First-year Road to Indy Team Shines North of The Border

Abel Squad Earns Two Podiums, Four Top-Sevens in Toronto Debut

Rookie Road to Indy team Abel Motorsports of Louisville, KY showed grit, talent and speed at Honda Indy Toronto weekend, in two Indy Pro 2000 races.  Lead driver Jacob Abel overcame two Friday incidents to finish 6thand 7thin the doubleheader, while Championship contender Parker Thompson thrilled fans at his home event with a 3rdand 2nd, to gain significant ground on the points leader.

Thompson, from Red Deer, Alberta in Western Canada, had a large contingent of family and friends on hand to watch.  “These are the weekends that lead to a Championship,” commented Thompson.  “The weekend didn’t start off the way we wanted it; no one wants to qualify 7thfor their home Grand Prix.  You need the full package here and we were missing it by just a little bit.   We’re chipping away at it.   But in Race 2 we were much better, right there for the win.   At Mid-Ohio we need to win.  That’s all there is to it.”  

 The 18-year-old Abel, from Louisville, solidified his case for Rookie of the Year honors in Indy Pro 2000 with his pair of drives over the weekend. “Friday was a really tough day, one of the toughest I’ve had.   It started with a mistake I made, crashing on lap 1 of practice, and the crew worked really hard to get the car ready to qualify.   Then, we were sitting on pit road ready to go qualify, when an incident on pit lane took us out again and forced us to miss the session.”

“We worked hard again to fix everything and get ready for qualifying 2.  

Saturday morning was a new day, we had a really good race, got a good start, and picked up a few positions.  It was really our first time on the track, and I ended up with the Hard Charger award.  Sunday was the same.  I had to start from the back again, but we were able to move up and finish 7th.   I learned a lot about this place, which is what we’re here for.   Now on to Mid- Ohio.   Top fives and podiums there are the goal!”

Team Principal Bill Abel was pleased with the fortitude and pace his group showed in the face of plenty of adversity.   “After the rough start we had Friday, the results we delivered this weekend were that much sweeter.   For Parker, he did what he needed to do, finishing in front of the guy he’s battling for the Championship.   For Jacob, he did a great job….because of the trouble he had on Friday.  One incident wasn’t his fault, but he got only 13 laps in at a place he’d never seen before.   I never would have predicted he could have finished 6thSaturday, and then driven to 7thSunday.   We couldn’t have asked for better results on the weekend.   We did our job.   I think our opportunities at Mid-Ohio only increase.”

 Thompson remains 2nd in the Championship, just 30 points out of the lead, while Abel, who missed the Road America weekend due to another racing commitment, is 10th in series points.   

Abel Motorsports resumes the fight for the Indy Pro 2000 title in two weeks at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Honda Indy 200 weekend.  The Series will again contest two rounds on the 2.28 mile permanent road course.

FIRST-YEAR INDY PRO 2000 TEAM PREPS FOR FIRST TORONTO EVENT

St. Pete Winners Excited to Return to Street Circuit Competition

Rising open-wheel development team Abel Motorsports of Louisville, KY has reached many milestones in 2019.  One of the biggest: winning both Indy Pro 2000 races on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL, to kick off their first full Road to Indy campaign.

Now, the team and drivers Parker Thompson and Jacob Abel return to street-circuit competition this weekend at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, as the Indy Pro 2000 Series stages its eighth and ninth rounds of the season.  

Thompson, from Red Deer, Alberta, CA, considers the Toronto event his home race.   While he finished 8thin the two Indy Pro 2000 events at the Exhibition Place circuit a year ago, he won twice there in 2017 in USF2000 action. Thompson comes into the weekend second in the Indy Pro 2000 standings, trailing the leader by 29 points.  Another double victory on this temporary circuit could propel him back into the Championship lead.

His teammate, 18-year-old Jacob Abel, from Louisville, KY, attended the Toronto weekend last year, and is looking forward to returning to Indy Pro 2000 action for the first time since finishing 5thon the oval at Lucas Oil Raceway just outside Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend.  “The whole atmosphere there (at Toronto) is pretty cool.   The fan turnout is great.   The Road to Indy does it really well, starting the year in St. Pete so we get an early taste of street circuit racing.   This is more intimidating, but we’re ready.   I’m going in with an open mind, a learning attitude.   Good results will be a bonus, but I’m optimistic.” 

