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Tomas Scheckter: Indianapolis 500 Driver from Fishers

Not all residents of Fishers, Indiana were born in the United States. Such is the case of IndyCar racer Tomas Scheckter, who was born halfway across the globe and lived most of his early life in South Africa. A world traveling driver, Scheckter has performed admirably in his home country of South Africa, in Europe, and eventually in the United States. Now an accomplished racer who has been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway many times and performed well in all sorts of events, Tomas Scheckter maintains his heritage while still being a true blue Hoosier.

Video highlights of victories and high points of Fishers, Indiana resident Tomas Scheckter’s career

 

Tomas Scheckter was born in Monaco in 1980, but his family soon moved to South Africa, where he began his racing career at the age of 11. In 1995, Scheckter won his first major championship, taking home first place in the South African Kart Championship. The championship earned him berths in major South African racing circuits, the South African Formula Vee series and the South African Formula Ford series. In 1997, Sheckter left Africa and entered the British Formula Vauxhall Junior Series. He excelled in Britain, earning third in the championship series with one victory and one pole position, eventually securing his series Rookie of the Year award.

Video of an interview with Fishers, Indiana resident and racer Tomas Scheckter in 2010

 

1999 was a breakthrough year for Tomas Scheckter. Amassing a stunning eight victories and eight poles (a record), Scheckter won the Formula Opel Euroseries championship, along the way breaking all winning records set by Scheckter’s predecessors. Scheckter again joined a different racing league, the Formula 3 Series, in 2000. He was the runner up in the Formula 3 Championship, pretty impressive for a rookie.

Tomas Scheckter came to the United States in 2002, when he was signed to drive for Red Bull Cheever Racing, an IndyCar series racing team. In that year’s iteration of the Indianapolis 500, Scheckter earned co-Rookie of the Year honors after leading the race for 85 laps. He had a problem, however: despite his racing success, Scheckter was very crash prone, and Red Bull Cheever Racing owner Eddie Cheever decided to replace Scheckter with Buddy Rice. However, during a historic race at the Michigan International Speedway, Scheckter raced alongside Rice, and, though Cheever had given Rice the best equipment, Scheckter beat Rice by mere inches to win the entire race.

Video of Fishers, Indiana resident Tomas Scheckter passing seven cars at once in the 2004 Indianapolis 500 to earn the Move of the Race

 

The rest of the 2000’s saw Tomas Scheckter switching between teams seemingly every year. After being dumped from Red Bull Cheever Racing, Scheckter joined Target Genassi Racing in 2003, but again his crashing was a major issue. 2004 brought Scheckter to Panther Racing, where he experienced some success: 2004 and 2005 were dominated by Scheckter and the rest of the team, and he won the Bombardier Learjet 500 in June of 2005. Later in 2005, Scheckter returned to South Africa for a brief period when he was selected for the A1 Team South Africa in the first ever A1 Grand Prix Series. Scheckter changed sides again in 2006 (Vision Racing) and 2008 (Luczo Dragon Racing).

Video of Fishers, Indiana resident Tomas Scheckter during the 2010 Indianapolis 500 practice session in Indianapolis

 

All in all, this famous Fishers resident has experienced moderate success in the racing world. He has run in a total of eight Indianapolis 500 events in the Circle City, finishing in the top twenty in six of those eight. He’s made 111 racing starts in his career, won a few championships, and secured Rookie of the Year honors for several racing leagues along the way. A fast and talented (though somewhat flawed) racer, Tomas Scheckter has come a long way to get to Fishers, Indiana, but it’s looking like he’ll stay in Indiana as long as he has fuel in his tank.


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