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Author and Motivational Speaker Serves as Chief Starter for IndyCar Series  

BEO 6-2-24 GS

Aaron Likens didn’t let his autism diagnosis hold him back from becoming the Chief Starter for the NTT IndyCar Series.

Also an author and speaker, Likens says when he was diagnosed with autism at 20 years old, he became very depressed. After months of thinking his diagnosis was going to hold him back from achieving his goals, Likens decided to put his thoughts down on paper in a series of letters and notes to his father.

Those letters eventually became the core of his first book, Finding Kansas. Likens filled the book with thoughts and advice explaining autism and behavior to someone who might have a loved one on the spectrum.

A lifelong auto racing fan, Likens worked his way up the ranks of several small racing leagues, including a stint as a race director. Likens says this time in his life was critical because he was able to work, and he was surrounded by people who believed in his ability and talent.

After some time, Likens also became a public speaker, educating audiences on autism and even consulting for an Easter Seals chapter. “I just worked on my craft,” he says.

After 15 years in the racing industry, Likens is ready to release his second book, Playing in Traffic – My Journey from an Autism Diagnosis to the Indy 500 Flagstand. The book contains stories from his career and shares his journey from go-kart races to the flag stand at the most popular automobile race in the world. Likens says the entire thing is, “A dream come true.”