INDIANAPOLIS – Nico Jamin is aiming to repeat history for Andretti Autosport in the Freedom 100.
The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires rookie is aiming to replicate Dean Stoneman’s performance last season in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Mazda/Dallara IL-15 by following up a victory in one of the series’ races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a victory on the 2.5-mile oval. Freedom 100 practice and qualifying are scheduled for today, though rain is on the forecast
A year ago, Stoneman followed up a win on the road course by taking the victory in the Freedom 100 in the closest finish in the history of the iconic 2.5-mile oval. Stoneman edged eventual series champion and current Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Ed Jones by a mere 0.0024 of a second.
Jamin has already completed the first half of Stoneman’s May 2016 accomplishment this year, winning the first of the grand prix weekend’s doubleheader on May 12. He sits second in the championship standings, 13 points behind leader Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser, heading into the Freedom 100.
Jamin’s confidence is also boosted by the knowledge that he was fastest in preseason testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval.
“I think the Homestead test this winter went very well, and I’m extremely comfortable on the superspeedways,” said Jamin, the 2015 champion in Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda, the entry rung of the Mazda Road to Indy developmental ladder.
“I think we have a really good set up. We won on the road course like Dean (Stoneman) did last year in the No. 27, so I want to try and carry on to win the Freedom 100 as well, like Dean did.
“We’re really working on speed and the car because qualifying here is not really important, but as soon as you’re (racing) in a group, that’s where it really matters. To cross the finish line in first, it’s all about the last corner and the last straightaway, so that’s what we’re working on.”
While it’s not winning the Indianapolis 500, Jamin holds the chance to win any race on the IMS oval in highest regard.
“It means everything,” he said. “It’s the biggest race of the season for us (in Indy Lights), our Indianapolis 500. I really want to win it, as it would mean a lot to me. It would show what I can do on the oval, my skill, and hopefully we’ll be in the 500 next year.”
The 40-lap Freedom 100, the seventh of 16 races on the 2017 Indy Lights schedule, airs live at 12:30 p.m. on NBCSN, part of the network’s complete coverage of Miller Lite Carb Day. Colton Herta, the 17-year-old son of retired Indy car driver Bryan Herta, was fastest in testing Monday with a lap of 200.070 mph.