In a groundbreaking moment for motorsports, Myles Rowe, racing under the banner of Force Indy and Pabst Racing, etched his name on racing history by becoming the first Black driver to win an INDYCAR-sanctioned championship. The 23-year-old racing prodigy clinched the 2023 Cooper Tires USF PRO 2000 title at the prestigious Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon, solidifying his status as a rising star in the racing world. Rowe’s remarkable journey towards this historic victory began when Black Indianapolis business leader Rod Reid and racing legend Roger Penske, the brains behind the most successful racing organization in history, joined forces to create the USF2000 race team. This move was part of the Race for Equality & Change diversity initiative, aimed at inclusivity and diversity within the motorsports industry. Their vision was to provide opportunities to people of color across the INDYCAR paddock, from drivers to crew members.
On August 29, 2021, Rowe took a giant step towards realizing this dream when he became the first Black driver to secure victory in an INDYCAR-sanctioned race at New Jersey Motorsports Park during the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. This historic win sent shockwaves throughout the motorsports community and emphasized the importance of initiatives like Force Indy in breaking down long-standing barriers. The 2023 season, which saw Rowe start the final race with a commanding 64-point lead, was a testament to his exceptional talent and determination. With the championship secured, Rowe is now set to advance to the INDY NXT by Firestone series in 2024, marking the next step in his promising career.
Myles Rowe’s triumph is a personal milestone and a great move to the transformative power of initiatives like Force Indy and the Race for Equality & Change. It underscores the need for more excellent representation and leadership diversity in motorsports and inspires aspiring drivers from underrepresented backgrounds who dare to dream big. As Rowe said, “This year was a test to see what I’ve got, and luckily, I was able to pull it off.” His achievement paves the way for a more inclusive and vibrant future for INDYCAR racing, where talent knows no boundaries and champions come in all colors and backgrounds.
Photo credit “RoadandTrack.com”