He did it on the centennial birthday of NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott!
Myles Rowe is a New York native who drives for Force Indy, a newly formed team created last year as a part of IndyCar’s Race for Equality and Change to bring more Black people to racing, NBC Sports reports.
Principal Rod Reid leads the team. He has hired Black men and women in every department, from the office staff to mechanics to drivers like Rowe, who was recently hired this past February. The USF2000 Championship is the first in a series on the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires to cultivate and promote talent to the NTT IndyCar Series.
During the recent competition held at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Rowe dominated over wet conditions on the 2.25-mile track, taking the lead from Kiko Porto on the last of 20 laps and clinching the victory. This is Rowe’s first and historic victory, becoming the first Black driver to win the USF2000. 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power has been cosigning Rowe for a few years now, and Rowe didn’t hesitate to thank him for all his support.
“As I was coming to the finish, I had to radio my spotter (Jon Bouslog) and ask him, ‘Are we in the lead?’ He told me, ‘Keep going, keep going.’ I knew I was in second, but looking at my first win, I just didn’t believe it. Once I took the checkered, my first thought was, ‘I’m here.’ I can’t thank my parents so much for all the love, support, and patience. Rod Reid, Jon, the whole team, Stu, Derrick, Zach, I can’t thank them all enough. And, of course, Roger Penske and Will Power. So many people who put me where I am, where Force Indy is today,” said Rowe via press release.
The win came on what would have been the 100th birthday of Wendell Scott, a NASCAR Hall of Famer who became the only Black driver to win in the Premier Cup Series. Reid made sure to embrace Rowe after the victory, which validated Rowe and team Force Indy.
“Until you actually win one of these, you don’t know what you’re going to feel. For us, the early part of that battle was reminiscent of St. Pete, when we were in fourth and going for third until we made a mistake. I was right there in Turn Eight and saw him battling for third and then for the lead, and I thought, ‘can we do this, is this real?’ But this is why we do this; it’s a great feeling. The entire team did great - the crew in setting up the car, and Myles, managing tire wear. We’re so excited for everyone who worked so hard to be in this position,” Reid said.
Despite Rowe not having much practice in wet conditions, he felt like it gave him a boost of confidence and put him under pressure that ultimately helped him excel. Rowe was able to close in on the last three spots in the final four laps, with Porto finishing second for DEForce Racing and teammate Nolan Siegel taking third. Rowe says that this is only the beginning for his team.
“There’s been pressure, but it’s just about focusing on the present. There’s been a lot of attention, but also a lot of support. For me, as a driver, all I can worry about is what I can do. It’s helped me control my emotions, control my actions and really be able to plot this path, and help plot the path for Force Indy. We’re going to keep going from here,” Rowe said.
Photo Courtesy of Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy