Rice, Sielsky Win 1997 Team USA Scholarships

Written by Team USA. Posted in Team USA News

Published on August 16, 1997 with No Comments

Aug 16, 1997
Buddy Rice, 21, from Phoenix, Ariz., and Matt Sielsky, 19, from Northbrook, Ill., have been selected as winners of the 8th annual Valvoline Team USA Scholarship.
The pair will fly Team USA colors in the EFDA Formula Opel European Union Series Nations Cup VIII event at Donington Park, England, on October 19. Their quest will be to improve upon the Silver Medal finish earned by last year’s Team USA representatives, Jerry Nadeau and Tony Renna.

Rice and Sielsky were selected from a group of seven finalists who met last weekend at Mid-Ohio with an illustrious panel of judges including Valvoline Director of Sports Marketing Mark Coughlan; CART President Andrew Craig; reigning CART PPG Indy Car World Series Champion Jimmy Vasser, PPG Cup series rival – and fellow former Valvoline Team USA Scholarship winner – Bryan Herta; and team owners Steve Horne (Tasman), Bruce McCaw (PacWest) and Barry Green.

The other drivers who earned consideration for the scholarship were Andy Lally, 22, from Northport, N.Y., and Jeff Shafer, 22, from Hollywood, Calif., both of whom competed against Rice and Sielsky in the United States Formula Ford 2000 National Championship; Barber Dodge Pro Series competitors Chris Menninga, 22, from Pella, Iowa, and Rocky Moran Jr., 17, from Coto de Caza, Calif., who will be racing this weekend at Road America; and Mikel Miller, 21, a front-runner in the West Coast-based Star Formula Mazda Championship.

“To be perfectly honest, it was a very difficult task to pick two drivers from such an impressive group,” said CART President Andrew Craig. “They were all extremely professional in their approach. The depth of talent clearly bodes well for the future of North American auto racing.”

“It’s a great honor to follow in the footsteps of people like Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta, who have won the scholarship before and gone on to greater things,” said Sielsky. “I hope that bodes well for both Buddy and I in the future.”

Added Rice: “This will be a wonderful opportunity to race in a different environment and gain some more experience and exposure. I’ve heard a great deal about the Nations Cup event. I know we’re going to have our work cut out to do as well as Jerry and Tony last year but I can assure everyone that we will do our very best to carry on their good work.”

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