12-year-old racer gets development deal with Sarah Fisher

Elliot Cox is just 12 years old, but already has a deal with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. (WTHR photo/Jennie Runevitch)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WTHR) - He's still years away from getting his driver's license, but a pre-teen's talent on the go-kart track got him noticed by some big names in IndyCar.

In fact, Sarah Fisher's team just gave 12-year-old Elliot Cox a development deal.

"It's all been kind of just crazy and it's gone really fast," Cox said with a smile at his news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The accidental metaphor is pretty spot on. His journey has been fast.

Cox could barely see over the microphone, but the kid sounded like a seasoned pro in that presser, thanking his sponsors, his family, his new race team.

"I'd like to thank Wink, Sarah, Libba, Andy and um...my Grandpap for taking me to the go-kart store and getting me a go-kart even though my mom did not approve," Cox said, garnering laughs. "I'm super excited to learn the F4 techniques and get on my first step on my ladder to my dream of being the youngest winner of the Indianapolis 500."

Elliot Cox has raced through the ranks of the go-kart circuit, winning many awards, trophies and championships along the way.

But now, the talented 12-year-old just landed a deal with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development.

Mom (as you'd expect) now approves of his racing, even if she still gets nervous when there's a crash. She and Cox's dad have been at every race, supportive and dedicated to their son's dream for years now.

But this news?

They're beyond thrilled.

"So very proud! Just so excited. Over the moon for him to have this opportunity," Amanda Cox said, "and it also helps that we'll do a lot of testing first, so I know he'll have the best preparation possible and the best team around him."

Her son was handpicked out of hundreds of young drivers when Sarah Fisher's team spotted him at Whiteland Raceway Park.

"Just between myself and our staff, there's only one kid that we talked about on a consistent basis and that was Elliot Cox," said Andy O'Gara with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Development.

"It just made total sense for my husband Andy to share that with Wink Hartman, who partnered with us on the IndyCar team to see what would be interesting to take Elliot further," Sarah Fisher said. "It's nice to help people that are coming along the way. It's a feel-good story for us, but we're also dedicated to the grassroots level, continuing to build to a higher level."

The next level for Elliot Cox is F4, a feeder series that leads to F3, which leads to Indy Lights, which eventually leads to racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cox learned he got the development deal after he got out of school one day.

"My mom shows me a picture of the car. I'm, like, 'Yeah, I know what an F4 car' is," he said, "and she goes, 'No, this one's gonna be yours' and I go 'Oh my gosh, no way!'"

Eyewitness News first met Elliot Cox at age 8.

In 2015, after IndyCar driver Justin Wilson's death, we talked with Cox about why Wilson was his hero, about their shared battle with dyslexia and about the little boy's dream of being the youngest winner of the Indy500.

That goal hasn't changed.

But now the ride has - big time.

"I'm doubling the speed, no big deal, right," he joked.

He starts testing in ten weeks, learning a car that goes 140 miles an hour instead of 70, like his go-kart.

He's on the fast track alright.

At age 12.

And if his talent as a driver isn't impressive enough, Elliot Cox also started a non-profit in 2018 called "Driving for Dyslexia." He's raised $78,000 so far to help train teachers how to tutor students with dyslexia, just like him.

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