Team USA Scholarship new partners 2009-10-09

Cooper Tire and Robo-Pong Join Band of Team USA Scholarship Supporters Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (October 9, 2009) -- The Team USA Scholarship is proud to announce that Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and Robo-Pong have joined a growing band...

Cooper Tire and Robo-Pong Join Band of Team USA Scholarship Supporters

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (October 9, 2009) -- The Team USA Scholarship is proud to announce that Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and Robo-Pong have joined a growing band of supporters who share a vision for promoting the careers of talented young American race car drivers.

Cooper Tire, based in Findlay, Ohio, has been building its reputation for quality products and customer service for more than three-quarters of a century. Tennessee-based Robo-Pong by Newgy Industries is the world leader in table tennis (ping-pong) robot machines. Robo-Pong is used by professional and Olympic table tennis players as part of their training regime.

The Team USA Scholarship program was founded in 1990, when a promising Formula Ford 2000 driver named Jimmy Vasser was chosen to fly his nation's colors in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival and World Cup at Brands Hatch, England. Vasser went on to a successful career that included winning the 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series title. He is now co-owner of the KV Racing Technology IndyCar Series team. Subsequent scholarship winners include Champ Car and IndyCar Series race winner -- and current Firestone Indy Lights team owner -- Bryan Herta; 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice; 2007 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler; American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series sports car champions Paul Edwards and Andy Lally; NASCAR race winner Jerry Nadeau; current NASCAR Sprint Cup rising star A.J. Allmendinger; and recently crowned Firestone Indy Lights Champion J.R. Hildebrand.

Connor De Phillippi, 16, from San Clemente, Calif., and Brett Smrz, 18, from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, were named recently as winners of 2009 Team USA Scholarships. The pair will contest both the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone later this month. Incidentally, neither De Phillippi (pronounced "DEE Phi-LEE-pi) and Smrz ("Smerz") was born when Vasser first flew the Team USA Scholarship colors in 1990!

"The history and people associated with the Team USA Scholarship speaks for itself," says Chris Pantani, director of motorsports and event marketing for Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. "Cooper Tire's supporting of the Team USA Scholarship helps unify a motorsport community around a couple of young driver's chances of achieving their dreams."

"Brett Smrz and Connor De Phillippi, 2009's Team USA Scholarship drivers, are both very strong competitors and admirable choices to represent this long standing tradition in American motor sport," adds Robo-Pong's Joey Newgarden. "Robo-Pong is very proud to be associated with and to contribute in any way we can to the program that was so instrumental in launching Josef Newgarden's career in European formula car racing just last year."

De Phillippi and Smrz will fly to Europe on Sunday to commence preparations for their racing activities.

Cooper Tire and Robo-Pong join an illustrious and well-established group of Team USA Scholarship supporters including Doug Mockett & Company, Road Racing Drivers Club, Highcroft Racing, American Honda, Dyson Racing, Metalore, McMurry Inc., The Gorsline Company, Integrated Performance Technology, PitFit Training, Sparco USA, OnCars.com, eFormulaCarNews.com, Speedstar Management, Manifest Group and an array of past Scholarship winners.

For more information, please visit www.TeamUSAScholarship.org.

-credit: jeremy shaw

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About this article
Series Automotive
Drivers Paul Edwards , Jerry Nadeau , Jimmy Vasser , Bryan Herta , Andy Lally , Buddy Rice , Phil Giebler , Doug Mockett , Josef Newgarden , Brett Smrz
Teams KV Racing Technology , Dyson Racing