Steven Scott, a 17-year-old rising senior at University High School in Indianapolis, has dreamed of becoming a race car driver from a young age.
And thanks to NXG Youth Motorsports, that dream just might come true.
Through NXG, Scott is getting hands-on experience with all aspects of racing. During this weekend’s Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Scott is working with the INDYCAR Timing and Scoring team and INDYCAR Senior Director of Technology Jon Koskey. Due to Scott’s love for the sport, he is enthused to gain this experience.
“I’m working with Jon Koskey and his timing and scoring crew this weekend for the INDYCAR race,” Scott said. “This has really been a good experience. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race.”
NXG is a program that started in Indianapolis to expose minority and underprivileged youth to motorsports through racing and STEM-related education. The NXG kart racing program uses the INDYCAR timing-and-scoring system for its events.
“The fact that Jon and his team have let us (NXG) use their equipment for our own program, I think that speaks volumes,” Scott said. “Especially for somebody who wants to look into the technology side of INDYCAR, I get to do it on a smaller level, but still use the same equipment. So, that’s really cool.
“Yesterday, Jon took me out in the golf cart to show me all the (timing) loops and stuff. That was exciting. We got to go out on the track. And then just seeing the timing system I’ve used and seeing it magnified has been a really big deal.”
Outside of this opportunity, Scott’s had plenty of other opportunities which have piqued his interest in racing. An Indianapolis native, Scott first became interested in racing after attending the 2008 Indianapolis 500 at age 3.
“Before NXG, I had always wanted to be a race car driver,” Scott said. “I loved racing. Of course, I don’t vaguely remember it because I was 3, but just the whole idea of racing I know has been on my heart for a long time.”
And Scott’s love for racing has been apparent on and off the track. In his 2019 NXG season, Scott was named NXG Youth Motorsports Driver of the Year, an achievement that means a lot to him.
“I think on the track, I started that season, I want to say like an eighth in points, I believe,” Scott said. “And I finished third, so that comeback was really something that I personally feel I worked hard for.”
Hard work is crucial to Scott’s journey through motorsports, as he is completing a pathway that will test both his technique in the sport through driving and his knowledge of its mechanical side while he works in various STEM programs with NXG. The NXG program has provided opportunities to explore both these facets.
“Last February, I was able to take a Skip Barber Racing School at Circuit of the Americas in their F4 car through NXG, so that was a big opportunity,” Scott said. “And then, in 2020, I raced their 206 (category) kart in the Battle of the Brickyard, which was also another great opportunity.”
Scott also has worked on the NXG karts with the organization’s mechanical team, which has spawned another career aspiration in race car engineering.
“I haven’t really thought about what series, what kind of car, all that stuff,” Scott said. “I think as I’m maturing and older that’ll definitely get more detailed. But as of right now, I do want my final career to be somewhere in motorsports.”
Scott is thrilled to be participating in NXG and is taking full advantage of these opportunities. He is especially thankful for the networking opportunities he’s been given and hopes to use these opportunities as he pursues motorsports, whether via becoming a driver or working as an engineer.
“I just think the connections I’ve made,” Scott said. “Jon and his entire team. Rod (Reid, NXG co-founder) has his Force Indy team and the engineers, Stu (Kelly) and Derrick (Morris), I’ve known them through NXG. So, I just think that building connections and community with these people is really important.
“I definitely want to thank INDYCAR and NXG for providing me with this opportunity and can’t wait to see what happens the rest of the day and tomorrow.”