SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Jordan Missig looks like any other racing hopeful. In shape, quick reflexes, focused on his racecraft, and eager to move to the front of the pack.
In Missig’s case, the goal is to get to the IndyCar series. This year, he’s a rookie in the Indy Pro 2000 circuit, two rungs of the ladder below the big series to which he aspires. The cars are somewhat less powerful than the big cars or even Indy Lights cars, the penultimate step on the ladder, but the competition is no less arduous.
The 24-year-old Channahon resident was signed by Pabst Racing this year, and this weekend has taken his first laps on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, largely tucked in the infield of the 2.5-mile oval.
Most drivers are sponsored by commercial products ranging from motor oil to deodorant. Missig’s lead sponsor is a start-up charity, Racing For Mental Health, and he is fully invested.
“The whole purpose is to bring awareness to people like me who have ADHD or have a mental illness and don’t know how they can succeed with it,” Missig volunteered. “A lot of people who have it, they keep it to themselves and don’t find the help or succeed in life. The purpose is to help people to speak up and find their niche in life.”
ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a mental health disorder, the symptoms of which include difficulty paying attention, impulsive behavior and low frustration tolerance.
For Missig, driving a race car is a perfect antidote to the chronic disease.
“I had trouble being able to focus in school, have trouble understanding what teachers were saying or understanding lessons,” Missig said. “I was always focusing on something else or just fidgeting, unable to sit still. With racing, since a lot is happening all at once, that takes away needing to focus on other things around me, and I’m able to hone in on the tasks at hand in the race car.”
Put another way, out of the car, his plate is half-empty. In the cockpit, his plate is full, and there’s no way to add anything to it.
“There are multiple other mental health illnesses that I feel racing can help,” Missig added.
Missig found racing fascinating as a child, ran fast in go-karts, and, much like NASCAR driver William Byron, competed in iRacing simulator races before getting into real cars, including sports cars.
He’s fast. He was part of the winning team in this year’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill in California, at the wheel for the checkered flag, and has run sports cars across the country since 2019, when he was the track champion at Autobahn Country Club, his home course and associate sponsor. It’s there where he practices in sports cars. He also has a seat with Wayne Taylor Racing for that discipline.
This weekend’s three-race stint for Missig and teammate Colin Kaminsky of Homer Glen brought mixed results. Missig took seventh in Friday’s race, crashed and finished last in Saturday’s opener, and was 11th in the nightcap. Kaminsky was third on Friday, second on Saturday morning, and 10th in the third race of the weekend.
This was Missig’s first trip to Indianapolis as part of an IndyCar ladder series, but he expects not the last.
“I’ve been to Talladega and Daytona, and they’re big, but this place, it gives you perspective,” Missig said. “The four holes of the golf course on the inside – it’s massive.”
As is the challenge. Missig is eager to tackle it.
“The perfect plan is to get into the IndyCar series, and then with Wayne Taylor Racing, sports cars,” Missig said. “This year in Pro 2000, I want to learn, and next year, win the championship to get the scholarship to Indy Lights.”