Cory Witherill is a full blooded native American Navajo racing driver from Los Angeles competing in the Infiniti Pro Series, Indy Racing League, and ARCA series. In 2001 he became the first and only full-blooded native American to race in the Indy 500.
From Los Angeles, California, Cory Witherill is a full blooded Native American from the Navajo tribe. He was adopted in 1972 and has searched unsuccessfully for his birth family for a number of years.
Cory got his start racing in ATV events in 1987, and he soon developed into a successful competitor in off-road modified buggies, where he is still considered to be "the man to beat in off-road racing." He has won two U.S. championships for off-road stadium racing, and in 2000, became the first person to be a four-time champion at the Motocross Valvoline de Montreal.
He also competed in the Shelby Pro Series, Formula Ford 2000 and the Toyota World Sports Series.
In 1998 he made his Indy Lights debut in a four race schedule that included Portland, Vancouver, Laguna Seca and California. He won the Dayton over to the Front Award at Laguna Seca for improving more race positions than any other driver (11). He finished twelfth in the Laguna Seca race to earn his first championship point. He made a charge from fourteenth to lead at California Speedway where he finished fourth in his first Indy Lights oval race. Cory won the PACE U.S. Off Road Championship in the Super 1600 dune buggy class.
Cory finished his first full season in 1999 which was highlighted by a fourth place finish at the California Speedway finale for the second-straight year. Cory finished seven of twelve races. He had other points finishes at Toronto (11th), Detroit (12th) and Laguna Seca (11th). He finished eighteenth in the championship with 17 points. He won the PACE U.S. Off Road Championship in the Super 1600 dune buggy class for the second-straight year. He also won Super 1600 dune buggy class race in the Valvoline Motocross of Montreal for the third time in five years.
He passed his Indy Racing League rookie test at Kentucky Speedway with Indy Regency Racing. Competed in part of Dayton Indy Lights season for Indy Regency Racing after starting with Genoa Racing. Competed in off-road racing, winning Valvoline de Montreal Off Road Championship and finishing second in PACE U.S. Stadium Off Road Championship. Drove in select SCRA sprint car races.
2001 Competed in first Indy Racing event at Atlanta, finishing 22nd after being involved in an accident. Started 31st and finished 19th as Indianapolis 500 rookie. Competed in Indy Lights, finishing 11th in points, best finish was sixth at Kansas Speedway . Drove in select SCRA sprint car races.
2002, with the collapse of the IRL team he drove for, Cory raced in the new 7 race Infinity Pro Series, a development series for Indy cars. Cory had all podium finishes for Indy Cars in the four races he finished. He ended with one first, one second, and two third place finishes. The other three races were ended prematurely due to two different engine failures and being taken out at the start by another car.
He continued in the Infinity Pro Series in 2003 is now attempting to be come the first full-blooded native American in NASCAR.
He created Team Diabetes Racing (TDR) in 2003 as the focal point of his fight against the diabetes epidemic that is ravaging Native Americans more that any other group. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one tribe in Arizona has “the highest rate in the world” of diabetes. The disease afflicts 50 percent of its adults aged 30 to 64.