This weekend marks another milestone for Abel Motorsports: it’ll be the first time for the team to enter an event at Toronto’s Exhibition Place circuit.   “We’re excited to be bringing both Indy Pro 2000 cars to the track this weekend,” noted Team Principal Bill Abel.    “We’re coming off a great test at Mid-Ohio right after Road America.  It was good for us, it went really well.  We were first and second quick in the final session, and we’re looking to build on that.   Both our drivers are pretty confident going into Toronto, and we can’t wait to go racing there!”

Former IndyCar Champion engineer/crew chief Thomas Knapp has joined Abel Motorsports full-time, and will be the lead engineer on Parker Thompson’s 8 car.    Doug Forker remains lead engineer for Jacob Abel’s 51 car, assisting Team Manager Ian Brown. 

The two Abel entries will practice and qualify for Race 1 at Toronto Friday.   Race 1 takes place Saturday morning, with Race 2 Sunday morning.   Both are  available to stream live at roadtoindy.tv.

Breakout Weekend for Rising Star Jacob Abel; Wins First Two Professional Races

Success in professional racing is all about performance.   For young drivers, the ability to win races makes or breaks a career.   For 18-year-old Jacob Abel of Louisville, KY, the road ahead is now a whole lot brighter, after posting a dominant weekend in F3Americas powered by Honda action at Road Atlanta on Easter weekend.

Jacob won two of the weekend’s three F3Americas rounds, earning victory in stellar fashion.  He rounded out his breakout performance by collecting another podium finish, third, to take over the series points lead after two weekends of action in 2019.

“It’s been a long time coming”, noted the high school senior.  “When I knew I had the first race won, I started screaming on the radio.  It means so much to me that I could give our guys this win.  I’ve been close to them for such a long time. I’m thrilled I could pay our guys back for all their hard work by earning my first two pro wins as a driver.   Awesome weekend for our team!” 

Jacob Abel and his Abel Motorsports #51 Ligier-Honda faced a tough battle as the race weekend began at Road Atlanta.   Stormy spring weather forced F3Americas officials to cancel qualifying and line up the field for race 1 on the basis of points earned at Barber Motorsports Park during the season’s first race weekend.   That gave Abel second starting spot for the Road Atlanta opener.  

When the green light flashed on, Jacob charged from the outset, grabbing the lead on lap 1 and never looking back.   “We knew going in we’d have a leg up, since I raced in F3 at Road Atlanta last year.  Already knowing the track, we were able to get down to business preparing for the three races right away in the first practice session.  And it paid off big!”  noted the second-year star.    It was another outstanding moment as well for the reigning F3Americas Championship team, after Abel Motorsports dominated the series in 2018.   “This was very important for Jacob.  It was a breakout weekend for him for sure”, commented Team Principal Bill Abel.

Race 2 on Saturday was more of the same.   “I was running 4thearly in Race 2, when the leader had problems.  Then the two cars in front of me tangled; I went off too, into the gravel trap at Turn 10.  I locked up the brakes and flat-spotted the right front”, the young charger commented.  “I got a great restart and was able to grab the lead, manage my tires, and get to the checkers first.  It was great to win again!”

The weekend’s finale saw the young pilot from Kentucky put together another strong outing, starting 4th and battling to a strong third at the finish.  Jacob’s amazing race weekend paid off with the F3Americas Championship lead, with the year’s third race weekend ahead in June at Pitt Race.  

Jacob Abel added, “Now we have just about a month break until we go racing in May.  I have a lot of testing ahead, starting right away.   We’re at an awesome stage for our team, leading the points in two major championships.”

Based on Abel Motorsports’ showing at Road Atlanta, it looks like a second consecutive F3Americas Championship season could well be in the offing.  Regardless, Road Atlanta will always be a special place in the team’s young history.

First-Year Indy Pro 2000 Team Looks Forward To Strong Weekend in Indianapolis Return

Abel Motorsports, one of the sport’s top developmental racing teams, has already earned a year’s worth of successes, even though the 2019 season has barely started.   Four victories across two series, highlighted by a weekend sweep of Indy Pro 2000 action at the season opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, have established Abel Motorsports as a Championship favorite on the Road to Indy.

Now, the third-year organization makes its Road to Indy debut on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course this Friday and Saturday, as part of Indy GP weekend.  “We raced there in another series two years ago,” commented 18-year-old Jacob Abel, who wheels the team’s #51 Indy Pro 2000 entry.   “I actually had one of my best weekends my rookie year at Indy on the road course, so I’m really looking forward to racing there this weekend.”

