Throughout the 2023 INDYCAR season, we’ll be highlighting veterans who work within the racing series, whether for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR), INDYCAR or other racing teams.
This week we’re highlighting Ben Christian, a race transport driver and the inside rear tire changer for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing’s No. 30 car driven by Jack Harvey. Christian served in the U.S. Marines as a machine gunner from 2009 to 2013, with deployments to Haiti and then Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
Christian spoke with American Legion Social Media Manager Steven B. Brooks about the opportunity to work for RLL and what he’s taken from his military training into the civilian world.
The American Legion: What brought you to RLL Racing in 2019?
Ben Christian: The short answer is I was (working for Andretti Autosport) in Indy Lights (now Indy NXT) and was looking to move up to INDYCAR. They gave me the offer that I liked to come over and work on their INDYCAR operation. I took that and have been there ever since.
Question: What’s the experience been like, working at the highest level of open-wheel racing in the United States and being able to be a part of a team that’s had the success that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has had?
Christian: It’s great. It’s absolutely amazing. This racing is so tight, and the margins are so thin because everyone’s that competitive. It’s a really exciting career to have.
Question: Why did you join the Marine Corps?
Christian: When I joined the Marine Corps, I didn’t really have a whole thought-out plan. I knew I was planning on doing one enlistment because I was planning on using the GI Bill and the college benefits. When I finished with my active-duty service, I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to go. I ended up going to a few automotive schools and getting an education before I landed (at RLL).
Question: What have you been able to take from your military training and apply to your life in the civilian world?
Christian: One thing the military, in generally, can definitely teach you when trying to get into this type of field – especially where I’m in a position where we compete at such a high level – that takes a lot of patience and a lot of confidence. And you have to have a real deep understanding of sometimes things take a long time to develop. I feel like that’s one of the things, it’s not part of what job you do specifically in the military, but the military itself can teach you that by way of their training and how they go about things.