Mazda Road to Indy

Scott Goodyear, Oliver Askew Among Judges for MRTI $200k Shootout

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When the second annual Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout takes place on December 9 and 10 at the Bondurant Race School, the participants are going to need to impress a top-notch judging panel.

The panel will consist of IndyCar race winner turned commentator Scott Goodyear alongside long-time factory Mazda motorsports representatives Jonathan Bomarito, Andrew Carbonell and Tom Long.

“I’m excited to return again this year to assist Mazda with judging the Shootout,” said Goodyear. “Mazda continues to support the up-and-coming drivers with their goal of becoming professional race car drivers. This program not only judges the young drivers on their ability on the track, but their abilities off track as well.

“I applaud Mazda for its continued and unparalleled support towards the development of young drivers, and I wish this type of program was available when I was a junior racer. I understand exactly the position these drivers are in as I spent many years driving in junior formulas before graduating to Indy cars and factory sports cars. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with the stars of tomorrow.”

They will be joined by 2018 Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires Champion Victor Franzoni and inaugural MRTI Shootout winner Oliver Askew, who won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2017.

The MRTI ladder was developed as a way to progress drivers through the open-wheel ranks, eventually leading to the Verizon IndyCar Series. Drivers begin in USF2000, followed by Pro Mazda, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and then IndyCar. Notably, the champion at each level receives a scholarship to put towards a ride at the next level.

The shootout was developed last year by Mazda to include champions from a select group of junior level open-wheel and karting series around the globe. There was an option for 20 entry tickets to be given out by series to their Champions, with the only other requirement being each competitor must be between the age 14 and 25 as of September 30. The winner of the shootout earns a $200,000 prize from Mazda to allow them to compete in USF2000 in 2018.

The shootout kicks off with a welcome reception and dinner on Friday, followed by a full slate of on-track activity with instructor feedback throughout Saturday. The field will be narrowed down following another on-track session on Sunday, with those remain taking part in a qualifying sessions and a 30-minute race. The judges will then meet for a final time to select the winner of the Shootout.

“We want judges who will give these young racers in-depth feedback from their experience behind the wheel, and this year’s group is certainly qualified to do so,” said Mazda Motorsports Operations Manager Kyle Kimball. “This is an incredibly serious competition, and the judges set the tone with their guidance and feedback. It’s a group that we’re proud to have judging the event.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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