Upon graduation from high school, he was a National Merit Scholar and passed up a chance to go to the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in order to pursue his racing career. He won the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 title, then the Atlantic Championship, and then moved on to Indy Lights. He earned his first victory there in 2008 and won the championship the following season, with four victories and six poles. In his rookie year in IndyCar, he had two top five finishes and five top 10s.
Still, the Chevelle is what gets his adrenaline going off the track. He describes it as bare bones--no power steering, no power brakes, plus a manual trans. It's got the stock 325-horse L36 Rat, a four-speed gearbox, and little else. The passenger-side exhaust manifold is new, but otherwise it's a matching-numbers car.
"It transports you to a different place. It looks great, sounds great--it's all part of the experience" is how J.R. describes it. "Just the smell …"
He's hooked. That much is obvious. Hopefully, as his career progresses, J.R. will be able to make more of his Chevy/GM dreams come true. He'd love to get a '61 Biscayne and a Tri-Five or two, maybe even a late-'50s Pontiac.