Walker Ready For New IndyCar Challenge
Walker will be responsible for all technical and competition aspects of the racing operations for the open-wheel sanctioning body.
“We’re pleased to welcome Derrick Walker to this vital role,” Miles said. “We spoke with many of our constituents about an ideal person for this job, and Derrick’s name emerged early and often.
“After speaking with many talented candidates, Derrick stood out because his decades of experience in North American open-wheel racing blend ownership and management for his own race teams and other teams. He understands how to balance the technical and financial operations of our sport, and his confident leadership will provide a firm, clear direction for long-term IndyCar operations and competition.
“So we made the decision that we really want to strengthen this organization. It’s a good organization, but we’ve got a lot to do, and we decided to bring on the strongest horse we can find to help us with our technical and operations and racing, our product, really, and then separately to find additional leadership to help us with our commercial activities for IndyCar.
“And we sort of focused on the product first and talked to lots and lots of people. We had a number of great candidates who are interested in the job. And Derrick was one of the first I spoke to. You can’t read his résumé and talk to folks about his lifetime of experience without immediately having great respect for his journey in open-wheel racing from being a mechanic to owning a team and having enormous success all along the way.
“So his experience is the first thing that strikes, struck me as I got to know Derrick. But then there’s a lot about this person that I really like. He’s straightforward; he’s got great common sense. He’s got the conviction of his principles and his — we know that he’ll help make clear, firm decisions and have the strength of character to stick by them. And we’ve talked to a lot of people in the paddock. I know that Derrick’s experience is well regarded as broadly as anybody’s could be in the paddock. So we think there’s a lot to do, and Derrick is the right man to lead us through it.”
“I have had the opportunity to participate in the business of professional racing my entire life, and I have gained valuable experience from many different angles,” Walker said. “Leading the operations and competition aspects of IndyCar is a perfect place to leverage my experiences and relationships to help ensure that IndyCar racing is exciting and engaging for our fans, that our drivers and owners are able to showcase their talents through our events, and that our technical partners are able to use our racing platform for innovation and development.”
Walker said he wasn’t originally considering working for the series, but a conversation with Miles changed his mind.
“I wasn’t actually thinking about working for IndyCar at first until I was invited to go to a meeting with Mark and we were talking about IndyCar and what it represented and what over the years had happened to it,” Walker said. “And so I shared with him some of my thoughts. Little did I know that I was actually being interviewed for a job. But a couple of meetings later, he finally showed his cards and he said, yes, would I be interested. And it was a resounding yes.
“I’ve obviously come from and am in the team mode. I’m from the team background – never have crossed over to the official side. So this is for me not only an opportunity, but a real challenge that I’m looking forward to.
“Obviously I’ve been around enough to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of the competition sports, but that doesn’t deter me. I think I’ve had probably a good 20-odd, maybe more, 25 years of Indy car, which has really helped me a great deal, and I feel if I can give something back to the sport in whatever way that is, then I’d love that opportunity.
“So long story short, that, that’s what brought me here, and I’m anxious to get started.”