Since the St. Pete opener, Jacob has raced in another developmental series where he picked up his first two professional victories at Road Atlanta.  “Getting those wins has given me a lot of confidence going into Indy.  It’s going to be a busy month of May for us, with the Grand Prix weekend, and then my oval debut at Lucas Oil Raceway on 500 weekend.  I can’t wait to get going!”

Jacob’s teammate in Indy Pro 2000 competition this year is young Canadian veteran Parker Thompson, who earned both Indy Pro 2000 wins at St. Pete to kick off the season.   Thompson goes into the Indy GP doubleheader as the series points leader.  “I’ve had success there last year.  I won and finished 5th, due to a mechanical issue, in the 2 Indy Pro 2000 events a year ago.   As strong as Abel Motorsports is right now, there’s nowhere to go but up.  I’m going to hold us to a pretty high standard.   I don’t see any reason why we can’t be on the top step of the podium both days this weekend.” 

 Thompson is equally high on his teammate’s prospects.  “Jacob Abel is starting to show what he’s made of, with those two wins at Road Atlanta.   He’s going to win Road to Indy races, and he’s going to make it to IndyCar.  Once he starts putting it all together, he’s going to have a lot of success.”

The two Abel Motorsports Indy Pro 2000 entries will battle for honors Friday afternoon at 3:40 PM on the IMS road course in the third round of the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship; round four goes green Saturday morning at 10:10 AM.   The races will be live streamed at www.roadtoindy.tv.

F3 AMERICAS CHAMPIONS FIND SUCCESS IN FIRST BARBER VISIT

Team Earns Podium, Top Five Finish on F3 Opening Weekend

Reigning F3Americas champions Abel Motorsports of Louisville, KY made a late decision to support the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Barber at Barber Motorsports Park, outside Birmingham, AL., by fielding one of their team-title-winning Ligier JS3 machines powered by Honda.   It was the right call, as rising young ace Jacob Abel muscled his way to a 3rdplace finish in the Saturday season opener, backing that up with a strong 4thin the finale Sunday morning.

 “It was a strong weekend for our team,” noted the 18-year-old driver.

“We were good on Saturday, and I’m proud of the podium result.   But we were better Sunday after a tough start, and we were closing on the third-place car when the race ended early.  If we’d gone green again, I think we would have been back on the podium easily.   Considering we only had one day in the car testing after deciding to support Honda at this event, we had a great weekend.”

Adding to the challenge Sunday, officials determined it to be a wet race after overnight storms dampened the Barber course.   “We’re on a new tire in F3 this year, and we had to run on rain tires, a completely new experience,” added Jacob Abel.   “Our team did a great job preparing our car and giving me a chance to run really well.  I’m pleased.”

Team Principal Bill Abel added, “It was great to come back to the F3 paddock, see lots of old friends in the series, and support Honda.  Not sure what the rest of the F3 season looks like for us, but we’ve got a lot of great things coming up in the 2019 season.”

Abel Motorsports has a heavy testing schedule planned over the next several weeks before returning to racing action.

2018 F3 Americas Champions Return For Season Opener

2018 F3 Americas Championship Team Returns For Season Opener in Alabama;  Supports Honda Racing at Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama Weekend

When the bell rings to open a new racing season, real racers respond.  And that opening bell is sending top-flight open wheel development team Abel Motorsports back to the F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda next weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

Abel Motorsports captured the 2018 Driver’s Championship and the Team Championship in the first year for the new FIA-approved development series.  Jacob Abel, who earned 4thin the final 2018 standings, will drive the team’s entry in the Barber Motorsports Park doubleheader, which kicks off the second season of F3 Americas competition.

Team Principal Bill Abel noted, “We’re looking forward to having Jacob back in the car at a new venue for the series at Barber.  I understand it’s one of the nicest facilities in the country, and we’re excited to kick off the new F3 Americas season there.   It’ll be great to support Honda Racing and HPD on Honda IndyCar Grand Prix weekend, and to see old friends who competed against us the past few years in F4 US and F3 Americas.”

In 2018, Abel Motorsports won 15 of the 17 F3 Americas races, romping to both Series Championships.  While the competition is expected to be stronger this year, the Kentucky-based team is planning to be more than equal to the challenge.

Lead driver Jacob Abel is equally excited.  “I’ve missed being in the F3 race car.  The platform we have, the Ligier JS3 chassis and the turbocharged Honda engine, is terrific.   I love driving the car.  It suits my driving style, and we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off at the end of last season.  It’s important, too, for me to get some seat time and laps at Barber, one of the most important IndyCar venues on the calendar.”

