Force Indy aligns with other teams to field cars for Myles Rowe, Ernie Francis Jr. in 2023
Force Indy will align with two existing teams for the 2023 season to put drivers Myles Rowe and Ernie Francis Jr. in feeder circuits to the NTT IndyCar Series.
Francis Jr. will drive a No. 99 Force Indy entry for HMD Motorsports in Indy Lights.
Francis, a winner in the Superstar Racing Experience and Trans-Am series, finished 10th in the 2022 points standings in his first Indy Lights season with Force Indy. He will be among several drivers in Indy Lights cars prepared by HMD Motorsports, which won the 2022 championship with Linus Lundqvist.
Rowe will drive a No. 99 Force Indy car for Pabst Racing in the rebranded USF Pro 2000 Championship (formerly Indy Pro 2000) presented by Cooper Tires. The New York native will be moving up from USF2000, where he won five races and finished second in points last season with Pabst (despite scrambling to secure funding).
Rowe became the first Black driver to win in USF2000 with Force Indy during the team’s inaugural 2021 season. Force Indy was formed in 2020 as part of IndyCar’s Race for Equality and Change in a technical support alliance with Team Penske. African-American team owner Rod Reid put an emphasis on hiring Black American men and women in all departments of the team.
In a release, Force Indy said crew members who worked on Francis’ Indy Lights car last season will be integrated in roles at HMD Motorsports. The team also will transfer cars and equipment to HMD Motorsports as “focus will shift toward establishing a program that sponsors multiple drivers at top teams while fostering additional pathways for diverse talent across the motorsports spectrum.”
Reid also will continue to mentor Francis and Rowe while running the NXG Youth Motorsports diversity program.
“Force Indy already has a lot to celebrate,” Reid said in a release. “In 2021, we made history as the first African American-owned team and driver to win an IndyCar-sanctioned race. Now we are aligning ourselves with two championship-caliber teams as we seek growth and continued success both on and off the track.”