Mullan, Craig earn Team USA Scholarships

Jake Craig and Colin Mullan have been selected as 2018 Team USA Scholarship winners and will compete in the UK’s Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy race.

Mullan, Craig earn Team USA Scholarships
Listen to this article

Mullan (above left) and Craig will follow in the footsteps of a long line of talented young Americans dating back almost three decades. Current IndyCar Series team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta were the first two Team USA Scholarship recipients in 1990 and 1991, respectively. More recent winners include current IndyCar drivers Conor Daly, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot, as well as sports car standouts Dane Cameron, Connor De Phillippi, Joey Hand, Trent Hindman, Andy Lally, Tristan Nunez and Bryan Sellers.

Mullan, 16, began racing at age 5 in quarter midgets. He progressed through minicups (50 percent scale NASCAR stock cars) and karting before undertaking some testing and coaching in a Spec Miata in late 2016.

After a first full season in the West Coast-based Formula Car Challenge, Mullan continued to shine this year in sports cars, driving an LAP Motorsports MINI JCW in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. He also displayed his versatility during an impressive F1600 Championship Series debut at Summit Point Raceway in August with a pair of emphatic victories.

“Getting on track in some of the world’s most competitive open-wheel racing series will be an experience I’ll never forget,” said Mullan. “Races like the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy teach so much about race craft and getting the most out of the car every session. Plus, with changing conditions and unpredictable UK weather, I’ll have to adapt my driving whenever we get on track.

“I’ve met so many amazing people through the scholarship process, just in the interviews at Mid-Ohio and the shootout alone. Also, having the opportunity to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout opens up so many new pathways that I never thought were possible for me. It’s hard to think my true journey with Team USA is about to begin.”

Craig, who will celebrate his 21st birthday later this month, also began racing at age 5, in karting. He displayed tremendous promise when invited to attend the Ferrari Driver Academy in conjunction with Prema Racing at Maranello, Italy, in 2014 – and again last fall when he received an invitation from eKartingNews.com to contest the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship shootout – but it wasn’t until this year that he was able to focus on car racing. He impressed immediately by finishing second in the Canadian-based Toyo Tires F1600 Championship and F1600 Super Series.

“Getting selected for Team USA is a dream come true for me,” said Craig. “It’s basically the next step to further my racing career and it will be a great addition to my résumé. Getting to race in England is going to be extremely beneficial. I’ll be able to continue to improve my race craft and technical understanding of a car. I’m getting about as much track time in a month as I’ve had all year!”

The pair of Californians were chosen from an initial group of 11 candidates, representing a wide range of entry-level racing categories, who were invited to meet an illustrious panel of judges from all facets of the sport during the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend at Mid-Ohio in late July.

Six finalists were then put through their paces during a two-day shootout held in conjunction with the Lucas Oil School of Racing and Cooper Tires at Road America. Their on- and off-track abilities were assessed by a group of experts including IndyCar driver and Lucas Oil School Chief Instructor RC Enerson; USF2000 team owner Gregg Borland (ArmsUp Motorsports); Indy Lights race winner-turned-DEForce Racing team manager/engineer Peter Dempsey; driver coach Steve Welk; former racer Gregory Hobbs, now executive VP of David Hobbs Honda; Kelly Jones of RaceCraft1 Simulator Training; previous Team USA Scholarship winner Michai Stephens; Jim Leo of renowned, Indianapolis-based PitFit Training; and Team USA Scholarship founder and noted auto racing writer and broadcaster Jeremy Shaw.

“It was a very strong group,” said Shaw. “Some variable weather conditions provided an extra challenge and it was impressive to see how well the youngsters coped. There might have been a few wheels straying off the road from time to time but nothing more than that. The quality was extremely high and the decision-making process was perhaps tougher than ever.

“It’s a shame that Braden [Eves] won’t be able to take up the opportunity. The good news is that he is making good progress in his recuperation and I have no doubt he will be back, stronger than ever.”

Eves, 19, displayed his capabilities this season in the Formula 4 United States Championship powered by Honda, then, like Mullan, won two of the three races he contested in the F1600 Championship Series. He also made an impressive debut last month in the final rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at Portland International Raceway.

Mullan and Craig will travel to England next week to join Cliff Dempsey Racing, which will be running the pair of Team USA Scholarship Ray Formula Ford cars for the 11th consecutive season. They will enter the final round of the BRSCC Avon Tires National Formula Ford Championship at Donington Park on October 13/14 in preparation for the following weekend’s Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on November 3/4.

shares
comments
Star IndyCar engineer McDonald joins RLLR
Previous article

Star IndyCar engineer McDonald joins RLLR

Next article

Ericsson: IndyCar a "realistic target" alongside F1 role

Ericsson: IndyCar a "realistic target" alongside F1 role
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021