INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – George Steinbrenner IV has been to many Indianapolis 500s in his lifetime, but this year will be his first as a co-owner of an IndyCar race team.
“It’s the Derby, it’s the World Series, it’s all those things, and it’s the biggest motor race in the world,” explains Steinbrenner, a co-owner of Harding Steinbrenner Racing. “To be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having a car out on track… it’s an other-worldly experience.”
Certain names carry immense weight in open wheel racing. Andretti. Unser. Foyt. Steinbrenner knows this feeling intimately.
“Growing up, my first role model in the world of sports was my grandfather,” he states.
A role model and a namesake, George Steinbrenner III is a seven-time World Series champion as owner of the New York Yankees.
“I’m alike (him) and not alike in a lot of ways,” Steinbrenner IV explains. “I’m not as outspoken. I’m a little more quiet than he was,” he adds with a grin.
“George is really a low-key guy,” says Al Unser Jr., a consultant for Harding Steinbrenner Racing and no stranger to family legacy himself. “When he does speak, he’s very articulated and he knows what he wants.”
Steinbrenner grew up wanting to follow a passion to IndyCar.
“I was deciding early on, in my early 20s,” smiles the 22-year old, “I thought you know, my family’s got baseball pretty well covered, so I kind of wanted to branch out and get involved in my other passion.”
It’s a passion that has already led to success. His driver Colton Herta won last year’s Indy Lights Freedom 100 at IMS. In this year’s jump to IndyCar, Herta picked up a win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.
But don’t think Steinbrenner is getting a big head.
“I’m here to learn from the people who’ve been around forever,” says Steinbrenner. “If I came in and tried to run the sport right away, I’d get laughed out the door, and I’d look a fool, and that’s not gonna get you anywhere.”
Make no mistake, Steinbrenner wants to get somewhere, not merely remain a one year, one win flash-in-the-pan team. His goal in IndyCar? Sustained success.
No better place to make a name for yourself than Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the month of May.