Hudson Schwartz spends his days zipping around professional-grade race-car tracks at speeds up to 150 miles per hour. All while he’s still in high school—and too young to drive on public roads.
The 14-year-old, who lives in Arlington and attends McLean School in Potomac, Maryland, was one of the youngest drivers whipping around the Sebring International Speedway track in Florida in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series on Tuesday, October 17. His fellow racers were mostly older, more experienced teens. Schwartz started the final race neck-and-neck in points with his competitors, but finished with enough points to come in first, earning him the $250,000 scholarship prize.
Schwartz’s dad—Roy Schwartz, the co-founder and president of Axios—had put him in a go-kart at age four, hoping to pass down the love he had for go-karting. It worked—Schwartz was competing in national go-kart races by age 10. At age 12, he moved on to competitions for those pursuing racing careers, in open-wheel race cars like the Lucas Oil model Schwartz now drives. The ninth-grader has competed in two race series this year, the Lucas Oil Series he just won and the USF Junior Series where he also made it to a few podiums. His $250,000 scholarship will fund his participation in the next step up the racing ladder, the USF2000 Race Series next year.
This means Schwartz will be driving even faster and competing in events taking place on the same weekends in the same cities as the IndyCar Series races, so he knows a lot of fans will be watching. Despite the added pressure, Schwartz says he trusts his abilities and loves the rush behind the wheel. “I really enjoy the feeling,” he says. “It feels so fast, but so slow at the same time.”
Schwartz says his parents worry about the high speeds, but he practices for hours on a race simulator, then participates in races with a fireproof helmet and suit. As he gets older, his parents may have a new worry. “I want to drive on the road so bad,” Schwartz says. “But my dad, he probably wouldn’t let me. He says I’d be too fast on the road.”
Schwartz is aiming for a career in racing at the IndyCar Series and Formula 1 level. He knows he will likely have to switch to online schooling in the coming years to keep up with the demands of professional racing, but it’s a sacrifice he feels would be worth it.
“Behind the wheel, I’m happy,” he says.