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How to break into the IndyCar Industry

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 20, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — IndyCar drivers prepare for the Indy 500, but how do they even get to this level of racing?

"Maybe people don't realize it, but I started racing when I was eight to nine years old in Go Karts," Spencer Pigot, IndyCar driver, said.

Through karting, Pigot learned about understeering, oversteering, and how to make the kart go fast.

You can do this at training facilities like SI Karting in Speedway. Once you've mastered that, then you move to cars.

"The first cars I started driving were only 115 mph, and as you get older you start driving bigger and faster cars," Pigot said. 'Until one day, hopefully, you make it up to IndyCar, where we're going more than 230 mph."

Twenty-three drivers in this year's Indy 500 are from the 'Road to Indy' program, where they compete in USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and then Indy Lights.

"The ladder support system and the prize money over here for the champion is something that's really attractive and draws a lot of talent," Pigot said.

Once you're in the program, you find sponsors and hope a team picks you. Rookie driver, Jack Harvey, says to remember why you want to race.

"I think we all start off with the same dream, I wanted to go fast and be a race car driver," Harvey said. "I haven't lost that along the way; that's what I encourage people to do."

If you're the Indy Lights champion, you automatically get to try for the Indy 500, like Patricio O'Ward has, although bumped. O'Ward says you need to be mentally prepared for the highs and lows of racing.

"You know, after even some hard times, you go back, and you say, 'I'm having fun.' If you're doing this and not having fun then you're not doing this for the right reasons," O'Ward said.

In the front row on the grid for the Indy 500, Pigot says to follow your dreams just like he's doing on the track.

"It's a dream come true to be here racing in Indy, and obviously the next dream is to be the winner," Pigot said.