The Team USA Scholarship turns 30 years old in 2020. It was in 1990 that Jimmy Vasser was confirmed as the inaugural scholarship recipient.
With the scholarship reaching an important milestone in its history, it’s especially impressive that three young, new drivers have been awarded the Scholarship this year. The recipients are Bryce Aron, Jackson Lee and Simon Sikes.
The three winners were chosen from a shortlist that consisted of six candidates. A video and writing assignment were taken into consideration when choosing those three. There were many longtime auto racing professionals who looked over the submissions and advised on who would be chosen.
Aron, 16-years-old, is from Winnetka, Ill., Lee, 18-years-old, is from Avon, IND. and Sikes, 19-years-old, is from Augusta, GA.
This has been a challenging year for everyone,” Team USA Scholarship founder and noted auto racing writer/broadcaster Jeremy Shaw said in a press release. “Which is why I am even more grateful than usual to all of the wonderful supporters who make this program possible. The selection process this year has been especially complicated. But with the help and encouragement of so many people, we are delighted to confirm Bryce, Jackson and Simon as worthy recipients. I am confident they will learn a great deal from the experience and follow capably in the footsteps of so many talented American racers over the past 30 years.”
Aron and Lee will keep the tradition of the scholarships patriotic red, white and blue livery for Low Dempsey Racing in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, on October 24 and 25, and the following weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone.
Those two drivers will compete in the Racing in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, on October 24/25, and the following weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone.
For Sikes, the Georgia boy is unable to to travel to the UK due to his recently confirmed commitment to contest next month’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship finale at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., with Legacy Autosport and Marotti Autosport.
“It is, without a doubt, my greatest racing achievement so far,” Sikes said. “To join the likes of some of my racing idols as a Team USA Scholarship winner is an incredible moment for me, and I cannot wait to represent the stars and stripes as I compete in the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires next year. It is fantastic to be able to work with Jeremy Shaw with his many years of experience in professional motorsports.”
Aron is currently racing Formula Ford 1600 cars in England and has one win and 10 podiums under his belt.
“The scholarship has been something I have dreamed of for many years and I am ecstatic to get started at Silverstone this October,” Aron said. “I believe the opportunity will allow me to gain valuable racing experience along with boosting my career to the next level. Hopefully allowing for me to compete in the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires; one step closer to my dream of competing in INDYCAR alongside previous Team USA Scholarship winners.”
For Lee, he is currently second in the F1600 Championship Series. He has two wins and five podiums to date in the current series.
The list of previous Team USA drivers is impressive and I am very honored to be added to that group,” he said. “Many thanks to Jeremy Shaw and all of Team USA’s supporters for their efforts and for choosing me to help represent the USA.”
2020 Team USA Scholarship nominees:
Bryce Aron, 16, from Winnetka, Ill. – currently racing Formula Ford 1600 cars in England (1 win and 10 podiums)
Dylan Christie, 16, from Princeton, N.J. – currently 4th in the F1600 Championship Series (2 wins and 6 podiums)
Max Esterson, 17, from Water Mill, N.Y. – currently 5th in the F1600 Championship Series (1 win and 3 podiums)
Jackson Lee, 18, from Avon, Ind. – currently 2nd in the F1600 Championship Series (2 wins and 5 podiums)
Ely Navarro, 16, from McCordsville, Ind. – currently 2nd in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series (2 wins and 5 podiums)
Simon Sikes, 19, from Augusta, Ga. – currently 1st in the F1600 Championship Series (6 wins and 3 podiums)