Its been a busy week of Indy Lights driver announcements with HMD announcing 2 more drivers and Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) announcing a return to the series as well.
JHR return to the Indy Lights championship with two full time cars for the 2023 season. After 14 years, the Road to Indy championship winning team will close the doors to its highly successful Indy Pro 2000 Championship team to focus on the development of the Indy Lights program.
“We are very excited to return to Indy Lights full time with two cars,” said JHR Co-owner and Team Principal Ricardo Juncos. “We have had great success in the past within the Indy Lights series but made the decision last year to focus on the expansion of our first full time NTT INDYCAR SERIES program during 2022, with the plan to rejoin the Indy Lights in 2023. Instead of running in three series and stretching our resources and personal this year, we knew that we had to take the time to build the basis of our NTT INDYCAR SERIES before returning to the Indy Lights.”
JHR has competed in the Road To Indy ladder system since 2009, beginning their run in the Indy Pro 2000 championship and then expanding to the Indy Lights series in 2015. The team won five Indy Pro 2000 driver championships and six team championships, recording 61 wins, 65 poles, and 194 podiums throughout their 14-year run. JHR competed full time in the Indy Lights series beginning in 2015 where they won the driver championship in their first season with Spencer Pigot and then again in 2017 with Kyle Kaiser. The team earned 18 wins, 18, poles, and 51 podiums between 2015 and 2021 (taking a year away from the series in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
“The roots and foundation of JHR comes from where we started in Indy Pro 2000 14 years ago,” continued Juncos. “When we first began, we did not have many of the resources that other teams had, but our passion and work ethic allowed us to create a philosophy to be successful. In just a short time we started to win races and became a multi championship winning team. Our driver development program expanded into developing young engineers and mechanics, in which we have promoted many team personal within over the past decade. I am proud of all we were able to accomplish with our Indy Pro 2000 team and will continue with those values and ethics as we focus on our Indy Lights program. I want to thank Dan Andersen and everyone and Andersen Promotions, Cooper Tires, and all those who have supported us since our journey began.”
Drivers who have gone on to compete at a higher level after their time at JHR include Peter Dempsey, Conor Daly, Tatiana Calderon, Connor De Phillippi, Spencer Pigot, Kyle Kaiser, Victor Franzoni, Rinus VeeKay, Rasmus Lindh, Dalton Kellett and Sting Ray Robb.
They don’t have drivers named yet to these rides.
On Thursday, HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing announced that Danial Frost will return for his third season of Indy Lights racing in 2023, team officials announced Sept. 29.
Frost earned his first career Lights victory in 2022, winning the first race of the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis doubleheader in May on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in the No. 68 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car. Frost, a 20-year-old native of Singapore, finished seventh in the season standings.
In his second season with HMD Motorsports, Frost again will work with his 2022 season engineer, Mike Reggio. Den-Jet also returns as his personal sponsor.
“I am excited to be back with HMD Motorsports and continue with the same program as I had in 2022,” Frost said. “I have the opportunity for one of the first times in my career to work with the same engineer in back-to-back seasons, which I feel will reap benefits. The goal is simple for us as a team in 2023, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Before joining Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport in 2021, Frost competed in the Road to Indy ladder system. He raced a partial season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in 2018, followed by two full seasons in Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires in 2019 and 2020. He recorded two Indy Pro 2000 victories over those two seasons and finished third in the championship in 2020.
“It is great to have Danial back for a second season and hopefully a championship-winning season,” HMD Motorsports General Manager Mike Maurini said. “Danial returns to the team as one of the veteran drivers and a leader, so we are expecting big things from him. I know his goal is the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and we hope that we can help him get there.”
Frost will participate in the annual Chris Griffis Test on Oct. 21 at IMS, followed by another test Oct. 24 at Barber Motorsports Park.
HMD earlier also revealed plans to field eight cars in Indy Lights in 2023. Besides Frost, the team so far has announced fellow returnee Christian Bogle and Lights newcomer Josh Green as drivers for next season.
Bogle will return to HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing in the 2023 Indy Lights season after benefiting from the multicar program during his second season in the developmental series in 2022.
Bogle, 21, from Covington, Louisiana, drove the No. 7 Pelican Energy Consultants car this year in his first season for HMD, with a best finish of fourth in the first race of the Detroit doubleheader. He recorded eight top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
“I learned a lot the past season, and I think consistency is key for me to continue the upward trend,” Bogle said. “I will be working with my same engineer for the second consecutive season, which is something that I have not been able to do in the past and the same with my coach. HMD Motorsports is a proven winner, and I look forward to another season in Indy Lights.”
HMD Motorsports won the 2022 Indy Lights championship with driver Linus Lundqvist.
“I did not get a chance to start in karting like a lot of my competition and really jumped into car racing just four years ago,” Bogle said. “Jumping around from team to team for a while was tough, but I have found my home at HMD Motorsports and love it here. It was my best season in Indy Lights to date and while it was good, we still have a lot to improve on.
“We have revised and set goals for preseason testing and then for the start of the 2023 race season. We plan to evaluate those goals midseason and see where we stand, what is needed to improve and hopefully set new ones yet again. I know the season just ended, but I am excited to get going again.”
We know HMD has 8 cars, Andretti should return with 4 and now JHR has 2. Legacy Autosport and Cape Motorsports will join the series as both will each have a pair of drivers themselves.
That brings the car count up to 18 already.
Then you can see a return of Force Indy and Abel Motorsports may stay too. Whether that’s 1 or 2 cars for Abel remains to be seen but that’s at least 20 cars there. What about TJ Speed? They had 2 cars in 2022?