By Dalton Kellett, Driver Columnist
Providing an inside look for the fans, Dalton Kellett will be contributing to Motorsports Tribune selectively throughout the 2017 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season. For his opening column, the 23-year-old Canadian will talk about taking the role as a veteran at Andretti Autosport and some of his plans during a long break before preparing for the April 21-23 doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park.
I think one of the big things for me going through my time in Mazda Road to Indy has been for the first four years, two in USF2000 and two in Pro Mazda, was in that time before my first Lights season I was going through school. I was an engineering student at the same time. The balance between racing and going to college was pretty tough. So as far as my development as a driver, I think since I’ve graduated and now I am 100% focused on racing that I am back on the upswing. I’m learning at a much quicker rate now and I think that is showing with our pace on track too.
Being the veteran on the team is definitely a big switch this season. Last year, we had three very headstrong guys on the team in Shelby Blackstock, Dean Stoneman and myself, and we all worked really well together, but having four versus three cars is definitely a plus. I may be the most experienced as far as Indy Lights, but the three teammates I’ve got in Colton Herta, Nico Jamin and Ryan Norman have very diverse backgrounds and good experience.
It’s overall a very strong program; we just saw Colton finish with a first and second at St. Petersburg. I think where my experience will really help is the ovals, like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where I finished third in the Freedom 100 last season. I have a fair amount of laps on the two of them (Herta, Norman) but together, the team collaborates well.
We’re definitely kicking it in full gear during this break as far as training goes, but that’s not fun all the time. I’m planning to go to Long Beach for the IndyCar race, maybe even go out a little bit early and do some rock climbing. Myself and one of the other drivers that competed in Indy Lights last season, Zach Veach, we’re pretty into rock climbing. So we might go down to Joshua Tree National Park and do a few days of climbing there and then go watch the IndyCar race.
That’ll probably be the only excursion I do between the break. The rest of the break I’ll do some simulator training. I might go home for Easter, but I may have some testing that weekend so I’m not sure.