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DATE News (chronologically)
07/28/07
Racing News
Team USA Scholarship launches new web site
For close to two decades, the Team USA Scholarship has been providing opportunities for young American race car drivers to hone their skills as they aspire toward higher echelons in the sport.

Now the quest for greater visibility is set to be realized by the launch of a new web site, http://www.teamusascholarship.org/, which provides a full history of the program as well as regular updates on its alumni. Another major goal of the web site is to provide background information and credentials to attract potential supporters. The site has been generated by the Manifest Group, based in Carlsbad, Calif.

The first Scholarship was awarded in 1990 to a talented young Californian who was struggling to make a name for himself in the Export-A Formula Ford 2000 series in Canada. His name was Jimmy Vasser. The Scholarship enabled Vasser to contest the prestigious Formula Ford Festival and World Cup at Brands Hatch, England. While the results were disappointing – Vasser was taken out in an incident on the first lap – the experience stood him in good stead, and the contacts he made were to prove crucial to his future.

“I had a fantastic time,” recalls Vasser. “I couldn’t believe how intense the whole thing was, and how competitive it was. We didn’t get the results we wanted but it was still a great experience.”

Vasser went on to drive for inaugural Team USA Scholarship supporter Rick Galles in the Atlantic series and in 1996 won a Champ Car crown with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. He remains one of the Scholarship’s staunchest supporters.

The following year’s Scholarship recipient was Bryan Herta, who went on to win the Indy Lights Championship and claim several Champ Car race wins. These days he drives a factory-supported Acura for Andretti Green Racing in the LMP2 category of the American Le Mans Series.

Other Team USA Scholarship winners over the years include Memo Gidley (1995), who last weekend finished on the podium in a Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series race in Alabama on his debut with Wayne Taylor’s SunTrust Racing team; Buddy Rice (1997), who won the 2004 Indianapolis 500 for Rahal Letterman Racing; Paul Edwards (1998), who won the most recent Rolex GT series race in a factory-supported Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R; Andy Lally (1999), who is a regular winner in a variety of sports car classes; A.J. Allmendinger (2001), winner of five Champ Car World Series events in 2006 and now driving for Red Bull Toyota in the NASCAR Nextel Cup; J.R. Hildebrand (2005), driver for Newman-Wachs Racing in the Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda; and Dane Cameron (2006), runaway leader in this year’s Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear.

Team USA Scholarship supporters include Doug Mockett & Company, a Torrance, Calif.-based producer and supplier of “Fine Architectural Hardware For Your Fine Furniture,” American Honda, Snap-on Tools, “Stars of Karting,” Sparco USA, RACER magazine, FormulaCar Magazine, Speedstar Management, Manifest Group, The Print Network, AutoRacing1.com, and an array of past Scholarship winners.

For more information, please contact Jeremy Shaw on 949-766-9504 or by email: JShaw@TeamUSAScholarship.org

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