” Serravalle said. “I am thankful for them giving us a race-by-race program and not letting me miss any of the first two event weekends. I am happy there was an opportunity open where I can join HMD Motorsports, which is a highly successful and experienced team. I feel good after the test last week at Mid-Ohio, and I look forward to this weekend and the rest of the 2022 season.”
As a result of an open seat at Abel Motorsports, driver Ryan Phinny will replace Serravalle. Phinny will drive the team’s second car, No. 61.
“I’d really like to thank John Brunner, Bill Abel, and the entire Abel Motorsports team for the call to drive and for the all the partners that came on board to make this happen,” Phinny said via a team release. “This car is sponsored entirely by Tennessee-based businesses, and I feel so fortunate to represent them and the state I now call home.”
Phinny, is making his return to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires after an eight-year hiatus from the series. The 32-year-old Nashville, Tennessee-based driver last raced in the Indy Lights series with Belardi Auto Racing in 2014. Phinny and the team hope this weekend’s doubleheader on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course are building blocks to more events in 2022.
“Right now, my focus is going to be getting back up to speed and learning these new Indy Lights cars,” Phinny said. “It’s already been a great transition to Abel Motorsports, including working again with a few familiar faces from my previous time in Indy Lights. Ultimately the goal is to add more events to my calendar, and a good result this weekend would go a long way into building this program up.”
As a result of this, we’ll now have 15 drivers in the weekend doubleheader.
One of the drivers also had some good news come out on Thursday with Kyffin Simpson becoming a developmental driver for Chip Ganassi Racing too.
Now, we head to Indy for the 1st of 3 doubleheader weekend’s on the season. Linus Lundqvist leads teammate Benjamin Pedersen by 9 points after the first 2 races run thus far. Matthew Brabham sits 3rd (-12) while Sting Ray Robb (-22) and Danial Frost (-27) round out the top five in points.
Lundqvist, led all 31 laps the last time out at the Barber Motorsports Park while also finishing 3rd on the streets of St. Pete. Brabham, led just 2 laps in that St. Pete season opener but it was the 2 most important ones. He had an up-and-down day in Barber as to why he’s fallen to 3rd. Another reason is because Pedersen has finished runner-up in both races this year and while he’s winless in 22 career starts, he’s been second in 4 of them. He also has 8 podiums and 11 top fives in those races.
Lundqvist, has won 4 times (2 in the last 3 races run dating back to last season) with 13 podiums (7 in the last 8 tries) and 19 top fives in that same span. He won the 1st of 2 races here last year and was 5th in the other. Pedersen, was 10th and 9th respectively here a year ago.
The last time Brabham has raced here was in 2016 on the oval for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. He finished 22nd that day. The last time he was on the road course in race competition?
2014. He was 1st and 4th respectively that weekend.
HMD/GRG took 3 of the top 4 finishers in Barber and between them have combined to win the last 2 races on the Indy road course. However, I have a feeling they will have to stave off a fierce rebound from the Andretti Autosport camp on both Friday and Saturday afternoons.
Brabham, knows his way around here and so does his teammate Robb. The 20 year old driver swept the Indy Pro 2000 weekend here in 2020 for his 5th podium in the last 6 Indy Pro 2000 tries on the Indy road course. While he was only 9th and 10th respectively in Lights competition here a year ago, watch out for him now that he’s with Andretti and coming off of his 1st career Lights podium in Barber.
You also have rookies Christian Rasmussen and Hunter McElrea too. Rasmussen led 32 laps in St. Pete before trouble struck. He won 2 of the 3 Indy Pro 2000 races in 2021 here. For McElrea, he led 11 laps in St. Pete and has made 8 Indy road course starts in the Road to Indy program thus far.
Between Rasmussen and Robb, they combined to win 5 of the last 6 Indy Pro 2000 races around the 2.439-mile road course.
The key here though is qualifying. The last 4 Indy Lights winners on the road course all came from the pole. We’ve seen 8 straight winner start on the front row and other than Dean Stoneman’s win in Race 2 of 2016, 17 of the 18 Indy Lights races on the road course were won from the front row at that.