A pair of USAC regulars have earned their shot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, each securing Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires rides for the 17th running of the “Freedom 100” on May 24 during Carb Day festivities at the famed 2.5-mile track.
USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car and Silver Crown champion Chris Windom of Canton, Ill. announced today that he will compete in the 40-lap, 100-mile race in a partnership between Belardi Auto Racing and Jonathan Byrd’s Racing. Earlier this week, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car, NOS Energy Drink National Midget and Silver Crown veteran Jarett Andretti announced a deal with Andretti Autosport.
Windom, the 2016 Silver Crown and 2017 Sprint champ, actually debuted at IMS a year ago, but was unable to make an appearance on raceday following damage suffered to the car in a practice accident. This time around, Windom will pilot the NOS Energy Drink-sponsored No. 17 Dallara. Windom, also a veteran of the NASCAR Truck Series, has won 22 times in USAC National Sprint Car competition, ranking 24thall-time. His eight career Silver Crown victories rank 14th.
“After a disappointing ending to last year’s run for the Freedom 100, I’m very thankful to be given another opportunity to go back to Indy with the Belardi/Byrd team,” Windom said. “I really enjoy working with everyone on the team and I feel like we can be strong contenders for this year’s race.”
Jarett, the son of Indianapolis 500/Daytona 500 veteran and USAC National Midget winner John Andretti, was tabbed to drive for the team owned by Michael Andretti, his godfather and first cousin once removed. Jarett has made 119 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car starts in his career, earning a best-career finish of second at Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Speedway in 2017.
The versatile Jarett owns a USAC title in 2011 with the Eastern Ford Focus Dirt Midgets and was a 2013 Oswego Speedway Supermodified Rookie of the Year, has been competing on the Pirelli GT4 America Series trail over the past couple of seasons. Now he’s ready to take his shot at IMS, where, 50 years earlier, the Andretti name first reached Indy victory lane with Mario, the twin brother of Jarett’s grandfather, Aldo.
It will be extra special for Jarett to join his father John, the 12-time Indianapolis 500 starter who’s been a staple in USAC’s pit area with Jarett’s No. 18 Sprint Car.
“I get to go to the speedway, drive by there all the time, live in Indianapolis, grew up in Indianapolis,” Jarett said. “It means a lot. (It will be) good to get Dad out to the speedway again. He always gets a little pep in his step when he gets to go out there, see everybody, be a part of something. That's going to be exciting.”
Windom and Andretti will both set foot in an Indy Lights open test to prepare for the “Freedom 100” at Kentucky Speedway on April 18.
It will already be a busy week for both Windom and Andretti with several nights of USAC racing in the Hoosier state surrounding the activity at IMS. The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars head to the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday, May 22, for the 49th “Tony Hulman Classic,” followed by back-to-back nights for Silver Crown racing, first on the dirt at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the 64th“Hoosier Hundred” on Thursday, May 23, and the “Carb Night Classic” on Friday, May 24 on the pavement at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.
A discounted Superticket, good for admission to all three of the USAC events can be purchased at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2019-week-of-indy-ticket-sales.