Catching Up With Kory Enders
 April 26, 2019| 
  • Series News
Catching up with Enders 2019

In another era, Kory Enders might have been termed a “Renaissance Man.” Just as likely to appear on the Road to Indy TV doing a cooking instruction segment as he would be talking about motorsports, the 21-year-old Texas resident maintains a commitment to improvement that encompasses both his on-track and off-track life.

Born in upstate New York, Enders was raised in Sugar Land, Texas, where his family owns a Mercedes Benz dealership. Like so many drivers, he began karting at a young age, but turned his attention to business as he got older, handling IT duties at the dealership. When the dealership formed a program hosting track days with potential clients, Enders progressed into event driving – a move that would put him swiftly back on the path to a racing career.

“I was driving the cars on the track for potential customers and doing some instruction,” said Enders. “David Martinez had just moved to Texas from Mexico, and we worked together on an event day, rode with each other and talked about racing. By that point, I had started thinking about open-wheel racing and as it turned out, he was the perfect person to talk to. He had been a Champ Car driver and was training people to drive, so he was a very well-rounded coach. We worked out a deal, bought an old Indy Pro 2000 car, and he coached me from the very beginning on how to drive an open-wheel car over the course of 18 months.”

Martinez, whose 2006 Champ Car debut of ninth in 2006 was the highest debut for a Mexican driver (equaled by Patricio O’Ward at Sonoma last year), had coached drivers in Mexico and had recently moved to the U.S. along with his (younger) uncle Ernesto. As Martinez and Enders, along with Moises de la Vara, who was also under Martinez’s tutelage, began to formulate a plan for the future, one thing became clear: they would have to find a team. But they didn’t want to simply run with another team; they wanted to work on the cars themselves.

With their collective eye on the Road to Indy, David took on the engineering and driver development role, while Ernesto took on the financial, logistics and structure of the team. And DEForce Racing - using the first initials for David and Ernesto Martinez - was born.

The new team competed in the season finale of the 2016 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, with plans to join the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship the following season when the new Tatuus USF-17 came online.

“We saw that there was a ladder system into IndyCar, so that made the most sense for all of us. But it was midway through the season, so knowing that the new car was coming in 2017 for USF2000, we entered our old car in the National Class at the finale for Indy Pro 2000. We won our class, which was pretty exciting for us, in our first open-wheel race.

“Our progress has been impressive: we started out with just the six of us, and now we’re one of the bigger teams on the Road to Indy.”

2017 was an up-and-down year for Enders, highlighted by a fifth-place finish on the road course at IMS and an eighth-place finish in the final standings. Looking back, what stands out to Enders the most is the progress the team made throughout the year, which continued through 2018.

“We all learned so much that year, and I was happy to be a part of a team just starting out. We built everything together, with no drama, no secrets. We were just all working at getting better. David is very good at knowing what the drivers need to do and tunes their routine to what they need to learn. And the drivers have to work hard as well – we have to earn the respect of the people who work for you. Creating those relationships is very important.”

The hard work paid off at Portland last year, when Enders took home his first series podium, setting him up to move into the Indy Pro 2000 championship this season, alongside de la Vara. “Moises and I have really good chemistry together as teammates and friends. And we’re both pretty consistent, though usually on different parts of the racetrack so our data coincides well, and we’re able to help each other go faster.  We’re both going for the championship this year, and looking for consistent top fives through the season.”

Enders’ commitment to improvement continues off track as well (“I find something I like and I don’t stop until I feel I’ve mastered it – then I put it on the back burner and go on to something else!”). From writing music to cooking to competitive chess and beyond, Enders enjoys a challenge.

“I’m always trying to get better at something, if that makes sense. Like music production: I started listening to more hip hop a few years ago and I like the backing tracks: the style, the sound. I found that random beats would start popping into my head, and I realized they weren’t songs I’d heard, but they were pretty good. I learned how to do production on my computer, and I’ve got about 20 beats that I’ve done. There really is no purpose, I don’t put them out, but I enjoy listening to them.

“I also enjoy cooking. I seem to have hit a niche making pasta. I got a bunch of pasta-making stuff for Christmas, like pasta racks, and ravioli rollers, cutters and shapers. I did a pear and ricotta ravioli a few weeks ago after eating it in a restaurant - ravioli from scratch, stuffed with sliced and chopped up pears, ricotta and cream cheese. It turned out really good.

“And then, there was chess – it’s funny how that came about. During finals in my junior year of high school, some kids played chess when they were done with the tests, because you still had to be quiet but you had to sit there. I thought it looked interesting and went over when I was done. They were in the chess club, so I joined, and then spent the summer learning on online chess. I got kind of obsessed with the game, and with the sheer number of scenarios. You have to think way ahead, and it fascinated me how intelligent of a game it was. When I went back to school in the fall, the club had a tournament to determine the chess club captain and I won, so I became captain. So yea, I was that kid! I won a few tournaments online and that ranked me nationally, so I was a decent player – but then I discovered music production so now I just play for fun.”

Enders looks forward to Indianapolis and the remainder of the 2019 season, but his gaze goes even further than that. He knows the odds for a driver to make it all the way to the NTT IndyCar Series and while that remains the dream, he has a Plan B in mind – and happens to be working on both Plan A and Plan B at the same time.

“Moises and I are invested in the team, so obviously, we believe in the team. When I get older and more experienced, I’d like to be even more involved, in the administrative side of the team. So if driving doesn’t work out long-term, I’d be happy to be a part of the team and coach kids. Honestly, I love teaching people to go fast, maybe even a little more than actually driving myself. It’s great to see someone learn and gain knowledge. I know how to run a business, I know how the numbers work, and I work in driver development, so everything is going in the right direction.”

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