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From Champion to Champion: Advice for Kyle Kaiser

By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer

After winning the 2017 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, Kyle Kaiser and Juncos Racing announced a four race partnership for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season that could include more races if more of a budget were found.

This was possible thanks to a scholarship presented to the Indy Lights champion valued at $1 million and other Indy Lights champions have used that to make their IndyCar debuts.

But what advice would past champions give to Kaiser about moving up to IndyCar? Well, Motorsports Tribune asked a couple of former Indy Lights champions that very question and here’s how they responded.

Ed Jones, 2016 Indy Lights Champion with Carlin:

“The main thing is it’s a lot of hard work to make the transition and doing everything you can especially in the winter months after the season is that you’ve really got to build up your fitness a lot more because that’s the big difference for the Indy cars,” said Jones, who recently signed with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive their No. 10 Honda.

“I feel that’s the key time to do most of the work so that January you start testing, you’re already kind of there and I don’t know the situation with teams but you want to try and get as many races for your first season as possible because the more you do, the more you’re going to learn and the more opportunity there is to do well so it’s trying to find a good place to go for your first season and find a good team around you to progress.”

Spencer Pigot 2015 Indy Lights Champion with Juncos Racing:

“He needs to learn as much as he can by the people he is surrounded by, regardless of which team he ends up with,” said Pigot, who is driving full time for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2018 after driving for them on a part time basis in 2016 and 2017.

“There are so many new things, it’s important to be open and willing to take advice from everyone – the engineers, mechanics, driver coach – that have more experience in Indy car racing.”

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.