On August 4, Kimball took his Honda-powered Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Indy car to victory circle in his first IZOD IndyCar Series triumph, while eight talented young American drivers all hope to follow in his footsteps to racing stardom.
The Team USA Scholarship has been provided opportunities for young American racing drivers since its formation in 1990. Candidates are between the ages of 16 and 22, and must already have demonstrated their potential both behind the wheel and outside of the race car.
In recent years, the program has provided the opportunity for at least two winners to travel to Europe and race in ultra-competitive British Formula F championship series events.
Honda Performance Development has supported Team USA since 2010, and this year four of the nominees – all Formula F racers – are already members of the Honda Racing Line, HPD’s program to support licensed participants in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing.
Honda Racing Line members Jake Eidson, 18, the current F1600 Formula F Championship Series points leader; his championship rivals Adrian Starrantino, 18, and Aaron Teletiz, 21; and Pacific F1600 Championship racer Joey Bickers, 18 are all among the eight finalists for the 2013 Team USA Scholarships, along with four other race winners in other disciplines.
All eight took part in the Honda Indy 200 race weekend at Mid-Ohio, where they were interviewed by a panel of racing veterans on Friday evening. Afterwards, they watched as 2012 scholarship winner Matthew Brabham swept to a pair of support race wins on Saturday and Sunday, while fellow Team USA graduate Kimball capped the weekend with his thrilling IndyCar victory on Sunday.
“It was just an incredible weekend,” said noted motorsports journalist and Team USA founder Jeremy Shaw. “I am so grateful to everyone who took time out of their hectic schedules during the race weekend to share their experiences with the next generation of racing stars, and thrilled to see so many of our previous scholarship winners performing so well on the track.
“Perhaps it was prescient that Charlie [Kimball] joined us on Friday, then went on to win his first Indy car race in such style on Sunday! The next step is to identify this year’s winners. It won’t be easy, but we expect to have a decision by September.”