Yuven Sundaramoorthy very well may end up boasting one of the longest names in the INDY NXT by Firestone paddock for the upcoming season. If all goes to plan, he hopes to also have the longest career out of them, too.
No dream is too big. No aspirations are too long for this 20-year-old. He’s used to it.
Sundaramoorthy’s journey to a full-time seat with Abel Motorsports in 2024 after a part-time schedule with the team in 2023 is a long one that has taken him through three different countries. Each stop was predicated by long travels to get to longer town names.
Born in Wisconsin, his family later moved to China, where he spent six years growing up - three years in Beijing and three in Shanghai. In China, he found love for racing and took up karting. At 10, the Sundaramoorthy family moved to the United States and settled in Guilderland, New York, then later back to Wisconsin.
The move to America didn’t detour Sundaramoorthy’s racing dream. It only amplified it. One could say racing has brought his family closer than ever.
His father, Gopal Sundaramoorthy, hasn’t been afraid to take chances. The family’s moves around the world were due to the elder Sundaramoorthy’s job and its associated long hours.
Meanwhile, Yuven was having fun and finding success on the racing path. So, his father took the risk of quitting a corporate job to not only follow his son but also pave a path for him to grow his racing dream.
That decision created an entirely different form of pressure on young Yuven’s shoulders.
“A little bit, especially in go-karting,” Sundaramoorthy said when asked if he felt extra pressure because of his dad’s decision. “But he calmed down a lot once we moved up the cars. He was definitely one of those go-kart dads. But now, he's very calm with everything.”
Sundaramoorthy said even with the pressure of his father quitting his job, it allowed the two to spend a lot more time together, a big positive.
“Nothing really like heavy pressure or anything like that,” Sundaramoorthy said. “It's most of it's just me wanting to do well and do well for him. So that's a lot of it, too.”
Which is why when the INDY NXT by Firestone opportunity arose with Abel midway through Sundaramoorthy’s season in Indy Pro 2000, it was a special moment between father and son. INDY NXT by Firestone is just one step from the ultimate goal, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. So, for all this hard work and sacrifice this family has made together, they’re reaping the benefits with this opportunity in 2024.
“Yeah, definitely, is,” he said. “You could see after the first race in Nashville how his demeanor changed a lot because he was like, ‘Wow, like this is so different than everything before.’ And it's really cool.
“And with the whole funding thing, it's like he had a lot more confidence than I did, and being able to find funding because he believes in me, and he believes in the team and everything like that. So, it's always good to see, and we still got to take it one step at a time. I don't like getting my hopes up too early, but he really likes to keep a positive attitude on things, which is always a good.”
Sundaramoorthy has delivered every step of the way. On top of that, he’s also done so while being in school. This winter, Sundaramoorthy will complete his degree in computer science at the University of Wisconsin.
Next season will mark the first of his entire career without being a student. While that could be seen as a massive load lifted from his shoulders, he said it could pose potential other problems.
“Living in Indy, I'll have them (team) all right there at my fingertips and able to go out to events that I need to,” Sundaramoorthy said. “But it's also scary, because I know I overthink a lot, and I'll have a lot of time to think now, which isn't always a great thing. So, I know I'll just be trying to keep myself busy.”