Askew, Kirkwood win Team USA Scholarships
Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood were confirmed today as the latest winners of the Team USA Scholarships which will see the pair race in the UK’s Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy this fall.
This year’s selection process began with a group of 11 candidates being interviewed by a panel of judges that included Mike Hull, managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing, Patrick Long, Charlie Kimball, Joel Miller, Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot, during the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend at Mid-Ohio.
Six finalists then progressed to a one-day shootout last week at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida hosted by Cooper Tire and the Lucas Oil School of Racing. Askew and Kirkwood ultimately were chosen as the winners by a committee which included Gil de Ferran, Lawson Aschenbach, Tristan Nunez, Starworks Motorsport team principal Peter Baron and multi-time junior formula championship winning team co-owner Nicholas Cape.
Team USA Scholarship founder, Jeremy Shaw, said: “The standard was extremely high and we were faced with some difficult decisions. After much deliberation we chose Oliver and Kyle, but all of the youngsters performed well and would have been worthy recipients.”
Askew and Kirkwood, who both come from Jupiter, Fla., will drive a pair of Cliff Dempsey Racing-run Ray GR15 Formula Ford 1600 cars in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in late October and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in early November. Newgarden, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi and Nunez (2012) have all proven victorious on in their Scholarship ‘raids’ on these prestigious British races.
“I am ecstatic and greatly honored,” said Kirkwood, a front-runner in the inaugural F4 U.S. Championship powered by Honda with Primus Racing. “To be able to represent the USA is a feeling no words can describe. I will work vigorously to prove that Jeremy and the Team USA Scholarship judges have chosen the right person for the job.”
Askew, who has shone in Formula Masters China and Skip Barber events, added: “I cannot express how excited I am to represent the prestigious Team USA Scholarship.
“Kyle and I have been very close friends for over 10 years. We have been teammates in the karting ranks for many of those years, so we will keep working together to bring home great results.
“I’d like to send out a special thanks to those who support the Team USA Scholarship, especially Jeremy Shaw for putting in countless hours to help young talent fight for their dreams.”
The Team USA program was inaugurated in 1990 as a means of assisting talented young American drivers at an early stage in their careers. A young Jimmy Vasser was the first scholarship winner, followed by Bryan Herta in ’91. Subsequent winners include Buddy Rice, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Spencer Pigot, Andy Lally, Joey Hand, Bryan Sellers, Dane Cameron, Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez.
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