RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. – The opportunities are flowing thick and fast for 2016 Team USA Scholarship winners Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood. Following their impressive performances in England recently at the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy, the two teenagers from Jupiter, Fla., now have set their sights on the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout which will take place next week at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
The shootout will be contested by 18 drivers representing nine countries and no fewer than five continents who have earned their positions via a variety of feeder series or alternate selection processes. The competition will commence with an orientation day next Monday, December 5, followed by two days of on-track action. The winner, to be determined by a panel of judges representing Mazda and Andersen Promotions, will be awarded a scholarship prize of $200,000 to assist in graduation to the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
USF2000 represents the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, a unique driver development ladder which offers opportunities for talented youngsters to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
“I am extremely grateful to have been given the ticket to compete at the Mazda Road to Indy shootout through the Team USA Scholarship and I hope to keep up my momentum after my experience in England at the Walter Hayes Trophy and Formula Ford Festival,” said 19-year-old Askew, who finished on the podium in five of his six races in the UK. “This is a huge opportunity for me. It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires and I believe it is the next appropriate step for my career.”
“I feel very fortunate to be part of the group of very talented drivers competing for the MRTI $200k Scholarship,” added 18-year-old Kirkwood. “Luckily, I have had an immense amount of track time starting with the trip to England. While most drivers have been relaxing during the off-season, I have been at a track most days of every week. Honestly, since the beginning of October I have been busier than ever, which will give me confidence going into the event, and I also have two race weekends under my belt at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with Skip Barber in the past.
“I really don’t know what to expect from the drivers; all I know is that every single one of them is exceptional in their own way. It will be great to learn from them and it will be interesting to see what the judges think! I know the Team USA Scholarship program will help hugely with this shootout. What we learned in England will be very vital information during the whole event.”
About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda Performance Development, Basecamp, Robertson Racing, CXC Simulations, Lucas Oil School of Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Bell Racing, RACER Magazine, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.