For the first time ever, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competitors took to the Streets of Nashville for the second annual Music City Grand Prix. Racing around a tight street circuit adjacent to the Nissan Stadium, James Roe, a new face amongst the HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing driver lineup this past weekend, began his race weekend in a new car. Ready to gain championship points, Roe ended his first event weekend with the team in heartbreak.
Picking up speed in practice Friday and Saturday morning, Roe was coming to grips with a new car, team, engineer, and crew but was on track to qualify well within the top-ten of the field. Just as it was time for the Indy Lights drivers to head on course for qualifying, a heavy thunderstorm rolled in, postponing the session. Due to a strict race weekend schedule, ongoing lightning in and around the area, and a tight competition window, officials decided to set the grid starting positions based on the current championship standings, leaving Roe to start from the inside of the fifth row in ninth.
“I feel we had a fast car and the first practice I was just trying to learn everything and keep it off the wall. The handling characteristics between the last car I drove, and this car are quite different, so it was an adjustment process,” explained Roe. “It is disappointing that qualifying was scrubbed as I feel with the progression that we made through practice and the confidence I was building behind the wheel, we could have been a little further up the grid, but we’ll take ninth for the start tomorrow and work our way from there.”
Ready to roll with no rain clouds in sight on Sunday morning, Roe began the second annual Music City Grand Prix without a hitch and held the position throughout the opening laps. Running consistent lap times comparable to drivers battling in front of him, Roe ran into an issue on lap twenty due to no fault of his own.
Roe added, “I was comfortable out there and then we just lost power on the low end. Unfortunately, a broken boost pressure hose clamp is what ruined our day, but I am thankful for the opportunity to race with such a program. A huge thanks to all the guys at HMD Motorsports. It has been hard to catch a break recently, but we don’t give up. Onto the next.”
Next up for James Roe will be a trip to World Wide Technology Raceway this coming Friday for an Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires test. Qualifying in the pole position for last year’s Indy Pro 2000 race at the same venue, Roe hopes that knowledge of the facility and confidence from his 2021 efforts will help elevate him above his peers.
For more information on James Roe and his 2022 racing program, or information on how to join his growing partner list, please contact James at JamesJr@JamesRoeJr.com or visit him online at JamesRoeJr.com. Also, be sure to follow James via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Indy Lights is an American developmental automobile racing series sanctioned by INDYCAR, currently known as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for sponsorship reasons. Indy Lights is the highest step on the Road to Indy, a program of racing series leading up to the INDYCAR Series. In 2022, the Indy Lights series will be operated and promoted by the NTT INDYCAR Series and Penske Entertainment.
About: James Roe Jr.
James Roe is one of Ireland’s top racing drivers. Hailing from Ireland but now based in the United States, the 23-year-old has enjoyed success in every series he has competed in to date. A winner in the FR Americas Powered by Honda Championship as well as a victor in the F2000 Championship and the Indy Pro 2000 Championship, Roe will level up to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2022 with HMD Motorsports as he climbs his way to the upper echelon of open wheel racing in North America.
Photo Credit: Dream Digital Media