Shootout winner Askew aiming for USF2000 title in 2017
Oliver Askew, who last week won the Mazda Road To Indy $200k Scholarship Shootout, says he’s aiming to take that momentum into next season with a realistic tilt at winning the USF2000 championship.
The 19-year-old from Jupiter, Fla., won the prestigious Team USA Scholarship title along with karting rival Kyle Kirkwood and as part of his prize, raced in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.
After finishing second in the latter rain-soaked event, he beat 17 other drivers from around the world at last week’s Mazda Road To Indy’s inaugural $200k Scholarship Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The $200,000 scholarship will go toward a seat in a USF2000 team next year. And while he has not yet signed a deal, Askew has tested for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, in both the old Van Diemen and the new-for-2017 Tatuus USF-17 Mazda. The last five USF2000 champions have raced with Cape.
Said Askew: “I've prepared for this opportunity as much as I could. I knew this [Shootout] could be my chance to break through to the MRTI ladder.
“There is no other young driver support system in the world like the one Mazda has put together. I am very proud to be a part of their program and I will be working very hard to prepare for what’s to come.
“I want to keep this momentum going and fight for the USF2000 championship next year,” he continued. “I want to thank everyone who has believed in me and supported me through these past few months.
“The Team USA Scholarship has opened more doors for me than I could have ever imagined and I will be forever grateful.”
Askew earned an introduction to the Team USA Scholarship by virtue of some success in a couple of Formula Masters China events in 2015 and a one-off appearance earlier this year in a Skip Barber Racing Summer Series at Road America.
He was invited to join a dozen other budding stars for a round of interviews during the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend at Mid-Ohio, then selected to contest a shootout hosted by Cooper Tires and the Lucas Oil School of Racing at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida.
Jeremy Shaw, founder of the Team USA Scholarship program, said: “Oliver has taken the bull by the horns and is reaping the benefits. I am proud of his progress these past few months.
“If he continues along this path I truly believe he has what it takes to establish a successful career in this sport.”
Since Jimmy Vasser won the Scholarship in its first year, 1990, the annual program has boosted the fledgling careers of drivers such as Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, AJ Allmendinger, Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly, among others.
Mazda honored by Autoweek magazine
Mazda has been named Mazda as “Constructor of the Year” in the annual Autoweek Awards.
The publication stated: From the grassroots to the highest levels of motorsports, nobody supports racing and racers quite like Mazda. For decades, the company has walked the walk, providing opportunities for drivers to try racing and often make a career in it.
The manufacturer holds a 55 percent share in grassroots racing and won five championships in the 2016 SCCA Runoffs.
John Doonan, director of Mazda North American Operations: “This recognition from Autoweek means so much to all of us associated with the Mazda brand and our Motorsports staff.
“We are grateful to be recognized in this special way. Our strategy of doing all we can to support racers is because of all us here are racers at heart. So much credit for this award goes to our thousands of Mazda racers nationwide, as they are the life-blood of everything we do."
Askew wins Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout
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