Ayrton Houk: Fourth at Indy

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Published on May 14, 2024 with No Comments

My first opportunity to race in front of the iconic Pagoda! (Gavin Baker Photography)

McCORDSVILLE, Ind. – I kicked off May in Indy in the best way possible, racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rounds Six and Seven of the USF Pro Championships Presented by Continental Tire were held on road course at IMS last weekend, and it was an amazing experience. Racing in my hometown made it possible for so many friends, family and sponsors to attend. For some, this was the first time they had seen me race in person. I’m so thankful for everyone’s support throughout the weekend. It was awesome to see everyone and spend time with them between my times on track. Huge thanks to Wings and Wheels for allowing me to host some of my guests in their amazing Turn Two Suite. The view of the track from the suite cannot be beat and the food and drink were top notch.

When USF2000 practice sessions got underway I had early pace but plateaued early and remained roughly a second off the leader. I was carrying over some bad habits from an earlier test and really needed to focus on braking later and with more intensity. I was also struggling with getting everything out of the car in Turns Four and 10. Colin Kaminsky, my driving coach, and Don Conner, DC Autosport team principal, were very helpful keeping me focused on these tasks.

Forth place in Race Two was our best result to date.

I didn’t do myself any favors in qualifying and my best effort was only good enough for a 17th-place starting position in Race One. But man, what a race! Before the green flag even dropped, a car was pushed and spun right in front of me! I narrowly avoided him by shooting between him and the inside wall. Once the field regrouped and restarted, I focused on a clean start and was able to work my way up to eighth by the halfway mark. On lap 12 I was hit in Turn Eight and spun. I was able to recover and get back on track in 13th. I put my head down and was able to work back to 10th by the checkered flag. I was frustrated by the result and the contact but happy to know we had race pace. We also were able to set better lap times during the race than we had in qualifying, which earned us a better starting position for Race 2.

Later in the day, USF Pro Championships announcer Rob Howden asked me to assist him in the commentary booth as a driver analyst for the first USF 2000 Pro race. If you missed the race, you can still view it (and listen to my color commentating) on the USF 2000 Pro YouTube channel. What an amazing experience and my most sincere gratitude to Rob Howden and the USF Pro Championship Series for creating the opportunities for drivers like me to develop on and off the track.

The autograph session is always a great opportunity to meet new people.

The start of Race Two on Saturday was much less dramatic and clean, but boy did it end wild! I knew I had a job to do, so I got to work. A few laps in I was feeling the tension develop between the three cars directly in front of me and when they went into Turn One three-wide, I left a small gap to go to the inside of Turn Two, knowing any contact would push them wide. It paid off, as they made contact and all three spun off and I was able to gain a few more spots. I then made a few passes under braking into Turns 12 and One, picking up a few more spots. I was running sixth with five laps to go! Then it got really wild, like the last few laps of every race does

Race leaders Evan Cooley and Nico Christodoulou got together in Turn One, resulting in Christodoulou flipping. I’m glad he was OK — the halo and the AMR Safety Crew did their jobs! With the wreck in Turn One and only a few laps left, I found myself in fifth place when the checkered flag flew. Shortly after the race ended, we learned that some penalties had been given, and the official results placed me in fourth. The team was ecstatic! This was my highest finish to date; it was also DC Autosport’s best finish in USF2000. I can’t thank Max, Don and the entire DC Autosport crew enough for trusting me and giving me a great car.

A big thank-you to everyone for their support last weekend!

The points were much needed, and I am now second in the Rookie Standings and eighth overall in series points. My next race is at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on the oval, and I am very much looking forward to applying my years of the Kenyon Midget experience to the USF2000 car.

As I have shared before, I am only funded through eight of the 18 races in the USF2000 season, so the oval race may be my last of the 2024 season. But of course I am actively seeking funding to be able to compete for the entire season and series championship.

As a reminder, we offer 3 ways to partner: via tax-deductible donations to the Wings and Wheels Foundation, corporate sponsorship and ownership in AMH Racing, LLC

For more information about how to get involved, please contact me at amhouk@myninestar.net or 317-410-2483.


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