Bickers, Eidson named Team USA Scholarship winners for 2013

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The unofficial “patron saint of American open-wheel racing,” renowned talent spotter and commentator Jeremy Shaw, has made his selection for the annual Team USA Scholarship. Joey Bickers and Jake Eidson are this year’s recipients. Full release is below:

After a hard-fought shootout among six talented candidates, young Americans Joey Bickers and Jake Eidson have been selected to carry the patriotic red-white-and-blue colors of the Team USA Scholarship in two prestigious end-of-season Formula Ford events in England.

The pair will follow in the footsteps of an illustrious group of former scholarship winners including Jimmy Vasser, who was the inaugural recipient in 1990, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally, Joey Hand, A.J. Allmendinger, Charlie Kimball, J.R. Hildebrand, Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot and Matthew Brabham.

source:
Joey Bickers

Bickers, 21, from Moorpark, Calif., a front-runner in this year’s Pacific F1600 Series in his very first season of racing, and Eidson (pronounced “EDD-sun”), 18, from Littleton, Colo., who was recently crowned champion of the East Coast-based F1600 Championship Series, will travel to England in October to begin preparations for the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on October 26-27 and the following weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on November 2-3. The pair will drive race-winning Ray GR08 Formula Ford cars prepared by Cliff Dempsey Racing.

“Words cannot explain how honored I am to be given this opportunity,” said Bickers. “Since the start of my racing career, my number one goal has been to learn as quickly as I can. Going to England as a part of the Team USA Scholarship, I am sure that I will continue to learn many valuable lessons about professional racing both on and off the track.

“It means so much to join a long list of successful graduates such as Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta. I am very excited, and ready to give my maximum effort on and off track, and carry on the prestige of the Team USA Scholarship.”

source:
Jake Eidson

“Being selected as a Team USA Scholarship driver is a dream come true, especially knowing the number of successful drivers who have come through this program in the past,” added Eidson, a proven winner who also has three Skip Barber Racing Championships under his belt. “Having the opportunity to be in the same position as they were in their early racing careers is an incredible honor. Last year I was able to compete in England with Cliff Dempsey Racing where I gained a great amount of additional knowledge and plan to apply that to the Team USA Scholarship. I want to thank Jeremy Shaw, the RRDC, SAFEisFAST, all the supporters of the Team USA Scholarship, and everyone involved in the selection process for making this possible.”

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.