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Mazda scholarship winner Portante joins Belardi Auto Racing for USF2000
For the second year in a row, a MAZDASPEED Scholarship winner has chosen Belardi Auto Racing to compete in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda Championship.

Peter Portante, 16, who won the Skip Barber Race Series Championship Shootout at Road Atlanta in December, has signed with the Mazda Road to Indy team for the 2013 season.

"Being a huge fan of formula car racing, I always wanted to give road racing a shot, but with continued success in oval cars we found it tough to make the change," Portante said. "Once we learned about Skip Barber and what they had to offer, it seemed like a no-brainer to us, so we made the switch while running a limited late model season."

Portante participated in the Shootout, a rigorous three-day process of media training, fitness evaluation, and business proposal evaluation on top of the race events.

"If it was not for Skip Barber and the Mazda Road to Indy's Scholarship program we would never be in the position to have signed with a team like Belardi Auto Racing for our first USF2000 season," Portante said. "I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am to be with such a strong team and able to move to the next step of the Mazda Road to Indy."

Said team owner Brian Belardi: "It is awesome to see the Mazda Road to Indy continue to be a choice for young open-wheel drivers, and we are really excited to have Peter make the next step with us. It's great to have another MAZDA Scholarship driver join our team, too, and we couldn't be happier to have it be someone as talented and driven as Portante."

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