Carlin Return Boosts Indy Lights; Bill Marvel, USAC , IMS Icon

Carlin Racing will field two cars on the Indy Lights grid in 2021, marking a return to the series in which the team began its journey into Indycar. Carlin first entered Indy Lights with drivers Max Chilton and Ed Jones. The goal was to move into Indycar while maintaining an Indy Lights program for driver development. Carlin’s return gives a little more prestige to the series and insures that the the 2021 field will have more than 10 cars. The official release:

Carlin return to Indy Lights with Peroni

Alex Peroni

2016 Indy Lights Champions Carlin will re-join the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series for the 2021 season with former FIA F3 driver Alex Peroni. The Anglo-American team are joining forces with the Australian born racer as he makes his debut in US racing.

21-year-old Peroni comes to the US having raced in the FIA Formula 3 Championship in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.  Peroni missed the final round of the 2019 season following a horrific crash at Monza but came back strong in 2020 to claim three podium finishes and two fastest laps to take 10th in the standings in the 30-car field.

Carlin return to Indy Lights with a two car team following two years out of the series as the team became established in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.  Working in conjunction with former Indy car driver and Indy Lights champion Jay Howard, the Carlin team will also serve as the top rung of Jay Howard’s Driver Development (JHDD) and will be based out of Carlin’s US base in Delray Beach, Florida and run alongside the team’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES operation.

“I’m seriously pumped to be joining the 2021 Indy Lights field and to be doing it with a team such as Carlin who I know have been successful in the series before and of course I know well from Europe,” said Peroni. “I’m so thankful to Blundstone and the state of Tasmania for their continued support and for allowing me to follow my dream.

“No doubt there will be a lot to learn in terms of both the car and the different circuits, but I am absolutely ready for the challenge and know I will have a great team behind me to bring me up to speed.”

Speaking about the team’s newest signing, Trevor Carlin said, “We’re really excited to be back in Indy Lights having been so successful in the series in the past. It’s a fantastic series to prepare drivers for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and it was always our aim to return to the junior formula once we had become more settled in INDYCAR.

“We’re very proud that Alex and his sponsors have chosen Carlin as the team to take his first steps into US racing.  We know having raced against him in the immensely competitive FIA Formula 3 Championship what he is capable of and I can’t wait to see his potential evolve in the Indy Lights field.”

Photo, John Mahoney, USAC

Bill Marvel, longtime IMS public relations, died last night at the age of 90. I have never known the Speedway without Bill Marvel being a part of it. USAC, where Bill had several positions and was one of the founding members, released his obituary Sunday evening:

BILL MARVEL PASSES AWAY AT 90

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (December 20, 2020)………They broke the mold when they made Bill Marvel.

There have been few individuals who achieved as much in as many different realms in their lives and did so with as much passion and dedication from start to finish than did Bill Marvel, who passed away Sunday evening, December 20, 2020, at the age of 90 years old.

From the day of his birth to his last breath, Marvel was one a of a kind.  With an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, his contributions to the sports world and the subsequent impact he’s made on others, are the kind of which that will be forever admired.

Marvel, a charter member of the United States Auto Club, was there on the scene of the very first USAC event ever held, a National Midget race on January 8, 1956 at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind.  Marvel was on hand to greet feature winner Gene Hartley in victory lane with a Hoosier Auto Racing Fans jacket, an organization of which he was the president of at the time.

With USAC, he has served in the official capacities as a Corporate Advisor from 1978-1982 as well as a Vice President/Corporate Affairs from 1983-1997.  Marvel dedicated much of his life to assisting injured drivers in need of financial aid through the USAC Benevolent Foundation as the Executive Director.

In 1997, Marvel was presented the Ross Hadley Achievement Award for his dedication to the United States Auto Club and the sport of auto racing.  In 2014, Marvel was the recipient of the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, presented annually by the President of USAC in memory of USAC Executive Vice President and former champion driver Roger McCluskey, recognizing the standards of excellence he set in the sport of auto racing.

Born on June 21, 1930, Marvel graduated from Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, Ind., class of 1948, then set forth on serving his country as a United States Marine between 1948-1955 with active duty for three years between 1950-1952 in the Korean War.

Following his honorable discharge from the military, Marvel set forth on a 60-plus year journey in management, public relations, editing, publishing (magazine and newspaper), radio, public address, television announcing, retail sales, marketing and sales.

Marvel was the News Media Liaison Officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between 1953 and 1967 and was an Off-Track Coordinator for major accessory companies.

Marvel was there at the introduction of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway in 1969 in the role of General Manager & Director of Public Relations, as well as the General Manager for Texas World Speedway, New Jersey’s Trenton Speedway, the World Series of Auto Racing, plus the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Indiana’s Winchester Speedway, where he was also on the track’s Public Address system as an announcer.

His media prowess expanded to all aspects as he was the Editor & Publisher of Charger Auto Racing News, the National Racing Editor of U.S. Auto Sports Magazine and the Midwest Racing Editor for National Speed Sport News.  On the radio, he was an auto racing reporter for WIBC in Indianapolis as well as the Color Commentator & Coordinator for Indianapolis 500 activities on WISH-TV in Indianapolis.

Marvel also had his hand in the movie business as a consultant with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward for the 1969 racing movie, “Winning,” starring Hollywood heavyweights Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner.

In addition to his racing duties, Marvel was the Sports Information Director for Butler University and served as the Director of Public Relations for the Indiana Pacers during their ABA and NBA days during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s.  He served in the same role for the World Hockey Association’s Indianapolis Racers during the 1970s, the team best known as the first professional stop for future NHL greats and Hockey Hall of Fame players Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

Marvel was also in charge of Marketing & Sales for the Indiana Loves, a charter franchise in World Team Tennis.

He was Director of Public Relations for the sports management and public relations firm, Sports Headliners, where he represented such racing figures as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Jackie Stewart, Rodger Ward, Billy Vukovich, Roger McCluskey, Graham Hill, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Jim Clark, as well as NFL Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and O.J. Simpson.

In addition, he also was the Director of Special Events for the Houston Astrodome where, among his duties, he organized the driver lineup and the marketing of the mega USAC Midget events inside the building known as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” beginning in 1969.

He was the President of Marvel-ous Racing Promotions and had a tenure as the President of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and also coordinated public relations and publicity for three-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Johnny Rutherford during his successful relationship with the Gatorade/McLaren Racing Team in the 1970s.

A man of many talents, and boundless motivation to succeed, Marvel also found time to own and operate his own personal business, Bill’s Unclaimed Freight, in which he too served as President.

While Bill had a brief race driving career in his younger days, his sons Brad and Billy Marvel Jr. were talented wheelmen in their own right.  Brad Marvel won a USAC National Sprint Car feature event at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in 1996 during Indiana Sprint Week while Billy Jr. was just beginning his sprint car career when he tragically lost his life in an accident at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind. in 1983.  An award in Billy Jr.’s memory is still presented to this day by HARF to the top “first year driver” in the state of Indiana each season.  Bill’s grandson, and Brad’s son, Justin Marvel, was the victor of a USAC National Sprint Car feature at New York’s Canandaigua Speedway in 2006.

An inductee of both the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Hall of Fame and the National Association of Auto Racing Fans, Bill has been honored with the Tom Carnegie Legacy Award from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club; the Angelo Angelopoulos Memorial Award by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association; the Unsung Hero Award presented by Andy Granatelli at the Indy 500; the Indy 500 Old Timers Club Officials Award; the Bob Russo Founders Award from AARWBA; and the Louis Meyer Award for individuals who have contributed significantly to the success of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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