Granfors charged up for oval debut
 May 25, 2023| 
  • Team News
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Joel Granfors will hit another milestone in his American motorsport career this week as he undertakes his first-ever oval race, joining the festivities in Indianapolis surrounding the Indy 500.
 
Granfors enters the weekend, round four of the USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires championship, brimming with confidence following his remarkable comeback drive to victory last time out at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – scoring the first win of the season for himself and for his team, Exclusive Autosport.
 
Now, a new challenge awaits in Indianapolis; this time a short drive away from the IMS venue, which centers on the Indy 500 this weekend. Action for Granfors and USF Pro 2000 instead plays out at the nearby Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, which is staging the sole oval race of the year on Friday night.
 
“This will be a special weekend in many ways,” says Granfors. “First, it’s my debut oval race, so quite a big moment in my career. Second, we’ve got the Indy 500 vibe running across the city. Adding to all that, I arrive on the back of my first win in the championship and in the USA, so there’s plenty to be excited about right now.”
 
At just 0.686 miles (1.1 km), Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park is a so-called “short oval”, offering great views for spectators who can see the entire track. It also promotes close racing, with traffic management being a major factor as the leaders catch the tail end of the field early on for lapping.
 
“We had a test at Lucas Oil about a month ago, which was my first time ever on an oval,” Granfors explains. “It went well. I got into it very quickly and felt comfortable straight away. Going fast was not an issue. Having said that, I do expect the race itself to be a little bit different. I still have zero experience of running in the pack, aero wash and all of that. I have plenty to learn this weekend, but it will be a lot of fun.”

Granfors currently sits fourth in the USF Pro 2000 standings, 44 points behind leader Myles Rowe. As the solitary oval event on the schedule, this weekend’s race will pay out more points than usual, with 45 to the winner instead of 30. 
 
There is only one race this weekend: the USF Pro 2000 Freedom 90 on Friday night. Practice and qualifying take place on Thursday.
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