The new Race for Equality & Change program initiated by the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take its first steps next week when young African-American open-wheel driver Myles Rowe heads to the IMS road course for a test.
Rowe, who was identified by Team Penske’s Will Power as a driver with considerable potential, will climb into a Cape Motorsports USF2000 entry on Monday, and have the 2018 Indy 500 winner in attendance to assist with the test. With an extensive background in karting, Rowe made the transition to cars a few years ago in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series, and completed a USF2000 test for the former John Cummiskey Racing team before running out of funding.
Having seen Rowe compete at karting events near his home in North Carolina, Power was intrigued by his talent and struck up a friendship and mentorship with the budding race driver. Through his new Will Power Kart company, the 2014 IndyCar Series champion recently shared a day at the track with Rowe, and despite being sidelined for the last two years, Rowe was able to set a time that Power could match, but not exceed.
Power, by coincidence, had been working on a similar diversity-based driver initiative with WKP, since the beginning of the year, and with the formation of the RE&C initiative, both parties found a common starting point with Rowe.
“We want to back up what we announced in our release on the Race for Equality & Change,” Penske told RACER. “Through Will Power, and his interest in bringing young people through karts, Myles Rowe will test next week, and Will’s very high on him. This is a progression of NextGeneracers (ED: a 501c3 that introduces minority students to the world of motorsports), and Will was able to bring him to us.”
While Rowe will have the distinction of being the first driver to take part in the RE&C program, Penske is motivated to grow the driver development side of the initiative well beyond a single candidate.
“He won’t be the only one we’ll test,” he said “It started with Will, and I could make it happen. And if the kid looks like he has something to work with, we’ll take it to the next step. This is a movement that has to take place and we can make a difference. Look at Lewis Hamilton. He got into the right situation, and look where he is today. Maybe there’s a Lewis Hamilton we can get into IndyCar.”