ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. (October 13, 2021) – Earlier this year, Roger Penske stated he wanted the Force Indy team to develop a black driver capable of qualifying for the Indy 500 no later than 2024. Well, Force Indy has made a significant move in possibly crushing that timeline.
Force Indy is a race team explicitly created to develop talent with a diverse group of individuals, outside and inside the cockpit. The foundation of Force Indy is the racing background of Team Principal Rod Reid and a mentorship alliance with Team Penske—one of the most successful teams in motorsports history.
Rod Reid has plans to move up from USF2000 into Indy Lights in 2022. Indy Lights is the third and final step on the road to Indy Car and racing in the Indianapolis 500. He is considering the help of seven-time Trans-Am series champion and SRX race-winner Ernie Francis Jr.
2021 was Force Indy’s inaugural season and featured Myles Rowe behind the #99 USF2000 car. The #99 is a tribute to Rajo Jack, who is known as one of the first black racers in America. Jack won races up and down the West Coast of the United States in stock cars, midgets, big cars, and motorcycles.
While final decisions have yet to be made, Ernie Francis Jr., who is Black, could race in Indy Lights in 2022 for Force Indy. If Francis Jr. makes the jump to the Indy 500, it will be the 1st time a black driver has qualified in almost two decades. The last person was George Mack in 2002.
-Christopher Harris | Co-Founder |African American Racers Association