UNOH Graduates Reach Indy 500 Victory Lane

Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2023


UNOH Graduates (L to R) Brendon Gerdeman, TJ Thompson, Lucas Severance, and Brad Frye at 2022 Indy 500

“I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do,” said 2018 UNOH Automotive and High Performance Motorsports graduate Lucas Severance when asked about his current position with Chip Ganassi Racing. “It’s so amazing doing what you love and this is just beyond my wildest dreams. I couldn’t have gotten here without the people at UNOH.

Severance is a Gearbox Mechanic and the Inside Front Tire Changer for the No. 8 car at CGR. The No. 8 car, driven by Marcus Ericsson, went on to win the 2022 Indy 500.

“Victory Lane at the Indy 500 was incredible.  To hear over 300,000 people on their feet and getting the chance to drink the milk with all of my guys was amazing.”

Severance is not the only UNOH grad who was in the pits at the Indy 500, there are many fellow Racers Severance crosses paths with every weekend in the IndyCar circuit.  Fellow CGR team member and UNOH grad Corbin Balke was able to join Severance in the team’s winning photo op the day after the race. “Unfortunately, we came up two spots short of winning with our #1 car, but it was amazing to see Lucas get to victory lane. Being able to be a part of the winning pictures was really cool,” said Balke, a gearbox mechanic for Tony Kanaan at the Indy 500 and currently working with the #02 Cadillac DPI in IMSA.

Both Severance and Balke credit UNOH with their ability to find success in the upper echelons of the motorsports industry.

“Towards my last sessions, I was getting to do some really remarkable hands-on stuff with engine machining equipment and engine dynos and drivelines,” said Severance. “The hands-on aspect of UNOH is just so important.”

Balke agreed. “I had never been in a place where I shared my passion with so many other people. All the teachers had real-life experience in what they were teaching. The late Mike Streicher, for example, was a USAC champion driver and one of the best car builders around! Where else could I learn from somebody like that?”

When he wasn’t in class Severance joined the Over the Wall Club and dabbled in the Race Club, while Balke worked for various short track racing teams on the weekends.  Their connection with UNOH is what landed them both at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“After graduating, I went back home and worked for my dad at Severance’s Transmissions for a couple months,” said Severance. “In January of 2019, I got a call from Mike Streicher that Chip Ganassi Racing was hiring and Ricky Davis, the No. 10 car crew chief, asked for some former students to be referred. A week later I moved out to Indianapolis and I’ve been here ever since.”

“Lucas actually helped me get the job at Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Balke. “I met him at UNOH and we touched base after I graduated. He told me that CGR needed a few people so I applied and got hired shortly after.”

Together, the UNOH grads look to continued success as they go through their careers in the IndyCar series. “My goals for the next 5 years are to win the 24 hours of LeMans, win the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and win the Indy 500,” said Balke.  Severance’s goals aren’t much different. “I’d love to win an IndyCar championship,” he said.

What is their advice to current and future UNOH students? Take advantage of every opportunity given to them while at UNOH. “Make as many meaningful connections as you can and be involved with the clubs and teams the school provides,” said Severance. “UNOH provides so many helpful tools to get you into the industry.”

“You’ve got all the tools there on campus, so take advantage of them,” concluded Balke.

For more information about the High Performance Motorsports program visit:

Category: Applied Technologies

Keywords: IndyCar, High Performance Motorsports, Indianapolis 500

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Last updated: 01/05/2023