Both Jimmy Vasser, who secured the inaugural Scholarship in 1990, and Bryan Herta, the 1991 winner, are now successful car owners in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Other notable alumni include Buddy Rice, Paul Edwards, Andy Lally, Joey Hand, A.J. Allmendinger, Bryan Sellers, Charlie Kimball, JR Hildebrand, Dane Cameron, Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly who continue to display their talents in a variety of top-tier championships.
As usual, a list of candidates will be identified, from which two or more winners will be selected. Eligible drivers will be drawn from a variety of disciplines, including the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Powered by Mazda, the Bondurant Racing Series, SCCA, the F1600 Formula F Championship Series, the Pacific Formula F Super Series, Corsa Car Care Presents Pacific F2000, the F2000 Championship Series and the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda.
"For the first time in many years, there is now a natural progression of championships that will take youngsters from karting to the top levels of racing in North America – be that the IZOD IndyCar Series, American Le Mans Series, Rolex Grand-Am or NASCAR Sprint Cup," says Team USA Scholarship founder and longtime auto racing writer and broadcaster Jeremy Shaw. "In particular, the Mazda Road to Indy offers funded opportunities for gifted drivers to progress through the Skip Barber program or the Bondurant Racing Series into USF2000, Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights and then the IZOD IndyCar Series. The overall prospects for young drivers have never been better.
"The Team USA Scholarship adds an extra dimension to that ladder of progression and is proud to have support from a wide variety of partners from within the North American racing community."
The method by which this year's Scholarship winners are determined will be announced in the near future, but the candidates will be selected over the course of the next six weeks.
"There is a rich vein of talented young drivers in North America," says Shaw. "Our intention this year is to field cars in both the Formula Ford Kent Festival at Brands Hatch, England, and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, as has become the norm in recent seasons, as well as an additional entry in the premier Duratec division of the Formula Ford Festival. We will be taking into account the candidates' level of experience before deciding what is the most appropriate arena for them to be competing, in order to give them the best chance to shine."
The Team USA Scholarship has been helping young American drivers since 1990 and is supported by Doug Mockett & Company, Road Racing Drivers Club, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Walldinger Racing, Robo-Pong, Highcroft Racing, INDYCAR's Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda, Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, Honda Performance Development, Silicon Salvage, McMurry Inc., Robertson Racing, PitFit Training, Sparco USA, eFormulaCarNews.com, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group as well as numerous past Scholarship winners.
For more information, please visit www.TeamUSAScholarship.org