For the second year running, two of the staunchest supporters of up-and-coming open-wheel racers — the Lucas Oil School of Racing and Cooper Tires — will join forces to host the Team USA Scholarship shootout. The two-day assessment will take place early next month at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Six talented young Americans will take the challenge, from which two will be invited to represent their country at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in October and November, respectively.
The six finalists (listed below with age, hometown and current racing affiliation) represent a variety of racing categories and were selected from an original group of 11 candidates following assessments carried out before and during the NTT IndyCar Series event at Mid-Ohio in late July:
- Prescott Campbell, 18, Newport Beach, Calif., Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series
- Josh Green, 16, Mount Kisco, N.Y., F1600 Championship Series
- Scott Huffaker, 19, Menlo Park, Calif., IMSA Prototype Challenge
- Spike Kohlbecker, 16, St. Louis, Mo., BRSCC Avon Tires British Formula Ford 1600 Championship
- Michael Myers, 17, Lizton, Ind., Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series
- Alex Scaler, 21, Flemington, N.J., SCCA/F1600 Championship Series
Other candidates under consideration included Christian Brooks, 18, from Santa Clarita, Calif.; Jack Dorsey, 16, from Indianapolis, Ind.; Nicky Hayes, 17, from Huntington Beach, Calif.; Jackson Lee, 16, from Avon, Ind.; and Dylan Murry, 17, from Cumming, Ga., although both Brooks and Hayes indicated at an early stage they would be unable to travel to England due to previous race commitments.
“The selection process doesn’t get any easier,” said Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. “I believe the future of American open-wheel racing is in good hands. This year’s class is extremely accomplished. It was difficult enough to whittle the list down to six finalists, and it will be even harder to select just two winners.”
Notable recipients dating back to the initial scholarship search almost 30 years ago in 1990 include IndyCar stars Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta and 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, as well as current NTT IndyCar Series drivers Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot, Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly; rising stars Oliver Askew, Kyle Kirkwood and Braden Eves; as well as sports car champions Dane Cameron, Connor De Phillippi, Joey Hand, Trent Hindman, Andy Lally and Bryan Sellers.
Newgarden, Pigot and Daly were joined by several other notable figures from the auto racing world (including Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Managing Director Mike Hull) during the initial selection process, sharing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the group.
Judges for the Road America shootout, which will utilize the Lucas Oil School of Racing’s Ray GR-RSC cars with a fresh set of Cooper tires for each candidate, will comprise a similarly accomplished group, among them veteran racer and TV pundit David Hobbs; ArmsUp Motorsports team owner Gregg Borland; driver coach Steve Welk; Kelly Jones of RaceCraft1 Simulator Training; and former Team USA Scholarship winner Michai Stephens. The candidates also will undergo a fitness assessment with renowned expert Jim Leo, President of PitFit Training.