Californian Bobby Kelley will drive for ArmsUp Motorsports in the opening two races of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at Sebring on March 15-16 – his prize for winning the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine last December.
Kelley, 19, from Riverside, Calif., represented the International Karting Federation at the two-day trial, held at Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla., beating out nine other talented young racers from an array of karting series and other developmental categories. The competitive element of the Combine, which also included a business of racing seminar, comprised driving a USF2000 car, interacting with driver coaches and a race engineer and mock media interviews.
“We are pleased to have Bobby Kelley competing in the Sebring rounds of USF2000 as the winner of the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine,” said Jason Penix, director of grass-roots initiatives for IndyCar. “He quickly showed the panel of judges his strengths both on and off the track. Our main goal of the Combine was to provide opportunities and discover emerging talent from the ranks of karting and we feel that Bobby is an excellent example of that. We look forward to seeing what he can do against an extremely talented USF2000 field.”
Kelley will drive a National Class car for the Elkhart Lake, Wis.-based team in the pair of races which have attracted a field of over 35 cars. The event will run as a supporting show for the 60th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
"I am excited to be competing in the USF2000 opener at Sebring with Gregg Borland and ArmsUp Motorsports,” said Kelley (with USF2000 manager Dan Andersen, ABOVE). “I am thankful to be given such a great opportunity in my freshman year of open-wheel racing. My intentions for Sebring will be to finish on the podium and I know ArmsUp Motorsports has the ability to get me there. Sebring is a great track and I am excited to be competing at the 60th anniversary of its running.
“The Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine is a great opportunity for drivers trying to further their career in open-wheel racing from kart racing. I thought the program was a great experience and I was happy to be a part of the inaugural Combine. I would like to thank everyone who took part in setting up this program and giving me the opportunity to race in the USF2000 series.”
Kelley will gain his first experience of the No. 59 Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine Van Diemen during a series test day at Sebring on March 13, but ArmsUp Motorsports principal Gregg Borland has no doubt that Kelley will prove to be competitive.
“Everyone at ArmsUp Motorsports is very excited to have Bobby racing with us at Sebring,” said Borland. “When I saw him drive at the Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine I was very impressed with his speed and consistency. I think with our knowledge of the USF2000 car in club spec and Bobby's speed, we have a very good shot at the podium in what is going to be a very tough National field.”