Team USA Scholarship Names Six Candidates for Auto Club Speedway Shootout

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Six young American drivers will converge on Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., next Monday, September 8, for a shootout to determine who will represent the Team USA Scholarship in the traditional Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, England, later in the fall.

This will be 25th year the scholarship has assisted promising American youngsters at an early stage in their careers. Jimmy Vasser was awarded the inaugural Team USA Scholarship in 1990. Subsequent winners have included Bryan Herta (1991), Buddy Rice (1997), A.J. Allmendinger (2001), Charlie Kimball (2003), J.R. Hildebrand (2005), Dane Cameron (2006), Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly (2008), Spencer Pigot (2010/2011) and Tristan Nunez and Matthew Brabham (2012).

This year’s candidates are:
•    Ben Auriemma, 16, from Manhasset, N.Y. – currently competing in the Skip Barber Summer Series (4 wins)
•    Tristan DeGrand, 18, from St. Louis, Mo. – leads two Canadian F1600 Championships (16 wins)
•    Kenton Koch (pronounced “Cook”), 20, from Glendora, Calif. – SCCA Mazda MX-5 Cup points leader (6 wins)
•    Garth Rickards, 21, from Mechanicsburg, Pa. – currently second in the F1600 Championship Series (8 podiums)
•    Michai (“Muh-KIE”) Stephens, 22, from Evanston, Ill. – competes in the Skip Barber Summer Series (4 wins)
•    Aaron Telitz, 22, from Birchwood, Wis. – finished fourth, Rookie of the Year in USF2000 (1 win, 6 podiums)

The shootout will be conducted on the Auto Club Speedway infield road course aboard FR1600 cars provided by Allen Berg Racing Schools, owned by Canadian ex-Formula 1 racer Allen Berg, and running on Cooper tires.

More information here via the Team USA Scholarship website.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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