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A half-dozen hopefuls are at Road America, hoping to become part of the 30th class of Team USA Shootout scholarship winners

A shootout to select the two drivers that will represent the 30th anniversary class of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship is currently underway at the iconic Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

A total of 11 drivers began the selection process with a video introduction and meet and greet with the judges at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the NTT IndyCar Series race weekend in August.

From those 11, a half-dozen drivers were selected to take part in the shootout that utilizes the Lucas Oil School of Racing cars, the Official Driving School of the Road To Indy.

The six drivers hoping to win on of the two prestigious Team USA Scholarship slots that will send them to the UK this fall (Photo Courtesy of Team USA Scholarship Twitter)

Prescott Campbell, an 18-year-old from Newport Beach, Calif. is joined by Scott Huffaker, 19-years-old, from Menlo Park, Calif. in representing the West Coast.

Campbell won the inaugural Lucas Oil School of Racing / Cooper Tires Karting Scholarship Shoot-out and currently sits fourth in the 2019 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series despite missing a round due to injury. Campbell spent the “Month of May” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway embedded with the Dale Coyne Racing With Vasser-Sullivan racing team, performing typical gopher jobs.

Huffaker won the 2015 Pacific Formula F1600 championship before moving onto and finishing second in the 2016 Pacific Formula F2000 championship. In 2019, Huffaker made a move to sports cars and is contesting the IMSA Prototype Challenge season. His best finish along with teammate Chris Archinaco is second place in a three-hour race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Representing the Mid West portion of the country are Spike Kohlbecker, a 16-year-old from St. Louis, Mo. and Michael Myers, a 17-year-old from Lizton, Ind.

Kohlbecker finished thrid in the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship Series (Ontario Formula Ford) last year before moving to the United Kingdom this year to take part in the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship where he has two wins and eight podiums.

Currently, the 2019 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series points leader, Michael Myers is a newcomer to formula car racing. However, the Hoosier is not entirely new to four-wheel competition. Myers has an extensive resume of ATV wins and championships to his name.

Josh Green, a 16-year-old from Mount Kisco, N.Y. and 21-year-old Alex Scaler from Flemington, N.J. are representing the East Coast.

Green made his USF2000 debut at Portland International Raceway last weekend, collecting an impressive top ten finish in race #2. Green drives for Team Pelfrey in the F1600 Championship Series series and is in championship contention with seven wins and 15 podiums.

Coming from an SCCA background, Scaler has significant experience in car preparation and has been quick in his limited opportunities behind the wheel.

“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.”

As always, it will be interesting to follow the winners as they take on the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone later this fall.

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A diverse group of 10 drivers highlight 2018 Team USA Scholarship Candidates

2018 Team USA Scholarship Candidate Selection Confirmed

LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 26, 2018) – The process of choosing two young American drivers to represent their country at a pair of premier Formula Ford events in the UK, the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, is under way. Ten drivers representing a broad cross section of race series not only in the U.S. but overseas have been selected as candidates for prestigious Team USA Scholarships. All have been invited to attend this week’s Honda Indy 200 Verizon IndyCar Series/Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, where their attributes and communication skills will be assessed by a collection of seasoned auto racing professionals.

The winners also will earn an invitation to the Mazda Road to Indy $200k USF2000 Scholarship Shootout – and a chance to emulate Oliver Askew, who secured both a Team USA Scholarship and the MRTI Scholarship in 2016. Askew went on to win the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and has now progressed onto the next level of the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel driver development ladder by competing in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

This will mark the 29th consecutive year in which the Team USA Scholarship has been providing young American drivers with opportunities to meet influential figures in the sport and contest some international events. Jimmy Vasser, who went on to win the 1996 CART IndyCar World Series and later become an Indianapolis 500 winning team owner, was the first recipient in 1990. Others to have followed in his footsteps include Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Indy 500 Rookies of the Year Phil Giebler and JR Hildebrand, current Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and rivals Charlie Kimball, Spencer Pigot and Conor Daly, plus sports car standouts Dane Cameron, Joel Miller, Joey Hand, Andy Lally, Bryan Sellers and Trent Hindman.

This year’s Team USA Scholarship candidates are (with age, hometown and current racing affiliation):
• Dario Cangialosi, 18, Chester, N.J., F1600 Championship Series
• Jake Craig, 20, Mission Viejo, Calif., F1600 Formula Tour Championship (Canada)
• Courtney Crone, 17, Corona, Calif., Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear
• Braden Eves, 19, New Albany, Ohio, F4 U.S. Championship powered by Honda
• Joey Essma, 21, Charlotte, N.C., F1600 Championship Series
• Nicky Hays, 16, Huntington Beach, Calif., SCCA Formula F
• Hunter McElrea, 18, Gold Coast, Qld., Australia, Australian Formula Ford Championship
• Colin Mullan, 16, Danville, Calif., IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
• Tyler O’Connor, 21, New Hartford, Conn., F1600 Championship Series
• Simon Sikes, 17, Martinez, Ga., F2000 Championship Series

The selection panel will include Pigot, Miller, Askew and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race winner (and 2014 Team USA alum) Aaron Telitz; Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull; Harding Racing VP Vince Kremer and Executive Consultant – and two-time Indy 500 winner – Al Unser Jr., Indy Lights team owner Brian Belardi; Cooper Tires Technical Consultant and five-time Indy 500 starter Johnny Unser; Mazda Motorsports’ Operations Manager Kyle Kimball; Mazda Road to Indy promoter Dan Andersen; American Honda Motorsports Manager T.E. McHale; Bell Racing USA Director of Motorsports Chris Wheeler; PitFit Training President Jim Leo; and RaceCraft1 Principal Kelly Jones.

The judges will be tasked initially with selecting six finalists who will be invited to attend a shootout in conjunction with the Lucas Oil School of Racing at a date and venue yet to be determined.

“It’s hard to comprehend that we have been running this program for so long but I am extremely proud of our alumni’s accomplishments and grateful to all of our partners for making it possible,” says Team USA Scholarship Founder and President Jeremy Shaw. “I believe we have assembled a strong group of candidates and look forward to seeing how they progress.”