Scott Huffaker: Beginning my Team USA journey

Image by Mike McGill/Les Tension Photography

Scott Huffaker: Beginning my Team USA journey

Team USA Scholarship

Scott Huffaker: Beginning my Team USA journey

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Scott Huffaker, 19, and Josh Green, 16, are the two most recent winners of prestigious Team USA Scholarships, following in the footsteps of a long line of talented former winners, including Josef Newgarden (2008), Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood (2016) and Braden Eves (2018), who last weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca completed an unprecedented clean sweep of the NTT IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 championship titles.

Huffaker and Green are traveling to England this week to begin preparations with Cliff Dempsey Racing for entry into the annual BRSCC Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, Oct. 26-27, and Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone, Nov. 2-3, and both will be sharing their experiences.

Here are Scott’s early thoughts:

In 2015, I was considered for the Team USA Scholarship but, unfortunately, I was too young at the time to be nominated. I never expected to be considered for the scholarship again, so it was quite a surprise when I received another phone call this year.

Racing an LMP3 car in the IMSA Prototype Challenge this year has been a new experience that I’ve really enjoyed, but all of my experience prior to 2019 was in formula cars. I’m so excited that the Team USA Scholarship is providing this opportunity for me to get back in a formula car and compete against some very talented drivers in Europe.

I was 5 years old when I started racing. I began with BMX bikes, moved into karting and then on to cars. I loved cars from a young age and knew that I needed to start with racing karts to ultimately progress to cars. My dad bought a kart for me when I was 7 and I started racing it when I was 8. My family started to take it more seriously after I won a couple of club championships, so we started traveling to bigger regional races, generally wherever we could find the strongest competitors. Then in my early teens, after winning a few championships, we decided it was time to move to cars.

In 2015, when I was 15 years old, I competed in my first full season program in a Formula F1600 car on the West Coast. It was a huge learning curve but it was also the most fun racing I had ever experienced. I won the championship and made the move to Formula Continental/F2000 the following year. The additional power and downforce of these cars really helped me to develop as a driver. After finishing third overall in the 2016 F2000 championship I began racing with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports in Fresno, Calif. I did a few F2000 races with PR1 in 2017, and then we began preparing for a full season of F4.

In 2018 with PR1 we won every race and the Formula Pro USA F4 Championship on the West Coast. We finished the year with a trip to Austin, Texas, to compete in the SCCA Pro Racing US F4 Championship F1 support race.

This year I moved into sports car racing with PR1 in the IMSA Prototype Challenge. Similar to my first year in cars, it has been a big learning curve with heavy, high horsepower/downforce cars, longer races, co-drivers and pit stops. After a two-hour drive and second-place finish at CTMP, Jeremy Shaw asked me to be a nominee for the Team USA Scholarship and I accepted immediately. I then had the opportunity to compete in a shootout with five other finalists in the Lucas Oil Racing School formula cars at Road America. Following the shootout Jeremy called and asked if I would like to go to England. I said yes, but was barely able to contain my excitement. I also found out that my Team USA Scholarship teammate would be Josh Green.

The Lucas Oil School Ray cars were tons of fun. Image by Mike McGill/Les Tension Photography

I am excited to drive some of the best tracks in England. I have watched many races on these tracks and now I will get to experience them myself. We’re planning to begin with a race at Oulton Park to get familiar with how the British FF races are conducted. Then we plan to practice at Donington Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch before competing in the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy races. I’m looking forward to working with the Cliff Dempsey Racing team. I’ve heard great things about them and I’m sure they have the experience and expertise to help Josh and I compete at the front.

Expert coaching during the shoot-out at Road America from previous Scholarship winner Michai Stephens.

I would like to thank Jeremy Shaw and everyone involved with the Team USA Scholarship, including all of the partners who make this possible. I would also like to thank my family, friends, Bobby and Lisa Oergel, and their entire PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports team who have all helped me continue to progress as a driver. Now I can’t wait to get started competing overseas.

– Scott

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