BRASELTON, Ga. — For the second straight year, 18-year-old Jake Eidson went to sleep leading for the winner-take-all $200,000 driver development scholarship presented by Mazda for use toward a seat in the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Series powered by Mazda.
“You can’t beat experience,” said Eidson, the only three-time consecutive Skip Barber Race Series winner, who led last year until a spin in what turned out to be the final race of the rain-shortened 2012 shootout. “It helps a lot. There were a few times where I was in a different position last year, and it didn’t work out too well. So I’m trying just to learn from my mistakes last year and apply everything I’ve learned from previous years.”
Eidson recently returned from the 2013 Team USA competition in the Walter Hayes Trophy.
Eidson’s lead is a slim 3.5 points over Aaron Telitz, 21. The talented pair is accustomed to racing against each other.
“In the last race when I was racing against Jake (Eidson) and Adrian (Starrantino) a lot, because I raced against Jake and Adrian a lot last year, even though sometimes we’d get into it, we trust each other enough that you can go in pretty deep, and he’s going to give you a little bit of room at least.” said Telitz. Eidson, Starrantino and Telitz finished first, second and third in the 2013 Formula F1600 Championship, respectively, after successful careers in the Skip Barber Race Series.
Skylar Robinson, 18, is only one point behind Telitz in third.
“It feels pretty good,” said Robinson who posted the highest score in the business plan portion of the competition. “I didn’t have a great [race 3]. But hopefully that will be my drop, we’ll just keep moving forward. The cars are really close and competition is really tough, so it is a lot about not making any mistakes and being consistent with your results.” One month ago, Robinson was representing the United States in the Americas portion of the FIA’s Young Driver Excellence Academy.
2012 Karting Scholarship Shootout winner Yago Cesario and Jack Mitchell Jr. are tied for fourth.
The shootout will be decided Wednesday with two more races following a seminar on Advanced Driving Training presented by Kelly Jones of RaceCraft1.