Askew wins Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout
Oliver Askew capped his memorable 2016 season with victory in the inaugural Mazda Road To Indy Shootout to determine who would earn a $200k scholarship to race in next year’s USF2000 championship.
After two days of competition, the field of 18 drivers from junior series around the world, was whittled down to six – Askew, fellow Team USA Scholarship winner Kyle Kirkwood, Australian Formula Ford 1600 Championship representative Will Brown, Canadian Formula Tour 1600 Champion Trenton Estep, British Formula Ford 1600 Champion Niall Murray and Mountney SuperSeries for Formula Ford 1600 representative Oliver White, from Bath, England
This sextet progressed through to a 15-minute qualifying session followed by a 30-minute race in which the cars were flagged away at two-second intervals.
Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., emerged the winner having impressed the six-man judging panel that included Scott Goodyear, Joel Miller, Spencer Pigot, Jonathan Bomarito, Mazda Motorsports’ operation manager Kyle Kimball, Andrew Carbonell and Jim Bowie, owner of Brandrenaline, Mazda Motorsports’ agency of record in the U.S. and Canada.
Kimball said: “The event ran almost perfectly due to the hard work everybody put in from the Mazda Motorsports team, Andersen Promotions, Cooper Tires and the Lucas Oil School of Racing. I can’t say enough about the team I had around me.
“As for the winner, the current advertising tagline for Mazda is ‘Driving Matters.’ We came into this with equal cars, each driver with his own set of tires, and Oliver Askew was continually and consistently the fastest driver on track. We could not be more thrilled to give him the $200,000 scholarship into USF2000.”
Askew himself said: “I am a bit speechless right now. I prepared extremely hard for this opportunity and it’s a dream come true. I can’t thank everyone enough who is involved in this program…There are so many people that got together to make this happen.
“It’s great event and I’d also like to thank my family, all of my personal supporters – and my competitors for making it extremely tough. That was one of the best races I’ve ever had in car racing. I had a blast and I’m really looking forward to the future.”
Said Joel Miller: “The lap times speak for themselves: they were each within half-a-second on pace. The final decision came down to the driver who was consistently the quickest, who most satisfied our criteria and who seemed most equipped for the Mazda Road to Indy and has a great possibility of becoming a Verizon IndyCar Series driver. It was heavily based on that concept.
“Speed put you in the running, but it was everything – how the drivers behaved at dinner or how they acted around the judges – all of that was taken into consideration, and Oliver met all of our criteria. The guy who won was the guy who checked the most boxes.”
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