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Taylor Ferns on the frontstretch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Abel Motorsports photo)


INDIANAPOLIS – Thirteen years ago, Lyn St. James took me to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for my first Carb Day. I vividly remember walking down Gasoline Alley to pit lane and getting instant chills. I thought to myself, “At some point in my career, I want to be here.”

In all reality, who doesn’t?

As a young, open-wheel racer from Michigan, who grew up racing in Indiana because it was the place to be, IMS was – and is – the Taj-Mahaj of American racing. Being there for the first time was a life moment that still resonates with me.

Growing up in a family that religiously watched all things NASCAR, my racing desires veered toward other forms of the sport, specifically pavement late models, ARCA and dirt winged 410 sprint cars.

Then, I went to college and lived the life of a conventional young adult.

When I returned to racing a few years ago, it was like nothing had changed as far as my ability. In some ways I was sharper, more mature, had a refueled passion and was still fearless as hell. But in other ways, I had an evolved mindset as far as where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do in terms of my motorsports career.

One thing about me is that I never settle. There is a part of me that is always wanting and striving for more. If I get content with what I’m doing, it’s time for change. I find comfort in being uncomfortable. If you know, you know.

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely obsessed with sprint car racing and still feel like I have a lot to accomplish in terms of my racing pursuits with the 500 Sprint Car Tour and the USAC Silver Crown division – but I want something more.

For the past couple years, I have been quietly attending formula car tests and races, connecting with teams and learning the lay of the land.

Formula-type cars are still considered “open-wheel” racers, but there are higher barriers in order to compete. It’s not as simple as calling Bob East to order a car, buying an engine and putting something together.

It was important for me to know the “players” and to put my education and business savvy to use.

I quickly learned this area of racing does not quite understand where I come from in terms of sprint car racing and all that it entails. I reckon the same can be said about me as it relates to their form of motorsports. It took endless amounts of explaining, follow-up phone calls, emails, messages and meetings, and lots of persuasion, for me to find what I think is the right fit in a team for what I am trying to do at this point in my career.

I am fully aware of the work needed behind the scenes, outside of what I have already been doing, to ensure that I am ready to compete at the ceiling of my ability by the time my first Indy NXT race comes around on July 13 at Iowa Speedway.

From physical, nutritional and mental training to simulator work and bonding with members of the Abel Motorsports team, I am going to do everything I can to represent not only myself, but sprint car racing in a positive manner.

I am overtly excited about this “NXT Era” in my journey and am ready showcase what I am capable of doing in a race car at this next level. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so grateful to be in this position.

It would not be possible without the support of Bradford Allen and the other sponsors we will be bringing to the program.

Life’s a climb, but the view will be great.


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