Myles Rowe Becomes First Black Driver to Win An Indycar Championship
On September 2, 2023, Myles Rowe, #99 Pabst Racing with Force Indy, became the first Black driver to win an INDYCAR-sanctioned championship. After starting the final race with a 64-point series lead, 23-year-old Rowe clinched the 2023 Cooper Tires USF PRO 2000 title at the Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon. With this USF Pro 2000 championship, Rowe will advance to the INDY NXT by Firestone series in 2024.
In the 2023 USF Pro 2000 series, Rowe accumulated more wins (five), pole positions (four), fastest laps (three), and podium finishes (seven) than any of his rivals. During last year’s USF 2000 Series Championship, Rowe placed runner-up, finishing within six points of the winner. Since age four, Atlanta native Myles Rowe has been fascinated with all things racing. He’s a past 2018 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series winner.
“This year was a test to see what I’ve got,” said Myles Rowe. “And luckily, I was able to pull it off.”
On December 3, 2020, Black Indianapolis business leader and team co-owner Rod Reid and Roger Penske, the owner of the most successful racing organization in history, announced the formation of the USF2000 race team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as part of the Race for Equality & Change diversity initiative. On August 29, 2021, Rowe became the Black driver to win an INDYCAR-sanctioned race at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
“When I first envisioned the Force Indy team, I saw it as a pipeline to create opportunities for black and brown talent. An opportunity to change the face of motorsports,” said Force Indy Team Principal and Co-owner Rod Reid. “I never imagined winning a championship nearly two years before we won our first race.”
Force Indy celebrates this historic moment by focusing on establishing a program that fuels opportunities for people of color – including drivers, crew members, and more – across the INDYCAR paddock. The goal for Force Indy is to open as many doors as possible for diverse representation and leadership in the motorsports world. Force Indy was founded as part of Penske Entertainment’s Race for Equality & Change initiative, launched in July 2020 to create fundamental change in the motorsports industry.
This championship win in the #99 continues Force Indy’s tribute to Dewey “Rajo Jack” Gatson, the Black racer denied entry in the Indy 500 in the 1930s and 40s. Rowe drove the red rear-winged USFPro2000 car to victory in honor of the Red-Tailed 99th Squadron of the Tuskegee Airman.
Learn more at ForceIndy.com
This news first appeared on blacknews.com