Our Founder, David Istier met Kristian Aleixo a few years ago. David was so impressed by Kristian’s story of overcoming adversity at every level and his will to win that Gutzy decided to partner with Kristian in his quest to become an IndyCar Champion.
Kristian is our August ‘Gutzy’ person of the month, in fact he is ‘gutsy’ all the time. We sat down with Kristian to talk about his incredible journey and his book ‘My life in Story: The Outside Groove’.
Kristian, your life has not been an easy path. You talk about it in your book. Can you tell us more about you, where it all started and how you got here today?
I am probably the world’s least likely race car driver. The sport is dominated by guys who come from a wealthy background and have always had a big check book behind their aspirations, many since as young as 5 years old. I’m kind of the opposite in that I grew up in a low-income household, experienced homelessness for most of high school and didn’t drive competitively until my late teens. This certainly makes me an “underdog”, which I’ve never minded, and a lot of what I’ve achieved thus far is a result of creativity and dogged persistence. I’m also one of very few military veterans in racing.
How do you manage to keep such a positive attitude and strength every day vs so much adversity?
My positivity comes from a deep appreciation for life. My time at war, my diabetes, and even my career now as a race car driver, have all at some point, made me grateful just to see another day. I don’t want to waste a single second of it.
In your view, what are the key ingredients for achieving your dreams?
I live by 3 principles. Faith, purpose and commitment. Faith, whether it be in a higher power, yourself, or both, it must be unwavering. Purpose is all about knowing who you are and never losing sight of why you came. Commitment is a personal responsibility to the first two. I believe if you can combine all three with whatever your dream may be, no matter how farfetched it may seem to you today, then you are on your way!
I have observed firsthand that you are an incredibly generous person. You are involved with many charities. Tell us more about all the initiatives you are currently a part of?
Thank you! Beyond racing, my greatest purpose in life is to serve others and there are some great organizations in my area that I’ve been fortunate enough to donate my time to because I believe in their missions. I’m the official Brand Ambassador for the Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, the state’s largest of its kind, which combats food insecure households. I’m also a regular visitor at the Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis—a shelter for kids who are either homeless or experiencing insufficient care at home, as well as the local children’s hospital. Eventually, I’d like to start a foundation for youth with disabilities or diseases who aspire to be pro athletes!
A few years back, you got diagnosed with Diabetes. How does that condition impact your life and what diet changes if any has it brought upon you?
I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes towards the end of my second tour in Iraq with the U.S. Army. There’s never a good time to learn you have a new disease, much less during a war, but I had more of a personal connection to the news because it’s the same disease that took my mom when I was a young teen. This is my chance to beat what she couldn’t, and I do that by taking 4 shots of insulin per day and closely monitoring my blood glucose levels and my carb intake. When I’m at the gym, in the simulator or in the race car and I need those carbs, I like to reach for something fun like Gutzy, that won’t spike my sugar.
What’s next for Kristian?
The team and I are putting together an America’s Rallycross Series program, beginning with testing this month, before we tackle the ARX Combine at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October. It’s all aimed at competing for a full schedule next year, while we are still putting the funding together for our Road to Indy/IndyCar goals. Aside from that, I’m really excited about the upcoming release of my first children’s book “Faster and Faster: A children’s guide to Motorsport” fore-worded by Robby Unser!
If you are interested to find out more about Kristian, check https://www.facebook.com/KristianAleixoOfficial/