The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 22, 2014

Hawksworth ready for Indy 500

NORMAN — Jack Hawksworth would be out $500.01 if the IndyCar Series rookie wagered on his own career.

Turned out, he can keep the change.

“I wouldn’t have bet a penny I’d race this year. Not one penny,” Hawksworth said during preparations for the Indianapolis 500.

Hawksworth took a hit to his wallet when he put down a nonrefundable $500 deposit for personal trainer classes. An unemployed driver, Hawksworth had his eyes on Plan B, a little something to keep him in the Indianapolis area and quench his interest in physical fitness.

There’s no need for Hawksworth to update his resume — he never made it to his classes. Instead, the British driver will make his debut Sunday in the Indy 500.

Like so many unknown drivers before him, Hawksworth has made a name for himself in May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started second in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, led 31 laps and finished seventh. He was the top rookie in 500 qualifying not named Kurt Busch and starts 13th on the inside of row five.

In his first season with Bryan Herta Autosport, Hawksworth expected to be in the mix for wins this season — and the 500 would be a great first one.

“I think there’s a belief we can really take it to the big guys,” Hawksworth said. “We don’t see ourselves as underdogs, we see ourselves as contenders.”

Hawksworth started racing karts at age 13. In 2010, he joined the Formula Renault U.K. Winter Series, finished third in the points and was the series’ top rookie.

In 2011, he started moving up the American open-wheel ranks. He dominated in the 2012 Star Mazda Series, setting records for most wins, poles and fastest laps in a season. Last year, Hawksworth competed won three times and finished fourth in the Firestone Indy Lights points.

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