ROCK ISLAND, ILL. -- While all four Mazda Road to Indy series are racing in Baltimore on Labor Day weekend, a large group of young drivers will be zooming around the streets of Rock Island, Ill., for the chance to one day join them.
As part of INDYCAR's partnership with Skip Barber Racing School, a winner from the Rock Island Grand Prix will be selected to participate in the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout on Oct. 15-18 for a chance to begin their journey up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system.
The Rock Island Grand Prix, presented by AT&T and Casey’s General Stores, is known as one of the largest and most prestigious karting races, bringing drivers from all over the world for a holiday weekend filled with street festivals and great competition.
This year, a winner will be selected by a panel of judges to compete in the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout at Virginia International Raceway, where if they win, they will receive a fully-funded ride in the Skip Barber Winter or Summer Series presented by Mazda.
"For those with a dream, karting and events like the Rock Island Grand Prix, provide a great first step for those pursuing a career in racing by progressing through the Mazda Road to Indy ladder," said Rock Island Grand Prix president Roger Ruthhart. "Through our partnership with the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Skip Barber Racing School organization, we are honored to be able to present this valuable career and scholarship opportunity to a deserving kart racer."
Before attending the shootout, the winner will first be required to attend a Formula three-day racing program at a Skip Barber Racing School on Sept. 24, which will also be funded by Skip Barber Racing School. Should they win the shootout and move into the Skip Barber Summer or Winter Series presented by Mazda, they will be eligible for the INDYCAR scholarship awarded to the champion of the Skip Barber Championship Shootout which offers a funded ride in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
"INDYCAR is very excited to partner with the Rock Island Grand Prix for the second year, and also continue progressing in our new partnership with Skip Barber Racing School," said Jason Penix, director of grassroots initiatives for INDYCAR. "We are focused on bringing in the best talent to the Mazda Road to Indy, and it's evident when looking at the current IZOD IndyCar Series field that these organizations are producing a lot of that talent."
Former Skip Barber Karting Shootout winners include current IZOD IndyCar Series championship contender Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the event in 1997 and the Skip Barber Racing School championship in 1999.
"The IZOD IndyCar Series is a very strong supporter of grassroots motorsports and they realize that karting is one of the most traveled routes to the Mazda Road to Indy and to professional racing," said Michael Culver, CEO Skip Barber Racing School. "The Rock Island Grand Prix is an essential element of the motorsports fabric. Skip Barber Racing School is proud to support the Rock Island Grand Prix."
Additional information will be emailed to Rock Island Grand Prix competitors.
For more information on competing in the Skip Barber Karatiang Scholarship Shootout, visit : www.skipbarber.com/scholarships.asp.
# # # # #
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the United States and one of the largest in the world. AT&T is the recognized world leader in providing IP-based communications services to business and the U.S. leader in providing wireless, high speed Internet access, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. As part of its "three screen" integration strategy, AT&T is expanding video entertainment offerings to include such next-generation television services as AT&T U-verse TV. With 55.8 million subscribers, AT&T provides international voice services to virtually every country and territory in the world. It is a global company that sets the industry standard for a new era of integrated communications and entertainment services. The AT&T Foundation has contributed more than $1.8 billion to nonprofit organizations around the country, putting it among the five largest corporate foundations in the United States. (www.att.com)
Casey’s General Stores, with headquarters in Ankeny, Iowa, operates 1,645 stores in 11 Midwestern states. The first store was opened in 1968 by founder Don Lamberti. The majority of the group’s stores are in communities with a population of 5,000 or less. Casey’s success has been attributed to clean stores, restrooms and the friendly employees who pride themselves on customer service. Casey’s customers know that inside each store they will find dedicated, helpful and well-trained employees, exceptional prepared food and a clean environment in which to shop.(www.caseys.com)
The Rock Island Grand Prix is hosted by the Downtown Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District which features retail shops, excellent restaurants, live entertainment, dinner theater, art galleries and comedy clubs all within walking distance of the host hotel. Jumer’s Casino & Hotel is just a short drive away. Rock Island is located on the Mississippi River three hours west of Chicago in an area known as the Quad-Cities which straddles the river and the Illinois/Iowa border. It is at the intersection of Interstate highways 74, 88 and 80 and is served by Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill. (www.ridistrict.com)