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Wings & Wheels Foundation

Empowering The Racers Of Tomorrow

Speedway TownTalk / Mid-May 2024

Wings and Wheels / Empowering the Racers of Tomorrow

Cover Story By Peg McRoy

An international spotlight shines brightly on Speedway every year during the month of May that hones down to razor-sharp focus for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Well-known Indy 500 drivers as well as rookies are the top focus while they vie for the coveted bottle of milk, wreath, drive into Victory Lane, and their likeness on the historic Borg-Warner Trophy.

While the breath-taking racing action at the track is front and center, there are promising young drivers waiting in the wings with the hope of someday being a member of the racing elite. Ayrton Houk and Trey Burke are two of those up-and-coming racing talents. Both young men are born racers and have developed their skill with the help of family, friends, and the support of the Wings & Wheels Foundation.

Twenty-year-old Houk grew up in McCordsville and began racing when he was four years old. He is a winner and speed record setter on road and oval tracks. He is in partnership with DC Autosport for the 2024 USF2000, which is a part of the USF Pro Championship and a promising road into the NTT IndyCar Series.

Nineteen-year-old Burke is a fourth-generation racecar driver who left his Alvin, Texas hometown when he was 17 years old to move to Indy. He began racing when he was nine years old and started racing against adults when he was eleven. He holds the record as being the youngest to win the 2019 IMCA National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year when he was 14 years old. He is in partnership with Legacy Autosports for the USAC Silver Crown, the highest level of USAC (United States Auto Club) racing.

Getting to know Houk and Burke

What does the month of May in Indy mean to you?

H: “There is an aura that goes around the Speedway when you walk in. It is unlike any other feeling you get when you go to a sporting event. I think living 30 minutes away from the Indy 500 and watching these guys go 230 MPH is what sparked this gene in me to become a racecar driver. May will always hold a special place in my heart.”

B: “I’m from Texas and have been coming up to Indianapolis for years. In May I think of not just the 500 but all of the other races that are going on around it. I grew up in sprint cars, midgets, and the dirt oval scene so to me I like the Carb Night Classic with the Silver Crowns at IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park), and the Little 500 in Anderson. The Little 500 in Anderson is a 33-car field on probably the smallest oval you have ever seen. It is 500 laps with chaos the entire time. Obviously, I really enjoy the Indy 500, but I also get my enjoyment from some of the other races, especially knowing I will be able to compete in them this year.”

What does it feel like being a driver here as opposed to a spectator?

H: “The feeling definitely shifted from when I was just watching these guys, to this year when I had the opportunity to race in the Grand Prix racing with the USF Pro Championship. (It ran May 8, 9, 10, and 11 at IMS) It is a completely different feeling walking through the gates in a driver’s suit as opposed to wearing shorts and a tee shirt just to watch. The massive point about the USF Pro Championships is that young drivers are given the opportunity to display their talent in front of the Indy Car drivers, sponsors, and fans. We also race at the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil IRP in Brownsburg.”

B: “I have run the Carb Night Classic with multiple classes of cars and I will finally get a chance at the (Anderson) Little 500 this year. I have run the road course here with the Grand Prix for two years now. It is a very different experience being out there and walking through the gates and making laughs with these Indy Car drivers as they watch you. They are taking notes for sure on who is the next talent and who is coming up. Then after Carb Day when you go out to IRP it is packed.”

How has Wings and Wheels Foundation played a part in your racing development?

H: “The Wings & Wheels Foundation has made it possible for my dream to come true. They are a not-for-profit and it’s a great way for people and sponsors to get a tax write off while giving me an opportunity to chase the journey of racing at IMS. I can’t thank them enough.”

B: “Racing has, unfortunately, turned into a money sport over a talent sport. You can be the greatest in the world and if you have no money no one will care. The Wings & Wheels Foundation has understood and created a solution to this problem, and they are doing a very good job at it.”

Advice for Young Racers

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to be a racecar driver?

I’d say put your head down and chase it hard because it’s not going to come easy. There have been countless nights where we thought it was over for us. But it is always just one or two connections away. You can always make it happen but there are going to be 50 no’s every yes whether you are talking to sponsors, teams, or anybody. Chase that goal because it is worth it especially when you get to be part of something this big (IMS 500) in May.” — Ayrton Houk

You can’t ride the wave. I think racing has the highest highs and lowest lows. The sooner you accept that the better off you will be. You need to try and stay as calm as you can. Even if you win the biggest race you’ve ever won, you can go ahead and fun and enjoy it, but the next day you need to forget about it and move on. You need to start thinking about the next race and what you need focus on next.” — Trey Burke


Wings & Wheels Foundation is a 501c3. For more information, go to Also visit and


Photos by Briana Mulvihill 2024

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by Al Unser, Jr. (as told to Jade Gurss). Foreword by Roger Penske

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The Wings & Wheels Foundation helps promising young drivers advance to the next level of achievement in their careers.

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But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31


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