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.