Photo: Chris R. Owens/ASP, Inc.

Stefan Wilson: ‘Hungry to Return and Finish the Job’

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Three years removed from one of the more recent heartbreaks in Indianapolis 500 history, Stefan Wilson is back for vengeance. Andretti Autosport confirmed Tuesday that he’ll pilot the No. 25 LOHLA SPORT Honda in the 105th Indianapolis 500. That brings up the car total to six cars for owner Michael Andretti.

Michael stated in a press release that he’s excited to welcome Stefan back, but also the arrival of LOHLA SPORT. The company has been around since January and right out of the gate, it’s become an instant success in golf, country club and resort markets.

“We’re excited to not only welcome Stefan back to the team, but also to have a new partner in LOHLA SPORT come on board to experience their first Indy 500,” said Andretti. “We have a great history with the Wilson family and we’re hopeful we can build on successes we’ve had in the past this May.”

For the 31-year-old Briton and younger brother of the late Justin Wilson, the quantity of teammates wasn’t on his mind. Instead, Stefan’s mindset is finishing off what was taken away from him in 2018. That’s because he was five laps away from pulling the upset victory.

In one of the most cruelest moments in racing, both he and fellow Brit Jack Harvey didn’t have enough fuel and pitted. This inherited the race lead to Will Power, who went on to capture that elusive Indy 500 triumph. Stefan wound up a gut punching 15th.

Since the devastating dive to pit road, Stefan hasn’t been able to secure sponsorships to run the last two 500-mile races. In the eyes of many supporters, who’ve been with him through thick and thin, they’re being rewarded. Poised to make the 33-car grid, Stefan is determined on adding his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.

“After leading laps with Andretti Autosport at the Indianapolis 500 in 2018, I’m hungry to return and finish the job,” said Stefan. “I’ve worked tirelessly to make this return happen and I am so thankful that LOHLA SPORT has believed in me to represent them. It’s a dream come true to rejoin Andretti and also partner with Honda once more in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Stefan noted that without the support by both Don and Carolyn Cusick, such opportunity wouldn’t have been possible.

“The icing on the cake is we get to do this with a brand new company in LOHLA SPORT, a premium women’s apparel brand already captivating the golf lifestyle scene,” said Stefan. “Among the fans and partners involved with the Indianapolis 500, we have a huge amount of golf enthusiasts, so I’m excited to get them exposed to what LOHLA SPORT is all about.

“None of this would have happened without Don and Carolyn, who are avid racing and golf enthusiasts and also shareholders in LOHLA SPORT. This program also represents the birth of Cusick Motorsports, and I am hopeful the 2021 Indianapolis 500 will be a springboard to many exciting opportunities for the Cusick Motorsports brand in the future. Lastly, I am thankful to have Expedia Group’s VIP Access join the effort, along with Menlo Ventures, VSRS and Liberty Group.”

Stefan will look to qualify into the field in two weeks (May 22-23). Should he make the field, it’ll be his third 500 appearance.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.