Highcroft's Andy Lally Honored with Mid-Ohio School Award
NORTHPORT, N.Y., Nov. 9 -Andy Lally of Northport, N.Y., was honored with the prestigious Mid-Ohio School Driver Achievement Award for the U.S. Formula 2000 series in 1998, and a racing expert has tabbed him as a favorite to win that series' championship in 1999.
The award was presented to Lally, 23, at the series' recent awards banquet in Colorado Springs, Colo. It is donated by The Mid-Ohio School, a professional driving school based at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Lally drives for Highcroft Racing Ltd. of New Milford, Conn. and Wayzata, Minn., which earned the runner-up honors in the "Prep Shop of the Year" final point standings in the series. It is the factory team for Bowman America, the American importer of the brand-new Bowman BC5 Formula 2000 chassis.
The U.S. Formula 2000 series is a primarily training ground for future open-wheel superstars, and it's considered to be two steps below Indy cars. The series has a working relationship with The Mid-Ohio School to provide guidance to its competitors in an effort to improve their skills. This guidance takes the form of seminars, track walks, refresher courses, test sessions and one-on-one critiques and suggestions made by the two Mid-Ohio School instructors who attend each F2000 race.
The Mid-Ohio School Driver Achievement Award is presented annually to honor a driver for his achievements on and off the track. The Mid-Ohio School instructors who have worked with all the drivers in the series determine the recipient. The nine factors that are judged include on-track decision making, racecraft, sportsmanship, the driver's desire to improve, his ability to accept feedback, his improvement in general, his technical understanding of the sport and his race car, his consistency and his off-track professionalism.
Calvin Fish, chief instructor of The Mid-Ohio School and the 1987 champion of a series above it, Formula Atlantic, had high praise for Lally.
"When the coaches analyzed all of the criteria for The Mid-Ohio School Driver Achievement Award, Andy was the obvious choice," he said. "His dedication and attitude toward improving all facets of his profession mark him as a driver who will succeed in the upper echelons of the sport. His competitiveness and racecraft in this very intense season were remarkable, especially when developing an all-new race car. It was just a few bad breaks which kept Andy from scoring several wins. Clearly, if Andy returns to the series next year, he would be the favorite to take championship honors."
Along with prestige, The Mid-Ohio School Driver Achievement Award consists of a trophy, a gift certificate for a free school day at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (up to a value of $750), and a Mid-Ohio School jacket.
In 1998 Lally helped to develop the Bowman BC5 chassis, a car built in England which debuted in January. As a member of the top Highcroft Racing Ltd. team, Lally recorded nine top-10 finishes in the 14 events in 1998, including six podium finishes. He was fourth overall in the national point standings and the Oval Crown point standings at the end of the year. A total of 48 drivers competed in the series this year.
Together, Lally and his teammate and team owner, Duncan Dayton of North Salem, N.Y., propelled Highcroft Racing Ltd. to runner-up in the overall point standings for prep shops in 1998 with 33 points.
Lally was also named as a "Rising Star" recently by one of the sport's leading publications, National Speed Sport News.