Following an intense interview session in front of an illustrious group of industry professionals during the IndyCar Series weekend at Mid-Ohio last month, six candidates for this year's Team USA Scholarships have been selected to move forward to a shootout next week.
The final leg of the selection process will continue Aug. 26-28 at Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla., where the contenders will partake in a variety of assessments, both on and off the track. The candidates will not only put their driving skills to the test in a USF2000 Van Diemen-Mazda provided by Jay Green of JAY Motorsports, but the talented six will also encounter a fitness test, devised by Jim Leo of PitFit Training in conjunction with Anders Krohn and Jonny Baker of Co-Force International, and attend a seminar on Mental Preparation hosted by noted expert Dr. Jacques Dallaire, founder of Performance Prime and highly acclaimed author of Performance Thinking.
The six finalists are:
• Joey Bickers, 21, from Seattle, Wash. - currently second in the Pacific F1600 Series (3 wins)
• Jake Eidson, 18, from Littleton, Colo. - F1600 Championship Series points leader (6 wins)
• Sean Rayhall, 18, from Winston, Ga. - Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites points leader (5 wins)
• Skylar Robinson, 17, From Augusta, Ga. - BRSCC Avon Tires FF1600 series in England (3 wins)
• Adrian Starrantino, 18, from Simi Valley, Calif. - currently second in the F1600 Championship Series (3 wins)
• Aaron Telitz, 21, from Birchwood, Wis. - currently third in the F1600 Championship Series (1 win)
The six finalists are competing for the opportunity to represent Team USA in England at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, which attracts well over 100 contenders from around the globe to the traditional end-of-the season event. The two recipients selected for the Team USA Scholarship will gain the opportunity to add themselves to the list of Team USA drivers who have previously won the Walter Hayes Trophy (named in honor of the founding father of Formula Ford): Conor Daly, who took top honors in 2008, Connor De Phillippi (2009) and most recently Tristan Nunez (2012).
“This year's candidates have made the selection process even more difficult because the standard has been so high,” said Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. “With the help of our generous partners, including Andersen RacePark, Cooper Tires, JAY Motorsports and Pelfrey Performance, we are able to host this shootout opportunity and give some more talented young drivers a chance to excel in the racing industry and continue the tradition of Team USA Scholarship drivers progressing up the racing ladder. Now the decisions will become even harder.”