IBJ Podcast: The challenges and costs of being a 17-year-old racer trying to make it

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Dan Wheldon, Kyle Kirkwood, J.R. Hildebrand, Jay Howard, Sage Karam, Oliver Askew, Spencer Pigot, and Rinus VeeKay. Beyond the fact that all of these drivers are either past or current competitors in the Indy 500, what do they have in common? They all competed in the USF2000 series, which is one of the feeder series to IndyCar.

Al Morey IV is 17 years old and a rookie in the USF 2000 series, competing for Indianapolis-based team Jay Howard Driver Development. He lives in Fishers, and ever since he started racing karts at the age of 9, he has had his sights on the upper rungs of professional racing. But the road to IndyCar is never easy, in part because it is so expensive. Running an open-wheel car for a full season in USF2000 can easily run several hundred thousand dollars for the driver. That includes tires, engineering and mechanical services, parts and labor, track testing and travel, food, and lodging. Drivers can defray some of those costs with sponsor dollars, but they typically must arrange those relationships themselves.

Al Morey’s father, also named Al Morey, says the cost of this season could be anywhere between $400,000 to $700,000, depending, for example, on how often the car is damaged. In the latest edition of the IBJ Podcast, the father and son team talk about what it’s like in the trenches of professional racing, the costs involved, and how they work together to secure sponsors.

Click here to find the IBJ Podcast each Monday. You can also subscribe at iTunesGoogle PlayTune In, Spotify and anyplace you find podcasts.

You can also listen to these recent episodes:

IBJ Podcast: Rabbi Dennis Sasso on 275 weddings, 1,000 funerals, 800 b’nai mitzvah over 47 years

IBJ Podcast: The biggest questions dogging the bills passed by the Indiana Legislature

IBJ Podcast: Pete the Planner on death, divorce and other edgy questions in personal finance

IBJ Podcast: Joel Kirk on how Indy became a musical incubator for Broadway

IBJ Podcast: ‘I didn’t know how to be someone who was blind’

Looking for another podcast to try? Check out IBJ’s The Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman, a monthly discussion about diversity and inclusion in central Indiana’s business community.

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