Veterans in INDYCAR: Tim White
(CGR photo)

Veterans in INDYCAR: Tim White

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 Legionnaire Tim White, who serves as a special projects shop-based mechanic primarily for CGR’s INDYCAR program. White served in the U.S. Marines from 1988 to 1992, got into auto racing two years later and has been with Ganassi for eight years.

White spoke with American Legion Social Media Manager Steven B. Brooks about working for Ganassi and seeing The American Legion’s “Be the One” initiative getting the exposure it does through INDYCAR.

Steven B. Brooks: How did you end up working for Chip Ganassi Racing?

Tim White: The team that I worked for before, the writing was on the wall that they weren’t going to be around much longer. I’ve got a family, so I wanted to get somewhere that was secure, established. If you’re going to work in INDYCAR, I think this is the place to be. I pretty much grew up across the river from where Chip is from (the Pittsburgh area). That’s where I’m from.

Question: What is it like working for a team that year in and year out puts a driver, or multiple drivers, in contention for an INDYCAR SERIES championship and has drivers in contention in every race?

White: It feels good, especially when you’ve worked for a couple of the small teams. And you don’t want to think that way, but you know you just want to bring the car in in one piece. I’ve been there. I’ve seen both sides of racing.

Question: What’s it like for you working for a racing team that’s partnered with an organization whose primary mission is support the military and then veterans when they get out of the military? And seeing how Chip has really embraced this relationship with the Legion and allowed us to provide exposure to our programs and our advocacy, how does it feel knowing Chip Ganassi Racing also has that interest as well?

White: Right now, after the last 20 years of what our young guys and girls have gone through, several deployments, and my wife’s second cousins were in Fallujah (Iraq), and neither came out in very good shape. They were both Marines, and one of them committed suicide and the other is messed up for life. So, I think (the Legion-Ganassi collaboration) is great.

Question: Your family obviously has been touched by a veteran taking his own life. How do you feel when you see the Legion’s “Be the One” message on the CGR cars and knowing the mission behind it: igniting a grass-roots effort to destigmatizing asking for mental health help and reducing veteran suicides one at a time? And how does it feel knowing that this is something that Chip Ganassi Racing cares about?

White: I feel proud to be a part of it and honored to work under Chip promoting this. If you don’t really put your feet in people’s boots, you can try to sit there and assist them and tell them there are places they can go. But until you’ve gone through it … it’s something that sticks with you.