INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It may look like machine used for training mathletes, but the type of athlete who benefits from these kinds of gadgets? IndyCar drivers.
“There’s a lot of things going on around them where they almost have to multitask at 200 plus miles per hour that you don’t get in any other sport,” said Jim Leo.
Leo owns PitFit Training, a gym on the northwest side of Indianapolis that many IndyCar Series drivers call a second home.
“I chose PitFit because of Jim’s experience in racing. You know, he’s been doing this for a long time,” said IndyCar driver Spencer Pigot. “Probably longer than I’ve been alive.”
For the record, the 23-year-old Pigot was only one when Leo began his career in racing. The owner started with Team Penske in the early 1990s before he got an idea.
“Roger Penske is a role model and a businessman, I saw that there was an opportunity to do something that was fairly new, so that led to moving here to Indy and helping with several teams and drivers,” said Leo.
That concept included traditional strength training methods and cognitive training.
“This is a sport where you have to make lightning-fast decisions in a matter of seconds,” said Leo.
“It’s like driving a roller coaster and flying a fighter jet on the ground. So while we do sit down at work, it takes a lot of endurance, a lot of physicality, and a lot of strength,” said driver Charlie Kimball. “And I think people underestimate the power it takes to drive an IndyCar.”
And Leo’s goal? Make training for a race more difficult than the race itself.
“The satisfaction is when they get on the track and they have that confidence going in from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint that they’re at the top of their game,” said Leo.
Because when they reach the top of their game, they reach the top of the podium.