Six Finalists Impress during Team USA Scholarship Shootout at Auto Club Speedway
Experience Includes PitFit Training and Performance Prime Seminars, Plus Allen Berg Racing School Shootout
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (September 4, 2015) – A half-dozen talented young American race car drivers yesterday completed an intense two-day assessment at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., comprising a variety of activities both on and off the race track. Two of the six will be selected to travel to England and represent the Team USA Scholarship, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, in the traditional Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford event at Silverstone in late October/early November.
The six finalists were chosen from a group of 12 candidates who attended an interview process during the recent IMSA Road Racing Showcase event at Road America (from l. to r.):
• Michai Stephens, 23, Evanston, Ill., F1600 Championship Series • Tommy McCarthy, 16, Fremont, Calif., SCCA Spec Miata/USAC midgets • Austin McCusker, 17, Glen Head, NY, F2000 Championship Series • Timo Reger, 18, Houston, Texas, Skip Barber Racing Series • Dakota Dickerson, 18, San Diego, Calif., Skip Barber Racing Series/Spec Miata • Ben Auriemma, 17, Manhasset, N.Y., F1600 Championship Series
The shootout experience began Wednesday with a pair of seminars hosted by Jim Leo of Indianapolis, Ind.-based PitFit Training, an industry leader in the development and implementation of motorsports-specific human performance training, and Dr. Jacques Dallaire of Charlotte, N.C.-based Performance Prime, who over the course of the past 40 years has developed and delivered and products that are performance-oriented designed to help individuals and teams realize their competitive goals.
The action shifted the following morning to the 1.47-mile infield road course where three Tatuus Formula Renault 1.6 cars from the Allen Berg Racing School were employed amongst two groups of three drivers. Each competitor began the day on a fresh set of Cooper racing tires to ensure an equal opportunity for all.
Judges on the day included former Team USA Scholarship winners Buddy Rice, winner of the 2004 Indianapolis 500, and Joel Miller, who currently drives for the factory Mazda sports car team, plus two-time Grand-Am sports car champion Alex Gurney, accomplished race engineers Geoff Fickling, Gerald Tyler and Kent Stacy, RACER magazine founder and president Paul Pfanner (who was one of the originators of the program in 1990), Automobile Magazine contributing writer and racer Preston Lerner, documentary film maker Libero “Tony” DiZinno and Team USA Scholarship founder and president Jeremy Shaw.
Following analysis of all the data collected on the day, a final decision as to who will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Rice, Miller, Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta and Josef Newgarden, to name just a few, will be made within two weeks.
About Team USA Scholarship: The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Team Penske, Mazda, Chip Ganassi Racing, Basecamp.com, Afterburner Autosport, Honda Performance Development, Robertson Racing, Masters HGP, Allen Berg Racing Schools, Ellis Clowes North America, Co-Force International, Race Hero, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, RACER Magazine, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.
For more information, please visit www.TeamUSAScholarship.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Salvador Ochoa.