Two days of intense competition at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ended this afternoon with Oliver Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., being declared winner of the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout.
Askew, 19, who gained his entry to the Shootout after claiming a Team USA Scholarship, emerged victorious from a total of 18 talented young drivers quite literally from around the world.
“I am a bit speechless right now,” said Askew, who wins a Mazda Scholarship of $200,000 and the right to carry the coveted Soul Red livery in next year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. “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: Mazda especially, Cooper Tires, Lucas Oil School of Racing, the judges.… 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.”
Throughout 2016, nearly 400 drivers from 20 open-wheel racing championships on five continents competed for an entry ticket to the Shootout. Each of the affiliated championships and organizations had forged ties with the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, which provides Mazda Scholarships at every level to facilitate graduation all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
“The event ran almost perfectly, which is hard to imagine, but it’s all due to the hard work everybody put in from the Mazda Motorsports team, Andersen Promotions, Cooper Tires and the Lucas Oil School of Racing,” said Mazda Motorsports Operations Manager Kyle Kimball. “It was a success due to the people involved. 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.”