Andretti Autosport confirmed on Wednesday that their Indy Lights drivers Shelby Blackstock, Dean Stoneman, and Dalton Kellet will test their Verizon IndyCar machines at Watkins Glen International on August 11.
Blackstock will drive Marco Andretti’s No.26 Honda for the test and speaking about the opportunity he commented by saying:
I have a lot of history at Watkins Glen and it brings back a lot of great memories just saying the name, Seven years ago I went to The Glen as part of the Jim Click’s Mustang Challenge team as a crew member. It was the first road course race I had ever been to and it was an eye opener. I did every job possible on the team in one weekend, but that’s where my journey at The Glen (and in racing) started. Over the years, I’ve been a crew member, raced Skip Barber and CTSCC (Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge) there and now sever years later after entering the track for the first time, I finally get to do my first Indy car test there. Words can’t describe how excited I am for this opportunity to finally get to drive my dream car. This is my fifth year at Andretti Autosport after completing the entire MRTI (Mazda Road To Indy) program with them and now finally getting to test one of their Indy cars! I can’t thank Michael and Andretti Autosport enough for giving me this opportunity and I can’t wait to get on track!
Dean Stoneman will drive Ryan Hunter Reay’s No.28 DHL Honda. Stoneman has two wins so far in the Indy Lights championship in 2016 and is currently in fifth place in the standing and speaking about the chance to drive a Verizon IndyCar machine the Englishman commented by saying:
Can’t wait to get into Ryan’s car for the IndyCar test at Watkins Glen. To be there testing at an iconic US circuit will be great. I have been watching the big guys all season so I’m going to enjoy finally testing one. I came to Indy Lights with a view of moving up to IndyCar, which has always been the goal that I’m working on for 2017, so the test will give everybody some indication of my ability. In 2010 I was invited to test Williams F1 car in Abu Dhabi and seemed to really impress everyone, so I’m hoping we can do the same sort of job with Andretti as I look to next year.
Canadian Dalton Kellet has never driven at Watkins Glen before but is looking forward to the opportunity to drive Carlos Munoz’ No.26 Honda stating:
I am extremely excited for my first Indy car test and I am very grateful to do so with Andretti Autosport, There are going to be differences between the Indy Lights car and the Indy car for me to adapt to. I expect the biggest adjustments will be getting used to the braking and cornering performance. The Indy car is going to be much more physically demanding, but I have been training hard and I feel like I am prepared. I’m also looking forward to learning the pit procedures and feeling the increase in power. I haven’t raced or tested at The Glen so this will be a complete learning experience for me, with a new car and new track. I am happy to be able to learn from and work with Andretti Autosport for this amazing opportunity.
Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti commented by saying:
We’re proud of the role Andretti Autosport has played over the years in the Mazda Road to Indy program, nd I applaud the efforts of the program in helping to develop future Verizon IndyCar Series drivers. By giving Dean, Shelby and Dalton an opportunity to test our Indy cars, we can help do our part in building a stronger future not just for our team, but for the sport and industry as a whole.