Monday, March 20, 2023

Force Indy Expands Reach in Indy Lights and USF2000 With Francis and Rowe Returning

Ernie Francis Jr. in the No. 99 Force Indy machine on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Ernie Francis Jr. in the No. 99 Force Indy machine on the streets of St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy of James Black/Penske Entertainment.

Force Indy has announced that they will be branding Ernie Francis Jr. and Myles Rowe as they chase their respective championships in the 2023 racing season.

Ernie Francis Jr. ran for the team in Indy Lights in 2022 and will continue to do so in 2023, but in a partnership with HMD Motorsports. Though Force Indy will itself no longer be a stand-alone Indy Lights team, this allows the Rod Reid-led organization to operate instead as a sponsorship-gathering program to fund young drivers at different levels of the open wheel racing ladder system.

“Force Indy already has a lot to celebrate,” said Reid in a team 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.”

The Force Indy crew members from 2022 will join HMD Motorsports as will the No. 99 Dallara IL-15 chassis.

As for Rowe, the 2022 USF2000 championship runner-up will move up to the recently rebranded USF Pro 2000 championship (formerly Indy Pro 2000) in a Force Indy-branded car with Pabst Racing. The Atlanta native raced for the Wisconsin-based squad in 2022, winning five races.

This announcement expands HMD Motorsports’s Indy Lights reach to nine cars. The team has already announced Christian Bogle, Josh Green, Danial Frost, Nolan Siegel, Christian Rasmussen, Kyffin Simpson, Rasmus Lindh and Josh Pierson.

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