INDIANAPOLIS – Score this as another massive victory for the IndyCar Series. One of the most iconic names in all of sports is fielding a two car team in the sport for 2019. George Steinbrenner IV becomes the youngest owner in series history as he joins forces with Harding Racing to bring Indy Lights drivers Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta up for next season.
You may have recognized the name. Steinbrenner, 22, is the grandson of former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. His dad Hank Steinbrenner is currently the co-chairman and and part owner of the Yankees now. But, it seems like the fourth generation has other goals in mind. While he loves baseball, his passion is in racing. It’s something that formed when he was a kid and instead of dreaming to be a driver, his goal was to always be an owner.
“My goal was always to become an IndyCar owner ever since I was a kid, seeing Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, AJ drive by on their motor scooters,” said Steinbrenner. “I wanted to be them, I didn’t want to be the Scott Dixon on Will Power running by. Being an IndyCar owner was always my goal. It came from my love and passion for open-wheel racing in America. Next to baseball, it’s the one thing I found a deep, dying passion for.
“That’s what brings me here, brings me to the IndyCar Series. The highest form of open-wheel racing in North America.”
Steinbrenner, called it “surreal” to be the youngest owner ever and that it’s an accomplishment that he takes pride in.
“It’s something that I’m definitely thankful for. It’s a dream come true. It’s a passion. So I’m really excited to be the youngest owner in IndyCar history.”
Steinbrenner, said that his family ties go back four decades as his grandfather had deals with Pat Patrick fort he Indy 500. He partnered with drivers like Gordon Johncock and Wally Dallenbach. He even had partnerships in NHRA too.
But, for the younger Steinbrenner, his recollections actually come a little over 12 years ago. He was 10 years old and was hooked when he witnessed the 2006 Indianapolis 500.
“For my personal passion for IndyCar, I point back to Marco (Andretti), Michael (Andretti) and the 2006 Indy 500 as the moment I truly fell in love with IndyCar racing and really caught the bug, just started the deep dive that I haven’t gotten out of and truly don’t really want to get out of.”
Now, he’s here. He’s arrived and doing so with an established team with two teenage drivers who have the capability to be stars in this sport sooner rather than later. In a sport all together with aging owners, to have a fresh name like Steinbrenner and his youth gives him plenty of years to get handed the torch from the Penske’s or Ganassi’s. Michael Andretti still has decades left in him too, as IndyCar’s future is incredibly bright.
Also, look at the exposure that Steinbrenner will bring. It’s the New York Yankees and their following now paying attention. That’s the largest market and most recognizable franchise in all of sports.