Ellis looks forward to Lights debut
Alex Ellis will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in conjunction with the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. The 18-year-old Canadian was awarded a one-race deal to run the Carneros 100 at the Infineon Raceway on Aug. 22 after winning the Jim Russell Race of Champions, a six-race series held at Infineon Raceway.
"It's all happened so fast, but just the way I'd like it to," Ellis said. "I'm really pleased with the professionalism of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, and I'm really enjoying the support from Jim Russell. The last few days have been a blur, but I have loved every second of it. I just can't wait to get on track again at Infineon."
Ellis tested a Firestone Indy Lights car for the first time at Putnam Park Road Course near Indianapolis on Aug. 11. The young driver was surprised at how quickly he was able to adapt to the vehicle.
"The test at Putnam Park went amazingly well," Ellis said. "I was so pleased with how quickly I was able to get up to speed in the car. As odd as it sounds, I feel that the faster a car gets, the more power and grip that I have, I feel more at home and comfortable.
"I love the Firestone Indy Lights car as it is a truly fast vehicle. The transition wasn't that hard to make."
To provide Ellis the opportunity to run a Firestone Indy Lights car gives team owner Sam Schmidt great satisfaction.
"Sam Schmidt Motorsports is honored to work with Chip Pankow and the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School to provide this series champion with a Firestone Indy Lights test and seat for the upcoming Carneros 100 event at Infineon Raceway," Schmidt said. "At Putnam Park, Alex proved the Jim Russell series and school was a great learning tool as he adapted quickly to the Firestone Indy Lights chassis and turned really impressive times, I'm quite positive that, combined with a full day test and his knowledge already of Infineon Raceway, he will have a very good run during the upcoming race."