Shea Holbrook gears up to defend “Fireball Run” title

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One of the more unique racing-related events is “Fireball Run,” an eight-day, 2,500-mile rally across America’s western states done for a good cause – to help raise awareness for America’s missing children.

Professional racecar driver Shea Holbrook, of Groveland, Fla., is back to defend her Sedan class title in the event this year with longtime friend Tarah Mikacich, a professional wakeboarder. Holbrook drives and manages her own team in the Pirelli World Challenge sports car championship.

An intense pink-and-white livery will adorn the pair’s 2013 Honda Civic Si courtesy of HendrickHonda.com and HendrickCars.com, with support from partners TrueCar, Lucas Oil, Sportique Brands, K&N Filters and BeatByAGirl.org.

In an era where technology is so prevalent, in terms of GPS and other apps available to help driving, Holbrook will have to rely on some “old school” technology – maps and an atlas – to help complete the rally.

“This year I’m particularly excited because our route goes through awesome geographical areas!” she said. “It will definitely be a test as we’ve been told to have an atlas and they’re recommending a CV radio to communicate with other teams (that’s if you make alliances!) So, I believe the teams will be relying more off each other this time around and let’s face it, in this game you have to watch your back!”

The first few days will be in Colorado, with the race starting in Longmont. Colorado has been through some devastating floods recently and Holbrook hopes this rally can provide a positive jolt of energy to the community.

“The start will be very interesting this year. Recently, there’s been terrible flooding in our starting location, Longmont, CO,” she said. “Fireball Run brings good in many ways and is economically great for the towns we go through. I hope we can help Longmont get back on their feet and dry that town out!”

Local supporters, fans and media are welcome to meet the teams at each destination and fans nationwide can follow the adventure LIVE on FireballRun.com/LIVE beginning Friday September 20.

Further information on Holbrook’s 2013 “Fireball Run” effort can be found here via the Pirelli World Challenge website. A recap of her 2012 experience is linked here in this RACER magazine blog entry.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne