Signing an IndyCar outfit in left field might surprise (again).


Dale Coyne Racing may have had a reputation over the years for backing drivers of questionable ability, but recent decisions included a driver who took a year with the team before becoming a series champion, a former Formula One driver, who rose to the top immediately and a star rookie who is now coveted by the top teams in the series.

That means that these days you have to be on the lookout and watch out for all the right reasons when signing a driver.

Sting Ray Robb may feel like a Coyne left field name from the past, but he has all the ingredients to impress as his newer generation of drivers have.

The American’s name is an obvious starting point for our interview. Is it short Sting? Beam? Where does it come from?

“Sting Ray is my full first name so I usually use that name and people usually call me that, but I also have a lot of nicknames just from my buddies who make fun of me or whatever.” tells The Race in an exclusive interview shortly after the news that he will be driving the #51 car co-owned by Rick Ware Racing for Coyne.

“One of my best friends, he calls me ‘Swordfish’ why not? All my stepbrothers call me “Jelly”, short for jellyfish. So it’s just a little bit of fun for them to poke me and fool around.

“The story goes that my parents were both big Corvette fans, so they decided to name me after the Stingray Corvette.

“But the longer story is that the paternal side of the family heritage is from Stirlingshire in Scotland. Sting is actually the abbreviation for Stirling.

“Both of my grandfathers had Ray in their names, one of them was her first name, one was her middle name, so we took all of that and combined it.”

Sting Ray Robb and Hunter Mcelrea Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix by James Black Unwatermarked reference image M68019

Away from the track, the 21-year-old Idaho rider can be found hunting, skiing and indoor climbing, and while some young riders fight for their hobbies, it’s clear how much Robb can pack into a day with a brain that doesn’t stop working, or a work ethic that doesn’t falter either. That’ll make him a hit with Coyne.

Trying to predict how he will fare in IndyCar is difficult. He follows the likes of Kyle Kirkwood and Rinus VeeKay as the Indy Pro 2000 champion – Robb won it in 2020 – but failed to win Indy Lights in two attempts, which is usually a black mark on the record.

However, don’t judge him too harshly. Colton Herta hasn’t won Lights in two attempts and he’s constantly linked with an F1 future, and Juncos – where Robb was in his rookie year – wasn’t ready at the time to compete with series leaders HMD and Andretti.

Driver Robb will also join in 2023, David Malukas also completed two seasons in Lights and finished second in his final season with HMD as Robb did last year after a move to Andretti, and Malukas was a huge IndyCar success.

Malukas has already been tapped for the future by some of the biggest IndyCar teams, and if anything, Robb’s junior single-seater resume is more impressive than Malukas’.

“Because Dale Coyne is a smaller team, I think it allows me to be more involved and see what’s going on behind the scenes and get to know the industry a little bit better and more intimately,†says Robb.

“And I think it also allows them to adapt and change direction faster than someone like a Ganassi or Penske or Andretti, where they can kind of get lost in their resources.

David Maluka's Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey By James Black Unwatermarked reference image M70695

“I think that’s why they’re such a strong team.

“I think that’s why David did so well because they were able to adapt and change and improve from weekend to weekend and get out on track like everyone else.

“It just depends on how consistently they will strike.

“It was cool to see David doing so well and it gives me hope. It makes sense that I can do this too.â€‌

Following a recent trend from drivers, Robb really enjoyed driving the IndyCar as it is basically a more powerful but much more forgiving machine than the one used in Indy Lights.

On the plus side, conquering the near-rally driving style required for the Indy Lights car is great preparation for an IndyCar, but on the other hand, it’s an extreme style that some drivers in Indy Lights struggle with , although they’d do well in an IndyCar.

Robb really benefited from the experience and impressed in his recent Coyne test.

“I think the Indy Lights car sets us up well for IndyCar,” he says.

Sting Ray Robb Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix by Joe Skibinski Unwatermarked reference image M67499

“The first test I had was in Mid Ohio last July with Andretti, I only had half a day there.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is an Indy Lights car that does what you want.’

“In the Lights car it is a bit unreasonable to drive sometimes because it is very difficult and quite physical.

“It is a very good prep car to prepare for an IndyCar because once you are in IndyCar you have so many tools to play with. When it comes to dampers, whatever else you can do to make them do what you want them to.

“So it felt more natural for me to drive the IndyCar than it did in the Indy Lights car and I think that’s why I did so well on the test, just because it’s like, ‘Oh , yes, that’s where I want to be, this is where I feel good.

“Obviously the speeds and everything are higher and I’m sure it will be a different story once I get to the ovals.

“But at least in Sebring I felt very comfortable and safe with the car. So I would say it suits my driving style.â€‌

Using Malukas as a template makes the prospect of Robb coming to IndyCar really exciting.

Coyne has developed into a team that, while not consistently able to compete with the bigger teams, is capable of producing strong results and impressing young riders.

Takuma Sato struggled to integrate into the team last year considering the results and that he was behind Malukas in points. Giving Robb the chance is certainly a more beneficial decision for the team.

It appears that Coyne is a great place for new and/or young drivers to join IndyCar and Robb is the next exciting test of that trend.





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