After four eventful days of driving education, seminars, on-track sessions and much deliberation, the winners of the 14th Annual Skip Barber Karting Shootout have been chosen. A total of 44 exceptionally talented karters competed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for over $200,000 in scholarships to further their motorsports career, courtesy of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development and the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund. It was no easy task for the panel of judges, including Skip Barber Racing School instructors, Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw and SPEED Channel personality Bob Varsha.
Trent Hindman, 15, of Wayside, N.J., and 15 year old Danilo Estrela of Long Branch, N.J., became the biggest winners of the weekend, each receiving a scholarship to compete in the full 2011 season of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, valued at $52,000 each. Both young drivers showed incredible skill both on and off the track, applying feedback and improving their on track performance.
15-year-old Tristan Nunez of Boca Ranton, Fla., won a scholarship for half of 2011 season of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. 17-year-old Canadian Stefan Rzadzinski received a full season in the Skip Barber Regional Race Series. There were three drivers who showed equal levels of talent and they were each given three half seasons in the Skip Barber Regional Race Series: 16-year-old Californian Kenton Koch, 15-year-old Canadian Scott Hargrove, and 14-year-old Californian Kyle Kaiser.
“As a father of the young driver who has been through the Barber system, I'd like to think I had a special feel for what the family goes through in a competition as tough as this one,” said Varsha. "I have to say selecting the winners from a field of young drivers is among the hardest things I have to do, because I know how much it means to everyone of them. Still there's a lot of satisfaction in helping somebody.”
The competitors learned skills that will not only save their lives but also help advance their careers. “It's what we're all about,” Michael Culver CEO of Skip Barber Racing School. “We're about teaching people how to drive better and it was very rewarding to see how quickly these kids got up to speed. Racing is in our DNA. This is the most important event in our calendar. It proves the fact that our system works.”
With the help of Dean Case from Mazda, Derek Daly, Varsha, Shaw and Skip Barber Racing School, these karters have bettered themselves as athletes and aspiring professional racecar drivers.
“There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction from being involved in a program like this,” said Shaw. “The overall quality of the drivers was very impressive. The Skip Barber Racing School organization does an awful lot of good for drivers young and old and it's good to see so much being put back into the sport.”