Team USA Scholarship Expands to Three-Car Effort Edwards, Lally and Simmons will fly patriotic colors Three talented young American drivers have been chosen to represent their country as winners of the 10th annual Valvoline Team USA Scholarship.
Team USA Scholarship Expands to Three-Car Effort Edwards, Lally and Simmons will fly patriotic colors
Three talented young American drivers have been chosen to represent their country as winners of the 10th annual Valvoline Team USA Scholarship. Paul Edwards, from Santa Maria, Calif., Andy Lally, from Northport, N.Y., and Jeff Simmons, from Granby, Conn., will follow in the footsteps of former scholarship recipients Jimmy Vasser (1990), Bryan Herta ('91) and Memo Gidley ('95), all of whom currently compete in the CART FedEx Championship Series, and NASCAR Winston Cup regular Jerry Nadeau, who scooped the award in '93. Edwards, 21, who has raced in Europe the past three seasons, finished third in the 1999 EFDA Euroseries with three wins to his name. Lally, 24, has been a leading contender in the U.S. F2000 National Championship, taking his underdog Carbir chassis to an accomplished wet weather win at Road Atlanta. Simmons, 23, recently clinched his second successive Barber Dodge Pro Series title This year's prize for Edwards, Lally and Simmons comprises a fully paid drive in the Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series, which will be held over four races next month at Snetterton and Brands Hatch in England. The trio earned their scholarship awards following a shoot-out among six nominees that was held two weeks ago at Formula Palmer Audi's own test track near Bedford, England. "The original intention was to select two winners, but the overall quality was so good we have decided to stretch to three," said scholarship coordinator Jeremy Shaw, editor of Champ Car magazine and a television analyst for ESPN International and Eurosport's coverage of the FedEx Championship Series. Added former Grand Prix driver Jonathan Palmer, who established Formula Palmer Audi prior to the '98 season: "I just feel so motivated about this program because I really feel we're unlocking something here. I was blown away with the standard of driving and the overall level of professionalism when the guys came over and tested. I honestly believe any one of them would be capable of challenging for a podium finish." The other three finalists were Star Formula Mazda standout Joey Hand, 20, from Sacramento, Calif., F2000 front-runner Aaron Justus, 25, from Alpine, Calif., and Barber Dodge/Toyota Atlantic racer Rocky Moran Jr., 19, from Coto de Caza, Calif. Edwards, Lally and Simmons will drive cars decked out in a patriotic red, white and blue color scheme featuring sponsorship from a host of America companies including Valvoline, CART, Tasman Motorsports, PacWest Racing, Mercedes-Benz USA, Road Racing Drivers Club, Skip Barber Racing School and the program's newest supporter, Mitel Semiconductor.