Top Young Drivers Win K&N Filters Sponsorships in Shoot-Out
by Chris McWilliams on February 15, 2011
The national talent search conducted by Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle has concluded with 14 talented drivers being awarded spots in the NASCAR focused driver development program along with sponsorships from K&N Filters to assist their 2011 racing efforts. The Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle (RSWC) annual Shoot-Out is designed to identify talented, young up-and-coming drivers from across the United States, and worldwide, with the potential and commitment to achieve a driving career in NASCAR. Following an application process in which 933 hopefuls submitted their racing resumes, 163 proven winners and champions were interviewed, prior to the top 40 racers being selected to take part in the 2010 Shoot-Out. Recent RSWC accomplishments include Jessica Brunelli earning her way into NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, then winning two NASCAR Rookie of the year honors, and Joey Licata Jr. testing and signing with Penske development team Cunningham Motorsports to participate in the 2011 ARCA season.
Following strong performances in the Shoot-Out track tests, the 14 winners include Ricky Bowers, Alejandro Capin, Steve Cote, Jarrett Crouch, Fritz Croy, Sheldon Didinger, James Eden, Paul Graham, Trevor Hunt, Brodie Kostecki, Brandon Martinez, Collin Milroy, Paden Phillips and Trevor Snow. With sponsorship support from K&N Filters, these talented young drivers will race in USAC & NASCAR series this coming season.
Image Credit: RacingWest.com
Among the highlights is 2010 NASCAR Quebec Provincial champion Steve Cote. Cote, of Montreal, won eight races and seven poles en route to the track championship at Autodrome St Eustache in the Sportsman division. He will compete for the NASCAR Modified championship at All American Speedway in 2011. Fritz Croy of Prescott, AZ, 20, comes to the RSWC program after finishing second in the Challenge Cup Sprint Car points at Prescott Valley Speedway in 2010. Croy was named Rookie of the Year in the division while also competing in a part-time schedule of dirt Modified races. Chanute, Kansas’ Paden Phillips, 19, won 19 times in B-Mods to win the championship in 2010. Phillips is also an accomplished Speedway Kart racer who will look to make an impact in the paved NASCAR Modified scene in Northern California this year. One of the more high-profile racer to join RSWC is Alejandro Capin, a 19 year-old stock car star from Mexico. Capin won Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Mexico Series in 2009 and will compete in the series again in 2011, in addition to NASCAR Modified races in California.
The Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle/K&N Filters USAC Ford Focus Midget team will be a force to reckon with in 2011 with 10 new drivers, beginning with Paul Graham. The 19 year-old Pennsylvania driver has achieved success in Micro Sprints including the Rookie of the Year award in 2009. He will compete full-time in the USAC SoCal Ford Focus Midget Series. He will be joined in the Ford Focus Midgets by Jarrett Crouch, a 19 year-old Micro Sprint racer from Oklahoma who achieved many top-tens and victories over the last four seasons on dirt ovals. Colorado’s Trevor Snow, 17, brings a complete resume to RSWC including several IMCA Dirt Modified wins in his home state. He won his first career Modified race at the age of 15 in just his fourth career start. He should be a quick learner in the pavement USAC Ford Focus ranks. Another rising star running the USAC SoCal Ford Focus Midget series will be 14 year-old Collin Milroy of New Jersey. Milroy has an impressive background on dirt ovals, with many wins in 250 Micro Sprints.
2011 K&N Sponsorship Winner Jarrett Crouch of Oklahoma
The USAC NorCal Ford Focus side of the program will include James Edens of Santa Rosa, Calif. Edens has been very prolific in the competitive Outlaw Kart ranks in Northern California, winning the Open Intermediate championship back-to-back seasons and six career Outlaw Kart titles in total. Sixteen year-old Sheldon Didinger should be tough as a rookie in the USAC NorCal Ford Focus Midget Series. This highly talented and motivated karting champion comes from Pennsylvania with numerous wins on oval tracks. Ricky Bowers of Mentor, Ohio will travel to California to show his talent in the USAC NorCal Ford Focus Midget series. Bowers has countless wins, a championship and runner-up season in kart racing. The exciting Brandon Martinez, recently celebrated his 13th birthday, has nearly 30 career Quarter Midget victories and won the Heavy 160 championship in 2010. Martinez is planning for success in the USAC NorCal Young Guns Midget series in 2011.
The long-haul award goes to a talented young gun coming from Perth, Australia. Thirteen year old Brodie Kostecki, ranked one of the top-50 karters in all of Australia, is making the ambitious move to America with his family to pursue his career development to NASCAR, starting with USAC Young Guns Midgets. The youngest racer to earn a spot in RSWC, Trevor Hunt from Kansas City, MO, just turned 12. Hunt won three IKF Grand National Championships in 2010, along with Micro Sprint races, and has 11 career titles to-date. The driver will be cutting his chops in USAC SoCal and NorCal Young Guns Midgets this season.