Andretti Autosport Indy Lights driver Ryan Norman is working on a graduation plan that would take the Ohio native from the Road To Indy to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2020.
“We’re definitely working towards that for next year,” he said. “I don’t know if that would be a full program. I’m just trying to put something together for next year. Obviously, we’re looking for sponsorship still, and starting to have conversations with everyone that we can. So we’re at the beginning stages of course, but that’s our goal.”
Holding third in the championship with seven races left to run, the 21-year-old has used Indy Lights as the primary series to learn his trade. Unlike teammates Oliver Askew and Robert Megennis, whose lives have been filled with open-wheel racing, Norman’s path to Andretti’s outfit has been the opposite of traditional.
A youth spent in motocross competition meant Norman’s transition from two wheels to four came much later than his rivals, and rather than spending three or four years on the lower rungs of the Road To Indy, Norman used two seasons of club racing, including time spent in a Formula Atlantic car, as preparation for the big leap into pro-grade competition with Indy Lights.
Where Indy Lights has been akin to a finishing school for aspiring IndyCar drivers, Norman’s approach has bundled some of the hardest lessons – and even the basic ones – in deep waters. With an oval win last year and a road course win last month, the plan is starting to pay off.
“Coming into lights three years ago, I had pretty much barely any experience, to be honest,” he said. “Obviously, we had a long-term goal of doing two to three years just getting the experience up and learning everything. And the Road To Indy has definitely helped that with being able to be at the same race weekends and tracks [as IndyCar].”
“Being able to, especially with Andretti Autosport, being able to work with their IndyCar guys, and have Michael on the team is a huge help as well. So just really just surrounding myself with a whole bunch of experience and just trying to gain that over the past couple of years.”
Having completed a successful first IndyCar test in late June with the Andretti team at Mid-Ohio, Norman is making the necessary steps for 2020. With consistent sponsorship on display with his No. 48 Andretti Indy Lights car, his chances of finding a seat in the big series, even on a part-time basis, are strong. Where he’d land is the greatest question left to be answered.