The Reason for The|
For Open Wheel Road Racing
All too often we hear about the lack of American drivers in top notch road racing. Some say they are not as good as drivers from other countries. Many years ago, On Track magazine was also tired of hearing the same mantra from car owners, so at the end of each season, they produced a list of American drivers that car owners should pay attention to.
Today, the situation is perhaps even more dire. Not only are team owners not hiring American drivers, unless they have a famous surname with the connections or appear in skin magazine layouts assuring them of sponsorship, but young American hopefuls are finding it harder and harder to fund rides at the lower levels in order to build their skills and acquire the necessary recognition.
Meanwhile, drivers from Europe and South America continue to flock to the States with sponsors backing them to make their mark on these shores. Nothing wrong with that, as we find it perfectly appropriate for other countries to support their driver talent.
Originally, the only support American drivers currently get on a worldwide stage is from the wonderful Team USA Scholarship program (which ironically is founded and run by a Brit). Lately, Mazda has stepped up big time supporting racing development in America, though their programs are open to all drivers competing in the States. They of course sponsor the Mazda Road to Indy pPesented by Cooper Tires and also offer scholarship programs to help drivers move up the ladder.
Otherwise, corporate support in America is severely lacking for race car drivers that do not wish to pursue a career in stock car racing. Those that do are not only supported by sponsors, but NASCAR team owners as well who are beginning to build a farm system similar to what the top teams do in Europe for open wheel drivers such as McLaren, Mercedes, Renault, BMW, and Red Bull. Even some of those systems that once supported American drivers in Europe have given up as few Yanks are currently running in any overseas series, and the present day prospect of an American in Formula 1 is as remote as someone from the Sudan landing on the Moon, Alexander Rossi notwithstanding.
Thus, the vicious cycle starts to erode the talent in open wheel road racing in America as more and more drivers either choose or are forced to look at a career in stock cars, find a ride in sports cars, or give up all together. For those who continue to stick it out in open wheel road racing, their prospects look very slim for various reasons. The main reason is the lack of anywhere to go. Major league open wheel racing in this country has been systematically destroyed by the egos of rich, uncaring individuals. Any opportunities that do arise usually require the driver to bring in money, which once again means the foreign driver has an edge.
Therefore, we here at Deep Throttle will attempt to do something, even if it's a small token. We will initiate a driver ranking of up and coming American drivers for open wheel road racing. This ranking will comprise of American drivers competing in the open wheel predominately road racing development series here or abroad. Here are the details of the ranking system.
The rankings will appear bi-monthly throughout the racing season around the last Wednesday of May, July, September, and November. The key to this ranking is to help create publicity for the American open wheel road racing prospects and some recognition from the car owners. If it does nothing else but promote debate over the rankings, then it will be a success.
Copyright © 2017 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.