Rising from go-kart racing, midgets, and other forms of taking laps around the track, today's IndyCar Series drivers have graduated from a lesser-ranking of racing to make it to where they have today.
IndyCar recently took charge in paving a direct path for drivers to get experience in what will help them one day in the top-tier racing series.
Creating the "Mazda Road To Indy" program, young drivers will grow out of the ranks of their local to national go-karting tracks and move into full-size open-wheel race cars, building up to the top—the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Needless to say, the drivers in the staging series are the future of IndyCar and who we will have our eyes on in coming years.
In the many young individuals who race in the three rising series: Cooper Tires USF2000, Star Mazda, and Firestone Indy Lights, one driver stands out among the crowd.
Zach Veach, 16, driver of the No. 7 USF2000 car for Andretti Autosport, is not only a leader on the track, but off the track as well.
The 10th-grade student and race car driver has not only published his own book, 99 Things Teens Wish They Knew Before Turning 16, but he also devotes much of his time to getting the word out about a cause he is very passionate about—ending the surge of texting while driving.
"There was a girl close to my home that was in a fatal car crash because of texting while driving and I didn't want that to happen to anyone else in the world." Veach explains.
In 2010, he released an anti-texting app, urTXT, which automatically responds to a text message received by the phone, helping prevent the driver from replying to the text while behind the wheel.
"I wanted to start spreading the word about how dangerous texting while driving actually is, because a lot of people don't understand the risk until there is sadly an accident," he stated.
Veach campaigned to gain support from professional racecar drivers to support talk-show host, Oprah Winfrey's No Phone Zone, and to sign that they would not text while driving.
He collected signatures from headline drivers such as Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick among many other IndyCar Series competitors.
His book is yet another form of how he stands to relate with fans and others who follow him.
Veach said, "My book 99 Things Teens Wish They Knew Before Turning 16, is a go to guide for teenagers on how to overcome the everyday hardships one may have, I feel racing has made me mature a lot faster than other kids my age and I had a lot of questions like 'what would you like to say to help other kids?' And I thought, why not give them 99 things in a book."
Taking hold of a cause a driver feels passionate about is exactly what the future of the sport needs.
Being able to relate to a driver in a matter of their personal "drive" to get the word out or solve a problem is exactly what fans want, and Zach Veach is one of the few future leading-series drivers that has already taken a stand to make a difference.
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