Brooks Makes Most of New Chance while Pulling Double Duty

  • Racing News
Christian Brooks

Christian Brooks completed a grueling weekend July 5-7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, competing in three races in two race cars for two teams across two series.

Under the sunny summer Ohio skies, the full-time driver for Pabst Racing in USF Pro 2000 finished third on Saturday and 18th Sunday. He did so while also practicing, qualifying and racing his No. 39 entry for HMD Motorsports in INDY NXT by Firestone competition.

Brooks climbed from sixth at the start of the 35-lap INDY NXT by Firestone race to finish fifth.

“It was very difficult,” Brooks said of the double-duty weekend. “We wanted to do both to try and keep the USF Pro 2000 championship alive. It was a lot of hard work. I’m super happy with the top five in my second race weekend (in INDY NXT). I think we can be really proud of that.”

Brooks, 23, was called up by HMD Motorsports to replace Nolan Siegel, who was promoted to a full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES drive last month with Arrow McLaren. Brooks, a California native, was in the top five in USF Pro 2000 points at the time of the call and didn’t want to turn his back on a potential championship run. He decided to drive both cars for the remainder of the season.

After Mid-Ohio, Brooks is fourth in the USF Pro 2000 standings, 72 points behind leader Lochie Hughes.

The Mid-Ohio race weekend was the first time Brooks pulled double duty. His first time competing in INDY NXT by Firestone came June 22-23 during the doubleheader weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. USF Pro 2000 had an off week, allowing Brooks to finish an impressive eighth and seventh, respectively, in his INDY NXT debut weekend.

Following a fast start with three top-eight finishes in as many INDY NXT by Firestone races, Brooks said the recipe for success is simple.

“If you know how to drive, you know how to drive,” he said.

“I've raced a lot of different cars from rallycross to open wheel to oval cars. If you understand what it takes to go fast, you can drive anything.”

Brooks maintains none of this is possible if not for an encounter with the Pedersen family. He may not have the opportunity to drive at all if not for its help.

“They absolutely changed my life,” he said.

After two years competing in USF2000, Brooks moved up the ranks to USF Pro 2000 for the final two races of 2021 and the beginning of the 2022 season for Exclusive Autosport. Unfortunately, a heavy crash in qualifying for the 2022 season opener at St. Petersburg left Brooks sidelined the entire season due to a damaged race car and lack of funding.

Despite no testing or practice time available, Brooks returned to the series in 2023 at St. Petersburg and won with a new team, Turn 3 Motorsport. But that win didn’t propel his career. He competed in the Toronto doubleheader, and that was it for the season.

“It’s been hard to get seat time,” he said. “This is a tough sport.”

Brooks said he was on the couch without any ride lined up for 2024. Then he met the Pedersen family and began coaching their son in his racing endeavors. That close relationship clicked.

“They approached me, and they wanted me to start working with their son,” he said. “They kind of asked, ‘Why aren't you racing?’ Then they were willing to help out immediately. That’s something I'll forever be grateful for and that's why every time I go on the track, I give it everything I can for them.”

With the Pedersen’s support, Brooks has delivered in a second chance. The path Brooks has forged has him on the top step of the development ladder, one step away from an NTT INDYCAR SERIES seat.