USF Pro Championships talent watch: Jordan Missig
Jordan Missig has taken a very different path to the USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires. Growing up initially as a race fan, the Joliet, Ill., native transferred his passion for racing toward an initial foray into karting. His racing had to take hiatus when other family interests came to the forefront, but the racing bug bit Missig again when the family joined the Autobahn Country Club.
Missig began racing karts and winning in local, regional and national karting championships.
He continued winning races when he made the step up to the Radical Cup North America Series. While Missig is ultimately focused on his racing career, he has also focused on his education, graduating top of his class with a degree in Communications and Media Arts. Even while pursuing his degree, he continued racing in the Formula Regional Americas F3 Championship and IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series, earning multiple first-place finishes.
Missig absolutely loves open-wheel racing in the USF Pro 2000 Championship (formerly Road to Indy) and is currently in his second season for Pabst Racing. Shortly after he signed with Pabst Racing things began to click. He finished 11th in the 2022 title chase and is looking for more in 2023 with the help of one of the most popular and long-standing teams in the paddock.
“I’ve been on different teams and I can say that Pabst Racing is one of the best,” says Missig. “They’re also very family-oriented. There’s a true bond within the team, and the level of professionalism and care that they bring to the cars is second to none. Last year was a learning year for me in this series. Team Owner Augie Pabst, (engineer) Tonis Kasemets and the whole Pabst crew did everything they could to help me get used to the car. They bring the best out in their teams and drivers and you don’t always see that in other organizations.
“You can see it on track – both the team’s USF2000 cars and all three USF Pro 2000 cars are competitive. It takes talent to be a good racecar driver, but it takes a good team like Pabst to win races and championships.”
Missig uses his maturity when making decisions on and off the track. He’s earned three top-10 finishes in the first six races of the 2023 season, and his goal is to add to those finishes and win as the season progresses.
While incorporating his skills and college degree as an exceptional brand ambassador, Missig’s goal for the 2024 season is to advance into the Indy NXT series and continue to gain experience and hone his race craft to enable him to reach his ultimate goal of racing in the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I can see the difference between my competitors and myself in what plays out in my mind during a race,” says Missig. “I tend to be able to see moves before they happen so I can play out what I want to do. Stuff is always going to happen that you’re not prepared for, but I feel my vast experience helps me see and make the right on track decisions.
“Each race weekend has been one good race and one not so good race for me. Race two at St. Pete definitely showed what we can do (with a seventh-place finish from 14th on the starting grid). I didn’t get out of the gate well in race one at Sebring, but was able to battle back (to fifth), while race two had me shaking my head a bit. A couple of times there were moves that were out of my control.
“Indianapolis proved to be the same, with some bad luck in both qualifying and in the first race. But I was at least able to leave Indy with a smile on my face with a solid (race two) P8 result, with the help of some hard-fought racing and wheel-to-wheel battles to cap off the weekend.”
“I would have hoped to be further up the standings, but we know we have the pace, and I’m looking forward to getting to my better tracks.”
Those “better tracks” are coming quickly on the series schedule. Having grown up in Illinois, Missig has a great deal of experience at Road America, which hosts a double-header, June 15-18, but he also counts the oval at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park as one of his strong tracks as USF Pro 2000 heads there, May 25-26.
“No matter what car I get into, I seem to do well at Road America,” he says. “I’ve raced there several times – it’s where I got my first car win in 2019 with Radical and 2020 back-to-back wins in Lamborghini.”
Missig has found a way to channel his passion for racing toward a greater cause.
Missig has been able to blend a good cause into his motorsports program as an ambassador for 501(c)(3) charity Racing for Mental Health. He appreciates what R4MH is doing and stands for in its mission to stomp out the stigma surrounding mental health issues and its message of “Let’s Talk About It.”
Missig, diagnosed with ADHD at the age of five, knew what it was like to have difficulty focusing on school because of outside issues, but when he started racing, suddenly things were different. Racing for Mental Health became crystal clear to Missig after a friend dropped out of school because of bullying.
“I felt as though the deterioration of (my friend’s) mental health from bullying kept him from doing what he wanted to do,” says Missig. “I had my own issues, but for me, racing felt very different from school. Obviously, I liked racing more than school at the time, because I was able to focus in a way I’d never been able to in school. Racing put me in a very different place, so R4MH allows me to raise awareness about the stigma attached to mental health issues.
“It’s good to be able to talk about it, and the goal of the charity is to bring awareness, and to welcome people to start a conversation. We want to get people to talk about their mental health, so that they can get the guidance and help to succeed in life. There’s an element of awareness, both for people who are having issues and for the public at large, to understand what’s happening. When people talk openly about their mental health and get the needed help, that’s a critical element in allowing them the quality of life that they deserve.”
You can learn more about Jordan at jordanmissigracing.com, and about Racing for Mental Health at racingformentalhealth.com. For the latest from USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires, click here.