Junior racer ranked in top 100
Jack Mitchell Jr. of Clarendon Hills is ranked in the top 100 in junior auto racing.
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:07AM
Jack Mitchell Jr., a sophomore at Fenwick High School, is ranked in the top 100 in junior auto racing and is on the road to the Indianapolis 500.
Mitchell began driving at 13 and just two years later won the Skip Barber Regional Auto Race, a series that’s part of the Road to Indy. Mario Andretti’s children started in the Skip Barber league and the race has spawned many Indy Car drivers over the years.
“This will be my busiest racing season yet, and I am extremely excited to start it!” Mitchell said.
He participated in a race at the Winter Championship in Sebring, Fla. during his spring break and will join an international race in Montreal in the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship, and another Skip Barber Summer Series that will take him all across the country.
Growing up, Mitchell said he always had an interest in the sport and it was his dad that got him into racing. Although he started racing for fun at 13, it was right after his 14th birthday when things started to click. It was then at one of his dad’s race weekends he was allowed to drive on the track to see if he liked it.
“I did very well and discovered I had a knack for racing that day, and that’s when my career really took off,” Mitchell said.
Since then, it’s taken hard work and determination for Mitchell to get to the point of winning races and being ranked in the top 100. He said that racing is a 24/7 sport that requires a lot of effort on and off the track. He trains everyday whether it’s lifting weights, going for a run or using his racing simulator to practice for the next track.
Unfortunately, Mitchell does not have a specific formula for winning any race. He likes to think there is 50 percent of a race he can control and 50 percent that is completely out of his control.
“All I can do as a driver is try to focus on my 50 percent, and hope that the other 50 percent, such as the equipment and other drivers on the track, go my way,” he said.
Yet there is a lot that Mitchell does control prior to a race. His racing coach, Michael Duncalfe, said what makes Mitchell successful that he has natural talent and the ability to listen, learn and apply what he has learned.
Mitchell says he prepares by gathering as much information as he can about the track. This includes using his racing simulator, iRacing, to learn the ins and outs of the track, and studying track maps with Duncalfe.
“Prior to a race we send Jack track notes and discuss mental training strategies as well as race strategies,” Duncalfe said. “When we arrive at the track, we will do a track walk and discuss how to approach each corner. During a race, I will be on the radio with Jack to provide an additional set of eyes and support while racing.”
Mitchell makes sure that school stays a priority as he currently maintains a 4.0 GPA at Fenwick and also plays travel soccer in addition to racing. He also aspires to go into the medical field in case racing does not work out.
Making Indy a reality can be only a few short years away, Mitchell said. He said he is on a ladder system right now, meaning there are three more series ahead of him that separate him from Indy.
“I would like to thank my family, IAA, Veyron Marketing, SMX-Optics, and Exclusive Management Inc. for all of their help and support,” he said. “I would not have been able to reach the level I am at now without them. If I keep working hard, IndyCar can definitely be a reality in a few years, but only time will tell!”