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Get to know AMSP: Cole Jagger, Front End Technician

Get to know Arrow McLaren SP: Cole Jagger, Front End Technician

Cole Jagger is the front-end technician on the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. You will also find him going over the wall as the outside-rear tire changer for Pato O’Ward on race day. He joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Fall of 2014, before his first full season with the team in 2015.

His start in motorsport came in 2013 as a traveling mechanic on the Indy car two-seater program after going to Lincoln Tech in Indianapolis.

Now, let’s get to know Cole a little more:

Q: Walk us through your story of your career in motorsports and how you got to where you are today at Arrow McLaren SP.

Cole Jagger: Growing up, my family always brought me down to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We would always go when I was little and visit the IMS Museum. We would do the bus tour around the track and I just came to have a strong love for it at a young age. I went to Lincoln Tech straight out of high school and studied here in Indy for a year before getting my foot in the door with the two-seater program. After a year there, I put my resume out to some teams and Schmidt Peterson were the first team to call me back and hire me. I started shortly after and that’s how I ended up at Arrow McLaren SP.

Q: Not only are you a mechanic for the race team, but you also go over the wall on the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP as a tire changer. How do you and the team keep your fitness level up as you’re also preparing the cars?

CJ: Four days a week, we will go to our personal trainer, Jeff Richter at St. Vincent. The entire over-the-wall crew and backups go to their facility and get our butt kicked at the gym to keep ourselves in shape. Then, we come back to the race shop to wrench on the cars the rest of the day. We need to be smart with the cars and smart with our bodies as well so we can avoid getting injured and be able to perform our tasks over the wall for the entire season.

Q: At what point did you know that your career would be only in motorsport?

CJ: Definitely after my first race win in INDYCAR, in my second race actually with this team, at New Orleans Motorsports Park. Once I got that first win, I was hooked. I told myself ‘Yep, I’m doing this for the rest of my life.’ That was in 2015 with James Hinchcliffe and was very special to me and something I won’t ever forget.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

CJ: I’m always competitive. It is fun to be in a career path that forces me to compete and show that I am better than my competitors. Whether that is building race cars, playing golf, winning races or hunting – I don’t care. I’m all about winning and obviously very competitive. I think by being competitive with your teammates, you build a camaraderie with the people on this team. We are all super competitive, and you could go around this team and ask, but the camaraderie and the competitiveness are what keep us together.

Q: What should people know about you outside of motorsport? What activities do you enjoy doing?

CJ: I’m a die-hard bow hunter. Everyone knows it, because I talk about it all the time, and they are probably tired of me talking about it. I really enjoy chasing white tail with my bow in the Fall as it works out nicely with the season ending for racing and opens right up for archery here in Indiana and most Midwest states. I really like to get up into a tree and with the ol’ string and stick and sit around all fall and hopefully harvest a good buck.

Q: What is your proudest career achievement?

CJ: I have a couple. Taking the pole for the Indianapolis 500 is one. I’ve taken pole with cars I’ve built on the road course and the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so that is very special to me. The first race win, again, at NOLA. Then getting Pato his first race win at Texas Motor Speedway, before competing for the championship. This year is something we can all be proud of. It’s definitely hard to pick just one particular moment because I am so proud of this team, where we’ve come from and how much we’ve improved over the last few years.

Q: Now that the 2021 season is over, what do you look forward to in 2022 and beyond for yourself and the team?

CJ: I just look forward to competing for more race wins and the championship with this new group of partners, technical support and McLaren Racing. I think it is all moving in the right direction and I’m ready to finally get some Indianapolis 500s and championships under our belt. That would be the goal.

Q: For your specific position at Arrow McLaren SP, how would you advise someone to get into the motorsport industry?

CJ: The biggest things are putting your resume out there and keep beating down the door. Show that you have initiative and drive, and by putting your nose to the grindstone, eventually something will pop up for you. I knew this was what I wanted to do and winning confirmed that. I kept my eyes peeled at all times by using the resources around me from school, job placements and other certain situations that arose. With that combination, it allowed me to get into the right place at the right time to get my foot in the door. If it happened to me, it can happen to anybody. Just be passionate, patient, a hard worker and a good person and there’s nothing you can’t achieve with that attitude.

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