NewsOne is reporting that Chase Austin is set to make history on two fronts today, working to qualify for Friday's 2011 Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If Austin qualifies, he would become the first African American to start a Freestone Indy Lights race, and the first to race for the team assembled by Willy T. Ribbs, the first African American to qualify and compete in the Indianapolis 500. Austin will be driving the No. 75 car, to pays homage to Ribbs' car number when Ribbs drove for Bill Cosby in 1993 and 1994.
Junior Open Wheel Talent reports that Ribbs has developed his own Indy Lights team with the assistance of Starting Grid Inc. principal Chris Miles and Brooks Associates Racing, the team that won the 2008 Atlantic Championship. Austin, the squad's driver, has a fairly diverse background in fender racing, and this race will also be his open-wheel racing debut. Just 10 days into the month of May, he strapped into a Lights car at Chicagoland Speedway, attaining his oval rookie license. Three days later, he was lapping the No. 75 car around the famed Indy circuit, preparing for the upcoming race.
Austin spent the last two seasons working to break into the NASCAR scene, making starts in both the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series. Last fall he had high hopes of a ride in the ARCA Series. It was not to be.
We're hoping that this is Austin's time to shine. If all goes well, perhaps Ribbs, Miles, Austin and Brooks Associates will reunite for a follow-up race? This is looking like a winning combination to us.
Read more at News One and Junior Open Wheel Talent.
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