By: Ashley McCubbin
When the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship partakes in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend, a new team will be on the grid. African American business leader and former team manager Rod Reid formed Force Indy, which builds upon INDYCAR’s “Race for Equality & Change.” Receiving mentorship from Team Penske, their goals include recruiting and developing a diverse workforce in their search for success.
The goals will continue behind the wheel, with Georgia native Myles Rowe named as the driver following success in the karting ranks. The 20-year-old recently talked about his goals and aspirations, and more with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into the upcoming season?
MYLES ROWE: My thoughts on the upcoming season – I’m hopeful and I’m really excited for the traveling and the people that are on the team; it’s a great group of individuals on the team. It’s going to be pretty special. These guys have more a friendship than a co-worker kind of relationship and we really care about each individual on the program like they’re one of our best friends. It’s really unique and it’s great to be sharing and progressing and learning each week with these people.
ASHLEY: You’re coming off the recent test at Barber Motorsports Park last week. How did things go?
MYLES: Things went well. They were very positive. I can look at times and things like that, but I’m happy with our progression especially being our around our competition for the first time. We learned a lot about the track and learned a little bit more about the car, like how to get certain things out of the car, elevation changes, gear ratios and how that applies. There’s a load of things I learned that I feel will help me that I think were positive for the year ahead.
ASHLEY: Now that you’ve got some laps under your belt, what are your goals and expectations for the year ahead?
MYLES: My goals are to just progress, to learn, and just be in the moment as much as I can and try to execute the best that I can. I tend to be the type of person who tries to over achieve and set expectations a little higher than maybe I can to achieve. So the goal is to learn as much as I can so in the end, when those opportunities come, I know I’ve done everything that I could to get to where I am and the next step is just improving from there. That’s all I can do and I think we’ll be very good at that.
ASHLEY: What track are you most excited to get to?
MYLES: I am most excited for Toronto. I have never ran a street circuit, so I am really excited for St. Pete and Toronto. But I haven’t done any international travel so to go to Toronto and see Canada and just to get up there; it will be really sweet to explore the city as I am a really big city guy. I love to be in the city so to race in a city in Canada is cool. I hope it stays on the calendar so my fingers are crossed it happens.
ASHLEY: My fingers are crossed, too, as that’s my home track event. It’s like about an hour from where I live so hopefully it works out that you guys can come across and run the event.
MYLES: I really hope it stays on the calendar. I am super stoked for that – and the track is really cool, too. It’s really cool how it’s set right downtown. I’ve seen and heard a lot about it so I can’t wait.
ASHLEY: Why do you feel USF2000 and Road to Indy is the next right step for your career?
MYLES: I have a passion for open-wheel racing, you know. Open-wheel racing is one of the most competitive forms of racing to be involved in. The Road to Indy gives you a proper ladder to build-up to IndyCar and the Indy 500 and that’s one of the biggest races in the world so that’s what I’m here for – here to get to Indy and be the fastest out there in the world.
ASHLEY: How did you get started in racing initially?
MYLES: I got started actually in a little series down in Georgia called the Pro Cup Karting Series. It’s at Andretti’s indoor karting facility, sort of like a Dave and Busters. They have an arcade, they have a race track in there as well, and they have the series called Pro Cup Karting which is actually really competitive. We did that – we did one championship for the indoor league; that’s how I initially got started at age 12.
Then the next year, they converted to outdoor at Atlanta Motorsports Park. We got second and third in that championship doing a season there. Because we didn’t have much money at the time and we didn’t want to invest a lot, it was really good. Then we decided to get my own go-kart and decided to run at Go Kart Motorplex and a couple national series, and then a year later, the United States Pro Kart Series.
ASHLEY: What’s been the most memorable moment of your racing career so far?
MYLES: I drove into the Lucas Oil School of Racing in 2016, and only did three weekends as we couldn’t afford to do more. What was really nice was coming into the last weekend, knowing I wasn’t going to drive anymore that year and the third weekend I was out racing, we came away and won the last race. It was a double header and we had troubles in the first race, but won the last race – which was really, really nice. So it was really good moment because it was special at the time.
I actually got a double header win the weekend before that but to come back and show that I could win it again, and then have that be my last race that I did, it was great for my confidence and helped me preserving. It helped me find a way to keep my racing career going.
ASHLEY: Who would you say is your racing hero?
MYLES: Ayrton Senna. His mentality and the way he carries himself outside of the racecar, but in the racecar will always stick with me in the interviews that I’ve seen of his. Nobody can ever be as good as he was, but I try to have the same interviews as him.