Notes & Quotes: Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America
O’Ryan Bosek joined AJ Foyt Racing as a front-end mechanic and tire changer in May 2021. This year, he works as the front-end mechanic on the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and inside rear tire changer on the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet. Born in Alexandria, Minnesota, he got hooked on racing from an early age – but not just four wheels. Bosek is a third-generation snowmobile racer and competes in both cross country and oval circuits across Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa. We asked him a few questions…
Q: What are your roles at AJ Foyt Racing?
OB: "I am a front-end mechanic on the 14 car. My job duties are driver fit, cockpit, front suspension, and brakes to name a few. During the race, I am the Inside Rear tire changer on the 11 car."
Q: How did you get your start in motorsports? What was your first job in auto racing and what series have you worked in?
OB: "When I was 13, I started building demolition derby cars (with the help of a family friend mechanic) for my sister to run because I was too young to drive myself. From there, I built my first dirt track enduro car and enjoyed racing and working on cars. After high school I went to college for automotive studies and had to do an internship for my degree. One day I was talking to my aunt who has worked for INDYCAR and race teams, and told her that I need to do an internship and she suggested doing an internship with a race team. I never really planned to be a racecar mechanic, but I contacted Steve Moore at KV Racing. I asked if they would take me on as an intern. So my first job was in INDYCAR for KV Racing in 2014 as an intern for the Indy 500, and I really enjoyed it. After college, I came back as a front-end mechanic for KV and have been in racing since. I have worked for teams in INDYCAR, IMSA, Ferrari Challenge, and SRO."
Q: What would you like to achieve in your career? What’s your greatest goal?
OB: "My goal for my career would be to crew chief a car and win the Indy 500."
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge you face during race weekends?
OB: "Being prepared for anything that can happen during the race to keep our cars on the track."
Q: During the winters, you race snowmobiles in your home state of Minnesota and it started with your grandfather, correct? Tell us more!
OB: "I am a third-generation racer in cross country snowmobile racing. My grandfather John and grandmother Arlene Bosek raced in Minnesota. My grandfather was “Driver of the Year” in 1968 and 1969. My dad, Jim, and my uncles raced both Minnesota cross country and Michigan ice oval circuits. So growing up I got to watch races and listen to all of their racing stories. I always wanted to race snowmobiles but my mom never wanted me to race them. So I saved up, came home with a race sled in the back of the truck and said since I have a race sled, now I have to race. During the winter I race cross country in the Cor Powersports Series along with my brother, Anakin, under Bosek Racing. In cross country we race all different kinds of terrain from ditches along roads, to fields, woods, lakes, rivers and ski hills. This last year I started racing for RCI racing in the Pro Mod Enduro in the MIRA series and Soo I500 (the “Indy 500” of snowmobile racing). My co-driver "Kyle" and I race 250 to 500 laps on half-mile and one mile ice oval tracks throughout Michigan and Wisconsin."
Back Row (L to R): Bosek's Uncle John, O'Ryan, his dad Jim, and Anakin, O'Ryan's brother. Front row (L to R): His nephew Sawyer, niece Belle, Grandpa John, nephew Weslee and niece Maddie
Q: Are there any similarities between snowmobile racing and racing on four wheels?
OB: "INDYCAR and Enduro snowmobile pitstops have a lot of similarities. Both have a fueler and jack man, but instead of tire changers we have ski changers because the carbides on the ski will wear down. We can also do shock adjustment and before we come into the pits, we radio in and talk about the balance of the snowmobile. From there we can decide if we go to a different type of ski or change the length of the carbide to help with the handling."
Bosek racing at his favorite snowmobile track: the Son I500 in Sault Set. Marie, Mich.
Q: Road America is your “home” track on the INDYCAR circuit. What do you enjoy most about it?
OB: "Road America is an awesome track by being out in the country with a bunch of small towns around it. It is really spectator friendly and you can experience so much at the track."
Q: What is your favorite track?
OB: "My favorite track is the Soo I500 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. My favorite INDYCAR track is the Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit."
Q: What is your favorite race in the NTT INDYCAR Series?
Ob: "Last year's race in Nashville would be my favorite race. The city was packed with fans and excitement for the first year racing on the streets."
Q: What do you do when you have time off?
OB: "When I get time off, I go back to Minnesota to work with my family's business at Bosek Fisheries. We operate a walleye and sucker hatchery. We raise and stock walleyes into Minnesota lakes to help enhance the population of native fish.
The Bosek fish hatcheries...
"Walleyes are a river spawning fish. Our hatcheries are designed to make an artificial river in the jars to keep the walleye eggs rolling. As the eggs darken they go into their “eyeing up” stage. From there they hatch off into fry, which is the size of a mosquito. They swim out of the jars into a catch box, where they are then moved into the blue holding tanks until they are ready to be planted out in our rearing ponds. We hatch off around 6-7 million walleye fry a year. After a summer's growth in our rearing ponds, they are ready to be harvested and stocked in Minnesota lakes for sportsmen fishing."
Bosek stocks a Minnesota lake with walleye fingerlings.
