ABEL Motorsports Grows INDY NXT Program with USAC star Taylor Ferns

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ABEL Motorsports Grows INDY NXT Program with USAC star Taylor Ferns

USAC Silver Crown standout set for INDY NXT Debut, will contest all four INDY NXT ovals in 2024 with ABEL Motorsports

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (26 March 2024) – With a strong three-car full season lineup in place, ABEL Motorsports will grow its INDY NXT by Firestone program with a four-car effort at the four INDY NXT by Firestone oval races.

USAC star Taylor Ferns will join the team to contest the Iowa Speedway, WorldWide Technology Raceway, Milwaukee Mile and Nashville Superspeedway rounds of INDY NXT this season as the 2024 schedule features the most oval events since 2013. Ferns joins the full-time ABEL Motorsports driver roster of Josh Mason, Jacob Abel, and Yuven Sundaramoorthy for the oval outings as the 28-year-old metro Detroit native looks to build on her strong record of success in USAC competition.

Earning numerous race wins and championship titles in a wide variety of race cars – and racing surfaces – Ferns came up through the USAC ranks, competing in Midgets, Sprint Cars, and Silver Crown. Along the way, she garnered a number of “firsts:” the youngest woman to win a sprint car race, the first woman to win USAC midget and sprint car races at multiple tracks, the most USAC Silver Crown starts by a woman, and the first podium finish by a woman in USAC Silver Crown history. Ferns was also the second woman to win a USAC championship (the 2011 Regional Midget Championship)

“I’m so grateful to ABEL Motorsports and everyone who helped put this together,” said Ferns. “Excited is an understatement. INDY NXT has been on my radar for several years and I’m so happy to have it come to fruition, especially with partners like Bradford Allen (a Chicago-based full-service real estate firm) believing in me and giving me the resources to fulfill a life-long dream. I know the team has been strong on ovals, with Jacob (Abel) taking pole at Iowa last year, so I know we will have a strong effort.”

The move is not the first for a USAC racer – Chris Windom, Chad Boat, and Jacob Wilson all successfully made the move from USAC sprint cars and Silver Crown cars into the INDY NXT series.

ABEL Motorsports team principal Bill Abel looks forward to getting Ferns into a Dallara IL-15 soon for a testing program ahead of the first INDY NXT oval race at Iowa Speedway in July.

“Taylor is a true racer,” said Abel. “She understands what’s involved in transitioning from Silver Crown and sprint cars to the INDY NXT car, and I’m confident that she’ll do well. It would be great if her experience re-opens the pipeline from USAC to this form of racing – we’ve seen drivers be successful in the very recent past. I know we’ll be able to transfer a good deal of knowledge about the car to her, but I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from her as well. We’re looking forward to getting her started on a testing program and see how things turn out – I’m sure she’ll do really well.”

Ferns knows the challenges that await as she makes the transition from a USAC Silver Crown car with over 800hp to the 450hp Dallara IL-15, but a weekend spent with the team at the INDY NXT season opener gave her a solid early foundation.

“I spent the race weekend at St. Pete listening to the drivers on the radio, making notes and asking questions so I can be as prepared as possible,” said Ferns. “The INDY NXT cars are rear-engine, while the Silver Crown cars are front-engine with the fuel behind us, and almost twice the horsepower. The INDY NXT cars seem more momentum-based and though they weigh about the same, all the weight will be behind me. So I think the best comparison is at the beginning of a Silver Crown race, with the heavy load of fuel in the back of the car.

“I took a few years off to focus on my studies, and worked as an operations manager at a law firm,” details Ferns. “But I came back because I thought I could do so much more – and I’m missing a Silver Crown win from my accomplishments!”

But Ferns’ accomplishments are not limited to the racetrack. In addition to her racing, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Economics from Grand Valley State University where she graduated with honors, a Master of Business Administration (Finance and Management) from Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business and will graduate from Wayne State University in May with a law degree.

Ferns is also an ambassador and founding/working group member of Women in Motorsports North America – and she counts WIMNA co-founder and racing legend Lyn St. James among her mentors.

“Taylor attended my driver development program when she was about 13 years old,” remembers St. James. “I saw something special in her and have continued to watch and help her. Her talent and self-confidence are off the chart, and her commitment to being the best she can be is going to serve her well as she climbs the ladder in open wheel racing. She’s charting her own course, and I recommend keeping an eye on her as she continues to achieve great things.”

Knowing the learning curve ahead, Ferns intends to make use of every opportunity to absorb as much as she can before the first race weekend.

“We have a few tests scheduled, and I’ll spend time at the Dallara simulator as well as looking at plenty of video,” said Ferns. “I know I can be successful, but I also know that I’m racing against drivers that have been racing these cars for several years, so my expectations are reasonable – though I do have high expectations of myself.”

ABEL Motorsports thanks partners ABEL Construction Company, Advance Ready Mix, Boyd Cat®, S Team Motorsports, OMP and Bradford Allen for their continued support.

Ferns will make her series debut with ABEL Motorsports and the INDY NXT by Firestone series in the Iowa 100 at Iowa Speedway, July 12-13. The race will be streamed live in the U.S. on Peacock, while international viewers can watch via INDYCARLIVE.com, with INDYCAR Radio available at indycar.com/radio and on Sirius XM.