By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Team Pelfrey announced on Thursday that they are moving their programs in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda to Indianapolis.
The teams will be housed at TKM, Inc. under Thomas Knapp’s management and this move signifies a major shift in the home of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires as it marks the continuation of a trend.
Many teams in the MRTI are or have been based in Florida, but Team Pelfrey’s announcement means that only three teams are now left in The Sunshine State: Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, JAY Motorsports and Benik-Carlin. Notably, all three are based around racing in USF2000.
Team Pelfrey is the second team to move to Indianapolis in the last few years. Juncos Racing moved to Indiana in 2011 from Florida, having been there since its founding in 2003.
This exodus from Florida to Indiana could make The Hoosier State the next “capital” of the MRTI. With Belardi Auto Racing, Andretti Autosport, Juncos Racing, Chastain Motorsports and John Cummiskey Racing, Indiana is starting to become the new home of the junior open wheel racing industry in America.
This trend could have good implications for teams wanting to move up in the MRTI as well. Carl Haas Auto Imports handles importing the Tatuus-built USF-17 cars and will deal with the PM-18s as well, so by moving to Indiana, teams can get their cars quicker than having them shipped to Florida.
It may only be a small reason for moving, but any additional time to learn their cars is certainly an added bonus.