WILLY T. RIBBS RACING ENTERS AFRICAN-AMERICAN DRIVER
CHASE AUSTIN IN 2011 FREEDOM 100 INDY LIGHTS RACE AT IMS
Starting Grid, Inc. Facilitates Formation of Willy T. Ribbs Racing
To Diversify The Motorsports Industry
Twenty years after becoming the first African-American driver in the
Indianapolis 500 Willy T. Ribbs has formed Willy T. Ribbs Racing to
campaign 21-year-old African-American driver Chase Austin in the
2011 Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Austin will handle the No. 75 "Willy T.
Ribbs Racing/Starting Grid Inc./Brooks Associates Racing entry at
the ninth edition of the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. The Firestone Indy Lights event will be held Friday, May
27 as part of the Centennial Indianapolis 500 festivities. With
sponsorship support from American Honda Motor Company, the car will
carry the No. 75 to commemorate the car Ribbs drove for comedian
Bill Cosby in 1993 and 1994.
"As we celebrate the Centennial of the Indianapolis 500, as well as
the 20th anniversary of Willy breaking the color barrier at the
Speedway, I felt it was imperative that Starting Grid build a
program that would honor the past, while establishing the foundation
for a strong future in motorsports," said Miles.
Austin will take the wheel of the No.75 Willy T. Ribbs Racing/
Starting Grid Inc./Brooks Associates Racing entry in the ninth
edition of the Freedom 100. The Firestone Indy Lights event will be
held on Friday, May 27, as part of the Centennial Indianapolis 500
festivities. With sponsorship support from American Honda Motor
Company, Inc., the car carries No. 75 in homage to Ribbs' car number
when driving for comedian Bill Cosby in 1993 and 1994.
Austin underwent a successful rookie test on May 9th-10th at
Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for the team's first Firestone
Indy Lights competition, and feels confident about taking the green
flag for 40 laps of high-level competitive racing on the oval at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"The test in Chicago went incredibly well," said Austin. "It
probably went better than expected, being that these cars are so
much different from stock cars. However, I adapted very quickly and
was able to accomplish the team's goals for the test. As for
competing at Indianapolis and for Willy T. Ribbs Racing, it is a
tremendous honor. I have to thank Chris, Willy and American Honda
for believing in me and providing this incredible opportunity. This
experience has been amazing so far, and I hope it will not end any
Ribbs' nearly 25 years of distinguished professional auto racing
included milestones as the first African-American to compete in
open-wheel racing with 47 IndyCar starts, and also included three
NASCAR Cup races and 23 truck races, in addition to a test for a
Formula 1 Grand Prix team.
Austin will participate in Friday, May 13th's Firestone Indy Lights
test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with practice scheduled to
begin at 9 a.m. Official practice for the Freedom 100 begins at 9
a.m. Thursday, May 26, with qualifications following that afternoon.
The Freedom 100 race will be shown live in High Definition (HD) on
the VERSUS (VS) Network on May 27, at noon (EDT). Additional
coverage will be available on the IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM's "IndyCar
Racing" Channel 94, with broadcast coverage summaries available at