Q: What would you be doing if you didn’t work in motorsports?
OB: " I enjoy the outdoors so if I wasn't in motorsports I would keep working at the fisheries."
Dalton Kellett - No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet
On Road America: “It’s a quick back-to-back road course weekend after a busy month of May, coming off of a top 20 result at Detroit. We'll be looking to see what we can learn from
our previous experience at road courses this year and try to kind of up our performance on the road courses. Overall it's been somewhere where we've struggled. Qualifying, still being really important, it’s somewhere we're going to have to focus this weekend.
“Road America is one of the most historic and well-known venues that we race at, so always excited to go there and see the fans camping out and it's really a place where you see the family side of IndyCar where you've got people have their campers and tents and all that. So it's really nice to see the next generation of fans kind of being brought up that way and it's a fun area. So hopefully we're happy and we're going to Siebken’s Sunday night!"
Kellett Fast Facts: Age 28…Born in Toronto, Canada and lives in Indianapolis…Became engaged to Nicole Westra and they plan to wed on New Year's Eve...Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf. For the technically curious, Kellett posts TikTok videos (@dalton_kellett) about the race car labeled "Indy Mondays" with subjects ranging from the steering wheel to the weight jacker to cold tires.
Tatiana Calderón - No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet
On Road America: "Well, I think you know, everybody loves Road America -- all the drivers -- and
I think you can compare that with Spa Francorchamps in Europe because of the elevation changes and you need a certain flow. I think it's going to be one of the really nice tracks we go to. I am excited for the simulator actually next week to prepare for that race, and to get back into not hitting walls [laughs]. I think that I'm more used to that and looking forward to that."
Have you picked out your coffee shops in the area to visit?
"Well, I have had a look at those! I found three places which is perfect because we have three days, the sessions are not too early, so I can go try them out."
Calderón Fast Facts: Age 29...Born in Bogota, Colombia and now living in Miami...Began racing karts at age 9 and has competed in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5 (first female on podium in Bahrein-2017), GP3, European Formula 3, British Formula 3 Series (first female on podium)...Test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team for past four years...Enjoys tennis, water skiing and drinking coffee.
Kyle Kirkwood - No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet
On Road America: "Road America! So it's a very fun, permanent road course that I think everyone in INDYCAR loves. I'm excited to go there. It's a track that I've had a lot of past success on. I think I’ve won in every category being USF 2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights. So it's a track that I really love and I'm looking forward to getting back on track after a not so great weekend at Detroit. It’s very smooth, high-speed, long straights, a lot of character with undulations and elevation changes, which is a lot of fun. And I think it promotes good racing because of the long straights and high-speed corners.”
Kirkwood Fast Facts: Age 23...Born in West Palm Beach, and lives in Jupiter, Florida... Only driver to win championships in all three divisions of the Road to Indy ladder system...Began racing karts at age 5...Won the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 title (12 wins in 14 races) and won 15 of 17 races to claim the F3 Americas Championship...Won the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with nine victories and five poles in 16 races (RP Motorsports)...Won 2021 Indy Lights title (2020 season canceled due to pandemic) with 10 victories, seven poles in 20 races. Enjoys surfing, deep-sea fishing, diving and golf.
Past Performance at Road America: Dalton Kellett will be making his fourth start at Road America. His best finish is 20th. Tatiana Calderón will be competing for the first time at Road America in an Indy car (she did race there in Star Mazda 10 years ago). Kyle Kirkwood is also making his first start at Road America in an Indy car. He won the first race of the Indy Lights doubleheader there last year. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is 8th in 1993 with Robby Gordon, and their best finish is eighth in 1991 with Mike Groff. The team did not compete in IndyCar races at Road America from 1996-2007. In the past seven races, the team’s best finish is 10th with Charlie Kimball in 2020.
$2 Million Raised! ABC Supply and AJ Foyt Racing collaborated in a donation match campaign for the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 to support the Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) organization. America rallied behind its Veterans, donating over $1 million to Homes For Our Troops. With ABC Supply’s match of donations pledged from May 1 to May 31, over $2 million was raised to support the Veterans! Homes For Our Troops builds custom homes that are specially adapted for severely injured post 9/11 veterans. Their slogan Building Homes Rebuilding Lives encapsulates their mission. ABC donated the livery design to HFOT and the result was an American flag inspired livery on the No. 11 Chevrolet which J.R. Hildebrand drove to a 12th place finish after starting 15th.
The crew poses after J.R. qualified the Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet for the Indianapolis 500. (INDYCAR Photo)
Last Race: In the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, Kyle Kirkwood competed with an injured right hand sustained in practice the day before the race. He started 15th and ran in the top five before brushing the wall, which broke the left rear upper wishbone and toe link, ending his race prematurely. He placed 24th. Dalton Kellett started 26th having missed qualifying due to extensive repairs after a crash in practice; he finished 20th. Tatiana Calderón started 24th and finished 23rd.
The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday, June 12 at 12:30 PM ET. The practices and qualifying will be streamed live on Peacock.