Kyle O’Gara is on the hottest streak of his open-wheel pavement racing career with three consecutive wins.
First, the 27-year-old Beech Grove native captured his first-ever win June 30 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) in a 35-lap special event USAC midget car feature.
And then last Saturday at the high-banked quarter-mile Anderson Speedway, O’Gara took the 50-lap midget car feature and the prestigious 22nd annual Glenn Neibel Memorial 100-lap 500 Sprint Car Series race. Neibel’s drivers won the Little 500 six times and two USAC championships.
“First one in a long time,” O’Gara smiled Sunday at Whiteland Raceway Park before the unveiling of an historical marker.
“Our last double-header win was in karting about 14 years ago,” he added. “But that doesn’t compare in any way to last night (Saturday) at Anderson because that memorial sprint car race is so prestigious to win.”
Neibel, whose engine shop was in Edinburgh, powered drivers to six Little 500 wins and two USAC championships.
At Anderson, O’Gara started the memorial race in fourth place, moved to second in one lap and took the lead nine laps later.
He won the opening midget car feature after starting third, grabbed second immediately and passed Bobby Santos on lap 10.
“I think running the midget car race helps because we need more laps up there,” O’Gara said. “The midget translates to the sprint car, driving-style wise. The hundred lap sprint car race went quick and was easy.”
The sprint car is sponsored by O’Gara’s Irish Pub in Beech Grove and the midget car is backed by SFHR Development, Chick-fil-A, and Speedway Indoor Karting.
He still considers the five-eighths-mile paved IRP in Brownsburg as his home track
“Our entire family enjoys going there (IRP) and it’s close to our shop (Speedway Indoor Karting),” O’Gara said. “We battle against some of the best pavement racers in the country, and we finally beat them.”
He took his first USAC feature win at IRP by passing Bobby Santos on lap 20 and holding off Chuck Gurney in a five-lap sprint to the finish after a late-race caution.
O’Gara finished third earlier that night at IRP in a USAC sprint car race.
Kyle’s dad, John O’Gara, is a former crew chief for several Indianapolis 500 drivers including Sarah Fisher who married Kyle’s older brother, Andy O’Gara, a crew chief and race strategist, in 2007 at St. Roch Catholic Church. Their roots are in karting and their two kids, Zoey and Danny, race karts at Whiteland Raceway Park.
Kyle also began racing karts at WRP. He won a USAC/STARS midget car race in August 2012 at Grundy County Speedway before he started his senior year at Roncalli. Before graduating, he raced in the Indy Lights Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In May, Kyle was fourth in his fifth Little 500 sprint car classic at Anderson Speedway where he matched his best finish of 2020.
Through the years, Kyle has won several races but none as prestigious as Saturday’s sprint car race at Anderson.
Off the track, Kyle is vice president of operations at Speedway Indoor Karting in Speedway and Daytona Beach and a managing partner at WRP.
A Roncalli High School alumnus, Kyle and his wife Marissa enjoy their home life and their two dogs.
“I’m happy where we’re at; we’re traveling the country as a family and doing what we love,” Kyle said. “As long as I can stay in a seat in a race car, I’m happy.”
Beech Grove native Kyle O’Gara (67) makes the winning pass against Chuck Gurney (44) on lap 20 as the Southside racer goes on for his first career USAC midget car win at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.