Casey Putsch is a Renaissance kind of guy, someone who wears several hats — and helmets, too.
A combination of Walter Mitty, George Plimpton (Google those two names if you’re not familiar with them, since they’re from several decades ago, but their concept applies with Putsch nonetheless) and Johnny Knoxville in a way, the Ohio native is a YouTube star, vintage racer, educator, automotive designer, engineer, philanthropist, craftsman, artist, adventurer, social media influencer and daredevil.
But most importantly, Putsch — whose title is “program director” — is a motorsports maniac deep down inside — and that’s a good thing.
Since establishing it in 2014, Putsch runs a 501-c non-profit organization called the “Genius Garage,” which helps aspiring racing mechanics, engineers and drivers get breaks, particularly internships, that will hopefully open doors for them going forward.
One of the best things about Genius Garage is how it gives students hands-on experience in rehabbing or restoring older race cars that, well frankly, need a lot of massaging sometimes to get them back on the racetrack racing.
But at the same time, the education the students get working on those cars is invaluable. And for all the time he spends teaching students, Putsch gets an equal amount of excitement and satisfaction back in paying it forward to help grow the next generation of racing drivers, engineers, PR people, crew chiefs, mechanics and front office personnel.
Putsch is no stranger to racing and open-wheel cars, having raced a mid-1990s Indy car in tests, as well as has competed in racing production-based cars, sports racers, Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, Can-Am, WSC prototype, IMSA GTO Corvette, vintage Trans-Am and even a Bill Thomas Cheetah. He even continues to race go-karts to this day for a change of pace from the larger rides.
One of the things Putsch is currently working on is an affiliation with the Meyer family, descendants of Louis Meyer, a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Putsch and the Meyer family have formed a bond that will see the soon-to-be 41-year-old Putsch racing this season in the Indy Pro 2000 competition (a step below Indy Lights).
Louis Michael Meyer, Owner of Legacy Autosport, after watching a heartfelt video by Putsch (Why Casey’s momentum to race Indy Cars died) on his struggles to achieve his dreams gave him the opportunity to test a car. The rest as they say is history. In 2022, Putsch will be climbing into the cockpit of Legacy Autosport’s car to compete in the Road to Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
“I am extremely excited to do this with the Meyer family,” said Putsch. “They are an old school real team that sees the big picture and know how to get things done. I have been welcomed to the team with open arms, or as I like to put it the family. I really enjoy their company and am looking forward to fighting for a podium in 2022.”
“I was a big fan of Casey’s YouTube channel and reached out to him after a video he put out about his struggles in racing,” said Louis Michael Meyer, Owner of Legacy Autosport. “He went into details about some situations he had been dealing with and I really understood what he was saying and thought that maybe working together we could break past some of the barriers.
“We are looking forward to the 2022 season and beyond with Casey. He is a one-of-a-kind spokesman, a talented driver and great human being. Pay close attention to his journey, it’s going to be unique and exciting.”
Also see at Autoweek.com: Chasing a Dream: From YouTube to the Indy 500.
In a sense, Putsch has embraced the philosophy of another old-timer in racing, namely defending Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who won his fourth Indy 500 crown last May, joining A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and the late Al Unser as the only drivers to have ever won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing four times each.
In a sense, Putsch has embraced the philosophy of another old-timer in racing, namely defending Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who won his fourth Indy 500 crown last May, joining A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and the late Al Unser as the only drivers to have ever won the Greatest Spectacle In Racing four times each.
“My goal is to race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indy 500, be a positive public figure for young people and show that you can still dare to dream and attain impossible dreams even if you are 17 years older than the next oldest person in the field,” Putsch said with a smile. “I know everyone is going to be watching through social media and I can’t wait to just race. Let the old guys jokes fly.”
Going forward from here, Putsch will become a regular contributor to AutoRacingDigest.com (@AutoRaceDigest), through both videos and the written word.
Below are some of his more recent videos and there’ll be a lot more to come.
And click here for a playlist of other videos by Putsch you’re likely sure to enjoy: