It’s hard to argue with success. The inaugural Mazda Road to Indy Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca produced a scholarship winner who absolutely dominated the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Oliver Askew won half of the 14 events in 2017 in his first year of auto racing after launching his career in karts, and carries his scholarship to the Pro Mazda Championship for 2018.
“After we – business development manager Jim Bowie and myself – did the MRT24 shootout and the inaugural MRTI Shootout [in 2016] where they both went off without a hitch and we produced a USF2000 champion and a darned good MX-5 Cup competitor, we wanted to retire,” says Mazda Motorsports Operations Manager Kyle Kimball. “But John Doonan had other thoughts. So here we are again planning the shootouts and executing them. It is so much fun to see the up-and-coming talent and we want to provide an equal platform for these participants to compete.”
The 2017 Shootouts, from which Keith Donegan (MRTI) and Sellin Rollan (MRT24) emerged the scholarship winners, were conducted back to back at the Bondurant Racing School facility in Arizona in December. While the exact format for 2018 has not been decided, all involved were impressed by the way the Bondurant crew welcomed them and prepared the Formula Mazdas used in the MRTI Shootout and felt the track was a good facility to evaluate the drivers. Whatever the format, Mazda Motorsports and Andersen Promotions have chosen the series that are invited to participate.