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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Indy Lights Field Expands at Homestead

For much of the 2010 season, the Firestone Indy Lights Series has struggled to produce a solid car count. In the majority of races, only 14 cars have taken the green flag - four from Sam Schmidt Motorsports, two apiece with Team Moore Racing, Andretti Autosport/AFS Racing, and Bryan Herta Autosport, and single-car entries from Andersen Racing, PDM Racing, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, and Walker Racing.

However, the season-ending Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will see a number of new faces and a handful of new entries, bring the car count up to 17.

Some of the "new" names on the grid are, in fact, not new to the series at all. Dillon Battistini will pilot the lone Bryan Herta Autosport entry in the race, the No. 28 Dallara, while Arie Luyendyk Jr. will race once again in the No. 24 Dallara of Alliance Motorsports. Meanwhile, Wade Cunningham will reprise his Freedom 100 cameo in Sam Schmidt's No. 77 Dallara, hoping to back up a victory in the series' biggest race with another in its season finale. Finally, Sean Guthrie will return to the series in Andersen Racing's No. 4 Dallara, running this race for that team for the second year in a row.

Davey Hamilton Racing is the big expansion entry for the weekend, as USAC drivers Brandon Wagner and Henry Clarke will drive their No. 32 and No. 34 Dallaras, respectively. Wagner has competed on and off in the series with Hamilton for the past couple of years, while Clarke will be making his series debut, fresh off his first career USAC Sprint Car win at the Toledo Speedway this past July.

Daniel Herrington's Indy Lights career has also been resurrected; after a pinch-hit performance for BHA at Kentucky, replacing the departed Sebastian Saavedra, Herrington will run the season finale in the No. 36 O2 Racing Technology Dallara. It will be O2's third event of the year, following starts with David Martinez at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma.

The creation of the No. 34 team for this event makes a grand total of 24 cars that have competed in at least one Firestone Indy Lights race this season. Those missing from the Homestead entry list include the No. 5 of Andersen Racing, the No. 6 of HVM Racing, the No. 8 of Michael Crawford Motorsports, the No. 17 of Team E, the No. 29 of Bryan Herta Autosport, and the Nos. 35 and 37 of Team PBIR.

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