By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
INDIANAPOLIS – Dean Stoneman isn’t a name readily familiar to most American racing fans, but he is on a mission to change that. The latest turn in his long and difficult journey to racing success first came with victory in Indy Lights race two at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course during the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy weekend. It took an even more dramatic turn today when he won the Freedom 100 over Ed Jones by 0.0024 of a second for the closest finish in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history.
Stoneman drives the No. 27 Stellrecht Mazda for Andretti Autosport in the premier level of the Mazda Road to Indy.
His back to back victories are his first in the series, Andretti’s first wins of the season and the combination’s fourth podium in a row.
Stoneman is new to the American scene for 2016, but he is hardly a stranger to open wheel racing. Six years ago he had a promising career in Europe, he won the 2010 FIA Formula 2 championship with 6 victories and competed in Formula Renault 3.5 before he was sidelined with a diagnosis of testicular cancer. His promising career had been instantly cast in doubt and he disappeared from the racing scene.
Stoneman beat the cancer and triumphantly returned to racing in 2013, he started small with Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, but the skill was still there. By 2014 he was racing in GP3 where he scored five victories and finished second in the championship. In 2015 he moved up to Formula Renault 3.5 again, with Red Bull backing and also raced in the final three GP2 races of the year for stalwart team Carlin.
Heading into 2016 he made the bold choice to come to America and convinced Michael Andretti to take a big chance on him. When Andretti signed the Englishman for Indy Lights they were taking a gamble, but a gamble that would soon pay off with Stoneman’s back to back wins at Indy.
That last lap it was close….but I knew in the race that I could get to the line and position my car to finish the race in the lead. – Dean Stoneman
Speaking to Stoneman you realize he doesn’t want sympathy, in his mind the fairy-tale ending has not yet arrived. He is calm, confident and doesn’t mince words. He is serious about his racecraft, proving his talent, finding vindication and earning his second chance at the big leagues.
Stoneman is now fourth in the Indy Lights standings with 10 rounds remaining, just behind leader Ed Jones, Santiago Urrutia and Kyle Kaiser. With his back to back wins, Stoneman has blown the championship open wide and is now set to ride a tide of momentum buoyed by all the fans he won over today.
Image: MIKE YOUNG/INDYCAR