INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — A Harrison High School graduate will play a role in the the success of three cars in Sunday's Indianapolis 500.
Derek Davidson is a 1994 graduate of Purdue University and a Lafayette native.
"Closer to the Buck Creek area," Davidson described of his roots. "That's where most of the Davidsons are from."
Indianapolis is not where he was born, but he said the track certainly feels like home. Like many in the sport, he fell in love with racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"When I was like 15-years-old, we went to Indy qualifying here and I told my dad 'Man this is the coolest thing I've ever seen! I want to do this,'" said Davidson.
His dream became a reality in his early years, with a successful career as a sprint car driver.
"I raced go-karts for a couple of years and mini-sprints," Davidson recalled as he came out of college. "Actually, I got the opportunity to drive sprint cars and I raced for about 15 years professionally. I was trying to continually get a ride out here [Indianapolis Motor Speedway], but it just never panned out. I wanted to win this race, and I still do."
Davidson is now the crew chief for Rahal Letterman Lannigan Racing's Indy Car teams. He oversees 35 crew members working three cars at the Indy 500 including Grahm Rahal, former 500 winner Takuma Sato and rookie Jordan King.
Davidson said he thinks he has the cars to win the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
"This is one of those races that you never know how it's going to turn out. You can fall to 33rd and be one lap down and still be in the hunt because I've done it before."
Davidson's cars are starting 14th (Sato), 17th (Rahal) and 26th (King).
Central Catholic grad Brian Goslee is back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again this year. Goslee is a 1998 graduate and now works for the crew on Jack Harvey's car.