FORT WORTH, Texas – Growing up in Indianapolis, basketball star Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell attended the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. But it took him moving on to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks to get an inside look at the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock.
Ferrell, the Indiana University alum who joined the Mavericks in the middle of his rookie NBA season, visited with team owner/driver Ed Carpenter today at Texas Motor Speedway before receiving a ride around the Texas Motor Speedway oval in the INDYCAR Experience two-seater with legendary Mario Andretti at the wheel.
“I’ve been to some Indy 500 races before, but this is the first time ever being up close and personal,” said Ferrell, who averaged 11.3 points and 4.3 assists in 36 games after joining Dallas in January. He started the season with the Brooklyn Nets but was released after playing in 10 games.
Ferrell and Carpenter are alumni of Park Tudor School in Indianapolis. The owner/driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet gave Ferrell a tour of the team’s garage area and invited the point guard to watch qualifying for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 from pit lane. Ferrell was intrigued at the sophistication involved with Indy car racing.
“I’ve just been looking and there are a lot of numbers and metrics that go into it, so it’s more than just a bunch of guys going around in circles a couple hundred times,” Ferrell said.
The highlight of Ferrell’s day was being the passenger in the two-seater driven by Andretti around the 1.5-mile oval.
“Yeah, a little nervous,” Ferrell admitted. “I have never gone that fast before. Once you get in the car going that fast, everything else is pretty much thrown out of the window and you focus on the track. It’s fun being in there.”
Carpenter, the 2014 Texas race winner, qualified 14th for Saturday’s race. Ferrell plans to be back in Carpenter’s pit rooting him on.