ANOTHER RISING STAR ON THE HORIZON
Drive4USA racer Dane Cameron wins the SCCA Formula Russell Championship Presented by Yokohama with 6 victories, 7 pole positions and 10 podiums in 14 races
Dane Cameron, the 16 year-old 2005 Drive4USA racer from Sonoma, California who has been dominating the SCCA Formula Russell Championship Presented by Yokohama th on the championship this past weekend at Infineon Raceway with his 5th and 6 victories, both from the pole and the final one with a 20-second margin of victory.
With 14 of the scheduled 15 races run so far in the 2005 season, Cameron's record includes six victories (four of them leading flag-to-flag), seven pole positions, two 2nd-place finishes and two 3rds for a total of 10 podium finishes in 14 races.
"It's been one of those dream seasons that can really help a young driver's career, and I want to thank Rick Waddell and the Drive4USA program for making it possible," says Cameron, one of the youngest drivers in the series. "I've done pretty well in karts and cars up to this point, but this was the situation where it all came together and really showed that I have what it takes to win races and championships. In 2006 I'm hoping to run a program of Formula Ford 2000 and Ford Focus-powered midget racing to give me experience in both road racing and ovals so I'm ready for whatever opportunities come up."
Cameron has already shown a remarkable ability to adapt of changing situations. The SCCA Formula Russell Championship works to insure a level playing field for all of the 48 drivers competing each weekend. Drivers draw for which car they will be using, and four drivers per weekend race each car. The groups are broken up by points, with the fastest and most successful competing against each other, and Cameron has been in Group A all season long. In the final race of the weekend, he qualified on the pole in one car, which developed transmission troubles while being raced by another driver, forcing Cameron to race to victory in a backup car.
Cameron embarked this year on an ambitious program of racing both karts and cars, including the SCCA Formula Russell Championship. His karting program included competing in the ICC Pro 125 nd shifter class in the ESPN Russell Karting Championship (where he is currently 2 in the championship) and two Snap-On Stars of Karting races. Cameron races an Italkart `Rapido' chassis with a TM engine prepared by Italian Motors.
He laid the foundation for his success in 2005 with a noteworthy 2004 season in which he scored several top-5 finishes after a mid-season switch to the 125 ICC Super Pro karting class, and rd was chosen as a finalist in the 2004 Red Bull Driver Search. He also finished 3 among a group of 20 drivers in the Jim Russell Road Racing Scholarships Presented by Yokohama, a performance that earned him four fully-sponsored races in the 2005 ESPN Formula Russell Championship series.
Supporting Cameron's 2004 - 2005 program has been Rick Waddell's Drive4USA driver development program, Italian Motors, Italkart and Cameron Karting (Itlalkart's Northern California distributor).
The Drive4USA program sponsored Michael McDowell's championship- winning Star Formula Mazda campaign in 2004, and has also been involved in helping the careers of such young drivers as Pete Mercier, Case Montgomery, Andy Lally and partnered with Lynx Racing in assisting Grant Ryley and Bryan Sellers. Sellers is now driving for the factory Panoz team in the American LeMans series.
The drivers selected for the Drive4USA program are among the most promising young Americans competing in professional training-ground series. Drive4USA's sole objective is to assist American drivers gain experience and the funding needed to compete their way to the pinnacle of open-wheel racing.
Dane Cameron is the son of Finlay Motorsports engineer Rick Cameron, and nephew of Steve Cameron, the Finlay Motorsports Team Manager and driver coach. The Camerons were behind the dominant 2004 Pro Mazda season of Michael McDowell (who now co-drives the Finlay Motorsports #19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation /Commercial Defeasance Daytona Prototype with Champ Car veteran Memo Gidley), and are also providing guidance to the Ocean Tomo team and driver Raphael Matos, who won the first four 2005 Pro Mazda events in a row.