The 2019 F3Americas Powered by Honda season opens Saturday April 6thwith qualifying at 8:05am CDT, with race #1 of the weekend going green at 11:45am Central.

Championship Team Ready to Bid for Indy Pro 2000 Title Starting This Weekend At The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Louisville-based team signs 2018 Championship runnerup to partner with rookie Jacob Abel as team’s Road to Indy quest begins

Top-tier open wheel development team Abel Motorsports of Louisville is set to open its quest for another Championship starting this coming Friday and Saturday as the 2019 Road to Indy season begins with a doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL.  Coming off a dominant F3Americas campaign, Abel Motorsports will run two cars all season in the Indy Pro 2000 Series, the middle tier in the Road to Indy ladder system that feeds the NTT IndyCar Series.

Team principal Bill Abel is finding it hard to contain his enthusiasm for the new challenge.  “We’re really excited to be involved with the Road to Indy full time now.  We’re really pleased with what we have in these Indy Pro 2000 cars.  We’ve been testing since December and we feel like we’ve got a good handle on these cars.  We’re in a good position to get out and win the championship.  We’re ready to build on our 2018 F3 Championship starting next week.”   

There are several key reasons for optimism in the Abel camp. None is more important than the team’s newest driver, 21-year-old Parker Thompson of Red Deer, Alberta, CA, last year’s Championship runner-up. Thompson won 3 Indy Pro 2000 events in 2018 and likes what he sees in Abel Motorsports.“It’s a fantastic group of people.They’re not new to winning, and I’m looking forward to working with them to succeed.Our deal is just for St. Pete right now; I had a second (place finish) there last year.We’ve been at the top of the time charts all weekend at the Homestead test, even though we’ve focused on getting ready for St. Pete.  The goal is to put Abel Motorsports on top of the box next week and turn this into a Championship run with these guys.”

Jacob Abel, who has made several starts in USF2000 on the Road to Indy, is equally optimistic.  “This car is a whole new animal for our group, in terms of speed, performance, and adjustability.   We’ve beefed up our engineering program, adding Doug Forker (from Team Pelfrey) as my engineer and that’s huge. And Parker is a great guy, really professional, a terrific driver and just as good a coach.  I think top fives next weekend are doable, even though it’ll be my first time on a temporary circuit.  It’ll be a great start to our year.”

Practice and qualifying for the opener are Thursday, March 7th, with Round 1 of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship taking place Friday afternoon, March 8, at 12:40 PM.

Championship Team Takes First Steps on "Road to Indy" For 2019

Kentucky-based team logs fast laps at Homestead in first official Pro Mazda test, meets media at Performance Racing Industry trade show

Top-tier open wheel development team Abel Motorsports of Louisville made its first full-time foray into Road to Indy action this week in South Florida and in Indianapolis, running its two Pro Mazda entries in the official Series test at Homestead Miami Speedway.   Days later the team formally announced its entry Into the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires Championship for 2019.

Team Principal Bill Abel was encouraged by the team’s strong showing at Homestead, and by the reception Abel Motorsports is receiving since confirming its move to Pro Mazda.   “We’ve really stepped up our effort to get ready for the 2019 season,” noted Abel. “The competition level and the professionalism of the series demand our best effort, which we’re prepared to give. We’ve made the commitment to buy two strong race cars, we’re staffing up, and our drivers will be ready to answer the challenge come March.”

While the team worked through some normal opening-day teething problems, their potential for success was obvious.  Abel Motorsports will field car number 51 for full-time driver Jacob Abel of Louisville, a high school senior who’s already found success in several open wheel series, including a top ten run at Road America last year in USF2000, and podium finishes in F3 Americas action.   “I have a lot to learn in these cars,” said Jacob, “but they’re a lot of fun, they’re fast, and they demand a lot from a driver.”

We’ll be ready to contend for podiums when the season kicks off.  I can’t wait.”

While the team’s second seat is not yet committed, three-time champion Kyle Kirkwood tested in the Abel #8 at Homestead.   Kirkwood had little trouble posting the fastest time Monday in limited action.  “Abel Motorsports is a great team”, indicated Kirkwood, who won 28 races in 32 starts in three different types of cars in 2018.  “I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing in 2019, but driving for Abel Motorsports in Pro Mazda would be great.   They’ll be ready to run up front for sure.”

