A week after Jak Crawford, the talented young racing pilot from Houston, Texas, turns 14 on May 2nd, he will be on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship grid at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Joining the DEForce Racing program, Crawford will compete alongside Manuel Sulaiman, his main rival for the championship in the Mexican NACAM F4 series, as Jak looks toward the top step of the podium.
While Jak will be a rookie in USF2000 program, by the time he takes the circuit at the Indy Grand Prix road course, he will have raced in four open-wheel NACAM F4 events and eleven races since October 2018 when he raced at the accompanying Formula One World Championship race in Mexico City, Mexico. With multiple wins and podiums in the F4 program, the newest and youngest driver on the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship grid will already have a wealth of recent experience behind the wheel of a formula car.
Crawford began racing at the age of six and has a racing resume that is the envy of many young drivers with numerous wins and championships from all over the world and in many different categories, including karts, legends cars, and, now, formula cars. A natural wheelman, Jak seems to be able to drive just about anything on four wheels, so it is not likely that the USF2000 cars will be overly challenging to get up to speed for the young rookie.
“The competition at USF2000 at the front of the field is the best in this part of the world for first-rung formula cars so I look forward to competing to the best of my ability,” explained Crawford. “I have been in the car a few times and it is a proper race car for someone new like me. I really like the way it feels, and can’t wait to get on track in Indy.”
“Jak has taken to formula car racing quickly and looked like a veteran after only a few races. He is only 13 but looks 16 and races like he is 19. He will not have problems adjusting from the Ford-powered Mygale cars in Mexico to the USF2000 machine,” stated Darren Manning of IAdvance Motorsports, who has been working with Jak throughout the NACAM F4 series and also will be able to help Jak with the sole USF2000 oval race.
DEForce was the most logical team of choice for Crawford. Already competing with the DEForce sister outfit, Team Martiga, in Mexico, the DEForce group is also based in Houston where Jak resides. The entire DEForce team gets together in Houston to race IAME X30 powered karts just a few miles from Crawford’s house near Speedportz Racing Park, which is owned by Tim Crawford, the father of Jak.
“DEForce has proven to be a front runner in only its third year in Road to Indy competition and we are happy to put a late deal together,” added Tim. “We have known Ernesto for years and, in fact, Jak and Ernesto won a National Championship together a few years back in karting.”
Jak will not be able to run for a Cooper Tires USF2000 Series championship because he was not old enough to officially test and run races until the second event of the season commencing on May 9th.
Jak’s second USF2000 race will be later in the month in May when he will contest the one and only oval event on the 2019 series calendar at the Lucas Oil Raceway. This should be an interesting race for Jak given his significant oval background in Legends Cars and it certainly will be the most grip he has ever had on an oval track. Another key event that should fit his style should be the street course race in Toronto and while Jak has never raced a formula car through the tight confines of a street race, he has been on the Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals podium four times in his short karting career, all of them being run on temporary circuits in Las Vegas.
“I know Jak is happy to be with DEForce and we are certainly happy to have him,” says Ernesto Martinez. “Jak is very talented and even though he is young, he has more racing experiences than most of the grid. He will be a good fit with Sulaiman, and we hope to run at the front with both of them. Those two are already used to racing against each other in Mexico.”
For more information on Jak Crawford please follow him on Facebook: @jetpakjakcrawford and on Instagram: jakcrawford52. Jak’s marketing website is jetpakjak.com.
Photo: Jak Crawford Racing