The Indy Lights Series was raced from 1986 through 2001 and served as a developmental circuit for CART. Just like CART, it was an open-wheeled racing series. It was originally named the American Racing Series (ARS), but it was renamed a few years later, in 1991, to Indy Lights. Due to financial difficulties with the CART series, this minor league was canceled in 2001. By this time, Toyota Atlantic had gained in popularity and was able to fill the void when the Indy Lights Series ended.
The Current Indy Lights racing series began racing in 2002 and was founded by the Indy Racing League. It is a spec series using a modified version of the 3.5-liter V8 engine found in the Infiniti Q45. The 420 horsepower is housed in a Dallara chassis.
The series began to gain popularity in the mid-2000s, partly due to the addition of many road-courses. A boost in prize money in 2006 attracted even more interest.
From 2002 through 2006 the series was called the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. At the time, it was known as the Indy Pro Series. In 2008, it became known as Firestone Indy Lights.