African American-led group to compete in USF2000
African American business leader and former team manager Rod Reid has announced the formation of Force Indy, a race team set to compete in the 2021 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
Force Indy team principal Reid brings years of karting and auto racing experience and a recently expanded relationship with NXG Youth Motorsports Inc., which has introduced more than 2,300 students from under-represented communities, ages 11 to 15, to the educational benefits of the sport.
Force Indy’s race team will focus on hiring and developing Black American men and women mechanics, engineers, staffers and drivers.
“I started a race team in 1984, and I have always had a desire to have a team of talented individuals who look like me in the professional ranks of the sport,” Reid said. “I have been in and around the sport for 40 years, and this is just the culmination of years of hard work. I simply cannot wait to see this race team on the track this spring.”
The Force Indy announcement includes a mentorship Team Penske and will be based in Concord, NC as it receives guidance from Roger Penske’s key personnel.
“When the IMS and IndyCar acquisition happened a year ago, I was pleased to learn of the work Rod Reid was doing,” said Penske. “To lend our support to an effort like this is a natural. Together, we’ll work to not only get this new team off the ground but continue to support it and its mission as it continues down a path to compete at the top level.”
Force Indy’s USF2000 debut will come at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 5-7, 2021. The team will run #99 in honor of the late Dewey “Rajo Jack” Gatson, an African American driver/mechanic who used the number toward the end of his career in 1951.
Overall, the initiative is part of a broader picture in the IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Race for Equality & Change,” announced in July. The goals include recruiting and developing a diverse workforce throughout all levels of IndyCar and IMS, ultimately creating a community that fundamentally transforms the sport.
“We are fortunate to have Team Penske offer guidance and race-winning experience,” Reid said. “Roger’s experience will be an invaluable resource in creating a successful organization. There’s no better time than now to start a team.”
"Rod is a passionate leader and talented team builder who has demonstrated a fundamental commitment to equality and opportunity in our sport,” IMS president J. Douglas Boles said.
“IMS has been privileged to be a partner with Rod and NXG for more than a decade, and we know he’ll bring the same commitment and drive for excellence to Force Indy.”
Sponsorship and driver for Force Indy’s inaugural season will be announced at a later date.
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