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Deep Throttle
American Driver
Prospects Ranking
For Open Wheel Road Racing
July 30, 2008

The inaugural ranking features the top 15 American driver prospects for open wheel road racing. Here is the press release for this month's ranking. The next ranking will appear August 27, 2008.

  Driver Last Month
1 Richard Antinucci (Indy Lights)
Anybody who finishes second at Macau GP (2006) deserves to be on this list. Won the Indy Lights Watkins Glen race in the most talented field in series history. Also took a win at St. Petersburg, pole at Kansas, and leads the points.
2 John Edwards (Star Mazda)
Has achieved a lot at a very young age -- youngest to win in open wheel road racing history (Skip Barber regional event at age 12), youngest to hold FIA license (14), and competed in the Atlantic series at age 16 (with a best finish of second at Toronto). Now, is making his mark in Star Mazda with two wins (Miller, Portland), a pole, and seventh in points after missing season opener.
3 Jonathan Bomarito (Atlantic)
Steady improvement marks his career with a win in 2006 (Road America), another in 2007 (San Jose), and now one in 2008 (Edmonton) with the underdog Mathiasen Motorsports team. He also has a pole at Long Beach and dominated the race until his gearbox failed. Needs to make this 4th season in Atlantic a breakout year.
4 Jonathan Summerton (Atlantic)
Gave Team USA their first victory in the A1GP (Shanghai). Sits 3rd in points with one win (Edmonton) while driving for the usually underperforming Newman Wachs team.
5 J.R. Hildebrand (Indy Lights)
After unprecedented success in the F2000 ranks (12 wins in 14 races in 2006), has struggled since. Had a second in Atlantic (Cleveland, 2007) and one win in Indy Lights on an oval (Kansas, 2008). Currently fourth in points with top fives in half his races.
6 Joel Miller (Star Mazda)
The 2007 Skip Barber National champion with 5 wins, 10 podiums, and 2 poles in 14 races. Named a Team USA scholarship winner. Leads the points with a win from pole (Sebring), a second, and two thirds in five races.
7 Dane Cameron (Atlantic)
Stuck in the shadows in F2000 thanks to teammate Hildebrand, had a breakout season in 2007 winning the Star Mazda crown with 2 wins (Houston, VIR), 4 seconds, a third, 2 fourths, and 6 poles in 12 races. Currently is 7th in points with 3 top fives.
8 Jeff Westphal (Pacific F2000)
A late starter to the racing game, is experiencing Hildebrand-like success with 6 wins, a second, and five poles in 8 races, equating to a commanding points lead. Finished third in the series last year.
9 Josef Newgarden (Skip Barber National)
With all the publicity on Conor Daly, Newgarden has gotten the better results. He won twice (VIR, Cleveland) in 2007 along with 3 podiums and 3 poles. This year, he leads the points with 2 wins (Mosport, Barber), a second, and 4 poles.
10 Carl Skerlong (Atlantic)
Much improved this year since moving to the Pacific Coast Motorsports team with three podiums in five races plus a pole and has not qualified outside the top 5. Currently is 6th in points.
11 Conor Daly (Skip Barber National)
When Daly made the jump from karts to cars, he started setting track records seemingly everywhere he went in various series. Currently is 4th in points with 2 wins (Mosport, Barber), a second, and a third, but no poles.
12 Alexander Rossi (FBMW)
Record success at a young age -- youngest winner of Skip Barber Karting Scholarship (2006), winning 3 Skip Barber National races, 6 podiums, and 3rd in points at the age of 14. Three FBMW wins in 2007 with 4 more this year in 8 races and the points lead. However, competing in a struggling series that barely gets double digit entries hurts his ranking.
13 Alex Ardoin (Star Mazda)
Multiple regional champion in various classes. Now in second year of Star Mazda. Won once last year (Laguna Seca). Has two podiums and one pole this year.
14 Robert Podlesni (Pacific F2000)
Has won (Fontana, Buttonwillow) and gotten the pole (3 times) whenever Westphal hasn't. Otherwise, has finished second in the other races except for one fifth.
15 Jordan Taylor (F2000)
Has one win (Road Atlanta) and two poles in limited (4) F2000 appearances. Also competes in IMSA Lites (2 DNFs) and Grand Am GT.
Dropped out: Not applicable.

Copyright © 2008 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved. Any reprint of this ranking must be done in its entirety and mention Deep Throttle as the source. Any online reprint of this poll must provide a link to the Deep Throttle home page. Otherwise, no reuse permission is granted.

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