HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)-Eyewitness News had the chance to talk to Benjamin Peterson. He drives the #55 for A. J. Foyt Racing. Peterson will start 11th in the grid for this Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Question: Can you give us a little background about yourself and how you were introduced to racing?
Yeah. I just turned 24 years old. I’m rookie in IndyCar now. Two years before that was I racing in Indie Lights here in the States and, , two years before that was racing over in England and in British F3 . As a starting point just before going to England raised in S3 here in the States and, and at the very beginning, F4 .Very cool to be a, a rookie IndyCar now.
Question: How does it feel to be the highest starting rookie on the grid?
It’s, very special. We achieved the, the fastest ever ,, for one lap average and second fastest for a four lap. So that, that was very humbling. Our car is, is very, very, very fast and hooked up and just an amazing feeling to, do it with a team like AJ Foyt racing in his presence here. And being able to wear the, the tribute suit from the eighties from AJ’s career and, and also a full coyote red cars is just very special.
Question: So, that transitions , to my next question, what’s it like to drive on the team of AJ Foyt, you know, who’s quite legendary. Can you tell us anything you’ve learned from him or any, you know, pieces of advice he’s given to you that you picked up on?
Yeah, it’s first and foremost very special and honored to be a part of it. One of his drivers, he’s 88 years old and, and still shows up, you know, just as early as, as we do the drivers to, the meetings. And he cares a lot. He’s very involved with, with knowing what’s happening and, super, super sharp in the head with, with everything car related and, and what’s going on. So, very special experience to, to drive for, for his team and, um, being able to, to talk to him as a friend and, it’s just very cool.
Question: Does, does the buildup for this race feel differ compared to the rest of the schedule? Again, the history surrounding the race, given the prestige surrounding the race,
It’s very, special. It’s, it’s definitely the biggest event I’ve ever done. It’s, it’s my first time experiencing everything here, being a rookie. So, you know, fast Friday was my first ever time experiencing it. Qualifying, you know, carb day will be my first time. So, very fortunate to have an amazing car for, my rookie year and to be as fast as we are and yeah, really looking forward to the race, and, and it’s just an amazing, month, here at the Speedway and, and, um, yeah, very, very special.
Question: How do, how do you like the track in its surface? Is it like anything you’ve raced on before or is it completely different?
Uh, oval wise it’s, it’s kind of its own thing compared to the other ovals I’ve done in my career Gateway, Iowa, and Texas this year. Just less banking, huge speeds, long straightaways, but it, it is just very special. Um, and, when you have a good car, it’s just so enjoyable to drive.
Question: How would you describe your driving style? Are you, are you a little bit more aggressive than the average or you like to play it safe? How would you describe how you like to approach races?
Yeah, definitely pretty aggressive, very feeling based, willing to, to kind of rag the car, to limits where, you know, I think most people would, would likely box into, into the pit lane. Just love driving and, just love the, the feeling of being at the limit maybe slightly over and, and just having to manage that.
Question: You’ve been very successful in, in a few different, racing series cause you’ve raced in a few different racing series over your career. What sets IndyCar apart from those other series such as F4 and F3?
Yeah, uh, obviously IndyCar is now the pinnacle for, so it’s, the highest level. You know, what, what makes it different is it is a spec series in IndyCar, but people have different dampers and in the house made parts on the car for dampers, so that makes a big difference. Um, but yeah, otherwise just, you know, there’s so much more that goes into it than, than Junior Formula racing with pit stops strategy, you know, from a car side there’s way more tools available, sensors, data engineers, people involved, and it’s just a massive step from, from any Junior Formula Level. Um, throughout my whole career.
Question: This is the last question I have, where are you looking forward to most on a race day?
All the, the pre-race ceremonies, even from just waking up, getting out of bed but yeah, really looking forward to experiencing that. But then most importantly, just that moment where, where we put the helmet on and you just get your time for yourself and you’re, you’re in the car and, and nobody can really disturb you. And, um, it’s just a, an amazing atmosphere from, from what I can foresee. Just you’re able to do exactly what you love with, with so many people around you supporting you, and it’s, it’s just an amazing atmosphere.
You can hear the audio for the interview in the player above.