Newgarden Looking Forward to 'Study Abroad'
KENT, United Kingdom, 15 October -- Rhodes Scholars earn their way to a study abroad program at one of England's most celebrated places of higher learning -- Oxford. Team USA Scholarship winners, however, take a different path, to two other pieces of hallowed English ground for an education of a different sort. At Brands Hatch and Silverstone, Josef Newgarden, one of two 2008 Team USA Scholarship winners, will look to make the grade at both the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy on October 18-19 and November 1-2, respectively.
Newgarden, who hails from Hendersonville, Tennessee, recently finished runner-up to his Team USA Scholarship teammate Conor Daly at the BF Goodrich/Skip Barber National Championship. Now this dynamic duo are paired up to bring home glory from two of the most coveted races in run in the junior formulae. For Newgarden, this two-race English adventure offers a chance at redemption and boost for his nascent racing career for which he has set a trajectory squarely on Formula One®.
"Winning a race in the U.K. at such prestigious races would definitely provide a huge boost for my career," said Newgarden of the event that boasts David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Jenson Button among the honor roll of previous winners. "Along with winning the Skip Barber title, this has been a focus of mine ever since I found out I had been selected for the Scholarship. It's a great honor to be a part of this program and I will give it my all to bring home a win."
And what of his rivalry with Daly, now that the two are teammates?
"I've been racing against Conor since I was 13," said Newgarden, a couple of months shy of his 18th birthday. "Off the track we're good friends. On the track, we're very different personalities, but each of us shares an overwhelming desire to win every time we flip that visor down. I think being teammates will benefit us both as well will push each other right to the edge on the track, but we'll learn from each other off of it."
Then there is the question of English weather and the rains it often produces.
"I love driving in the rain. It's my favorite condition, but at the same time I don't wish for it because it just throws up too many unknowns," added Newgarden.
Thus far, Newgarden's first few days in England have been busy with seat fittings to get his lanky frame comfortable in the Formula Ford machine, and with several testing sessions across the full array of weather conditions. Over 10 separate, 30-minute test sessions Newgarden and Daly have been atop the time sheets every time. Newgarden pares his optimism with caution, however.
"Everything so far has been going very well. I've been comfortable in all the conditions we've faced so far. It's still early though, but things are looking good," Newgarden said.
Visit the Team USA Scholarship website to follow more of the action and read the driver's blogs at TeamUSAScholarship.org.