As they prepare for Round 2 during the IndyCar REV Group Grand Prix at Road America this weekend, stalwarts of the Blue Marble Radical Cup North America series have been put on notice.
In one form or another it’s fresh faces who lead each of the three class championships.
PRO 1340 Class
Sitting on top of the 1340 points are three drivers from Apex Motor Club, who all made their national Radical Cup debuts during Round 1 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Attributing his success in part to his new SimCraft simulator and iRacing, Jason Plotke adapted extremely quickly to a new track, and while he didn’t take home any hardware from Alabama, his consistency was rewarded with the third largest points haul from the weekend.
Chris McMurry’s hat-trick of second place finishes has left him second in the championship, which is perhaps not so much of surprise given he’s a former Sebring 12 Hour prototype winner.
A clean sweep for Crown Concepts teammate Vince Switzer, however did get the paddock’s attention, with the newcomer’s instant success giving long time class drivers Mike Anzaldi and Jason Greenwood something to think about as they head into their home weekend at Road America.
There will also be two younger drivers in the SR3 1340 field looking to catch the eye of the IndyCar paddock.
Zac Ping returns to the series for Road America, while 14-year-old Christian Weir makes his series debut this weekend after testing USF4, F1600 and USF2000 earlier in the year.
PRO 1500 Class
PRO 1500 young-gun Gustavo Rafols showed he hasn’t lost any pace due to his unplanned hiatus after COVID curtailed his 2020 race season.
The WISKO Racing driver set the fastest 1500 lap of the weekend in Race 3 at Barber and kept out of trouble to finish the weekend with two podiums and the points lead. The Puerto Rican has unfinished business after finishing runner up in 2018 (PRO 1340) and third in 2019 (PRO 1500), and he hopes 2021 could be his year.
However, a number of other junior drivers are also looking to make their mark this year including Nick Pearson, Alex Morton, Max Fdler, Palmer Miller (Esses Racing/Radical Texas) and Noah Ping (Comprent Motor Sports), with the latter two sitting second and third respectively in class points.
Both Miller and Ping showed they had raw pace at Barber, but had ragged weekends, and will need to reign in their youthful exuberance at Road America to ensure they don’t give up any more points to penalties.
Nevertheless, their confidence will be sky high after they both scored maiden victories at Barber.
Looking to claw their way back into contention at Road America are two seasoned competitors. Gregg Gorski (One Motorsports) and Steve Jenks (Group-A Racing) both resisted stepping up to the Platinum class and the new SR10 to focus on winning the PRO 1500 championship.
Jenks finished runner up last year, while Gorksi was third, and both have what it takes to bring the title home. Currently they sit fourth and fifth, respectively, in the PRO 1500 points.
Reigning Platinum class Champion Terry Olson (Team Fury) opened his 2021 account with a win in Race 1, but finds himself only third in the standings after Barber and will miss this weekend due to a testing conflict with his Lamborghini Super Trofeo campaign.
Class newcomers Mel Johnson and Indy Al Miller gave the new wins during its competition debut, and the One Motorsports teammates sit first and second respectively.
Miller won the PRO 1500 and Outright championships in 2020, and both drivers have quickly adapted to the powerful ‘torque monster’ SR10 after stepping up from the SR3.
Another who looks set to star at Road America is former ALMS champion Jon Field (Scott Wagner Racing).
While he took home two third place trophies and his staggering speed was there, he somewhat had a weekend to forget at Barber, but given he won at Road America last year he is among the favorites.
The same goes for series stalwart Louis Schriber, who hails from Wisconsin and lives in Chicago.
With a Barber podium under his belt, the 2018 PRO 1340 champion is back to his best after sitting last year out and will undoubtedly be looking to win on his home turf.
The first official session for the Blue Marble Radical Cup gets underway at 6:10pm this evening, with Practice 2, Qualifying and Race 1 on Friday, Race 2 on Saturday and Race 3 on Sunday. Follow live timing on race-monitor.com.
Live streaming coverage will be on via the Radical YouTube channel:
Race 1 – Friday 5:25 p.m. CT / 6:25 p.m. ET
Race 2 – Saturday 5:20 p.m. CT / 6:20 p.m. ET
Race 3 – Sunday 2:05 p.m. CT / 3:05 p.m ET