Abel Motorsports officials are wrapping up the week by meeting key partners and motorsports media at the annual PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis, while making the formal announcement of their Pro Mazda plans.    

 

 

Champion Open Wheel Team Driving "Road To Indy" in '19

Louisville-based Squad Acquires Pair of Pro Mazda Machines, Enters IndyCar Ladder

Record-setting open wheel development team Abel Motorsports of Louisville, fresh off a stunning F3Americas debut season, will begin a new chapter in its growth for 2019.   Abel Motorsports (ABM) has acquired the Pro Mazda assets of championship-winning team Cape Motorsports, and will begin private testing this week with Jacob Abel of Louisville behind the wheel.

“This represents a major step forward in our development as a top-line racing organization,” stated team principal Bill Abel.  “We intend to make more progress in 2019, our third season as a professional open wheel team.   We’re coming off a sensational second year, with Kyle Kirkwood dominating F3Americas and us winning the team championship there.   Now, we’re ready to tackle the Road to Indy ladder in Pro Mazda.   It’s a tough series with lots of  strong teams and talented young drivers, but we’ve built the infrastructure on and off the track to allow us to succeed at that level and beyond.”

17-year-old Jacob Abel can’t wait to get started in Pro Mazda.  “I raced several times the past few seasons in USF2000, so I know how tough the Road to Indy series are.  After the success we had this past year in F3Americas, with my podium finishes in that car, I think we can be fast from the start.  It should be an awesome experience to race with IndyCar all year long.”

While plans for the team’s second Pro Mazda seat are not yet firm, ABM expects to bring another driver onboard who can also contend for wins and the season championship.  “We have some strong options for our second car,” Bill Abel noted.   “We’ve had inquiries from some terrific young drivers, and we’re still taking calls.  Our cars were among the strongest in the paddock in 2018.  And with our key team members in place, we know we can provide good young racers with the platform they’re seeking as they take the next step in their driving careers.”

ABM will continue off-season testing at the official Pro Mazda series test at Homestead Miami Speedway (FL) in early December.   The 2019 Pro Mazda season opens next March on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL, part of the season-opening event for the IndyCar Series.

Abel Motorsports Sweeps F3Americas' Closing Weekend at United States Grand Prix

Mission Accomplished for Dominant F3Americas Squad at COTA

Leading open wheel development team Abel Motorsports of Louisville, KY wrapped up their F3Americas Championship season in style this past weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, sweeping both F3 race wins and clinching the inaugural F3Americas Team Championship.   Driver Kyle Kirkwood won his 14th and 15th F3Americas races in 17 series events at COTA, closing his Championship year with an exclamation point.   Kirkwood’s teammate, teenager Jacob Abel of Louisville, put together a strong final weekend as well, finishing 6thand 4thin the two events.

“We had a great weekend,” team principal Bill Abel noted.   “We wanted to finish what we started, finish strong, and we did.   Kyle capped off a remarkable year with us, winning his third major championship within a year… winning both COTA races.  It was amazing.”    While Kirkwood had already locked up the Driver’s Championship in F3Americas, to go along with his 2017 F4US Championship and his 2018 USF2000 title, his two F3Americas wins at COTA gave him an incredible 27 wins in 31 starts across USF2000 and F3Americas.

That’s considered a modern-era record of dominance in open-wheel racing that may never be duplicated. 

And Jacob Abel continued to progress at COTA, on one of the biggest stages in racing.  “Jacob continued to learn, working with his driving coach Shelby Blackstock, and our whole team.  He just keeps getting better.   Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget this is only his second season racing cars, and he still has a lot to learn.  But he’s getting better all the time and I couldn’t be more pleased.   And watching Jacob work with Kyle, who’s just an incredible talent, you can see that’s really been a positive for both of them.”

Kirkwood won the F3Americas Championship by 129 points; Abel Motorsports took the Team Championship by 50 points, on the strength of Kirkwood’s title and Jacob Abel’s 4thPlace finish in the Championship.

Now, with their first Championships tucked away, the focus for Abel Motorsports turns to 2019.   Bill Abel commented, “we’re not quite ready to announce our plans as yet, but suffice it to say we’re going forward full bore, planning to challenge for more wins and championships.   We want to continue to work with young drivers who are hungry for success, and we want to keep giving Jacob Abel and other young racers who will drive for us the best possible platform to learn and grow behind the wheel as well as off-track.”