Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Jim Russell Future Driver Selection: Final 20

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:59 am Karting Scholarship, open wheel racing news

The Jim Russell Future Driver Selection Panel cut the field of 40 entrants in half today as they head into the final two-days of evaluation.  There are 20 drivers still competing for two fully-funded rides in the 2010 Jim Russell Championship Series.

Early today, I posted the full entry list and mentioned that I would highlight a few surprise cuts.  I  haven’t seen all of these drivers perform and I’m not on-site at the shootout so my “surprise cuts” are based solely on my opinion.  It’s up to you how serious you want to take them.

Surprise Cuts
After looking at the full entry list (as linked above), I decided to narrow that list down to 10 drivers who I felt had a legitimate shot at winning the overall selection.  Out of the 10 drivers I selected …. 70% made it past the first cut, which means 3 drivers were cut.  Here are a few drivers that made my “Surprise Cuts” list:

Ben Searcy– I put Ben on my list because I felt that he made some real improvements this season during his freshman season in the car ranks.  He always impressed me in karts and he did a great job this year in the F2000 Championship—bagging 3 wins, 4 podiums and 1 pole position in 11-races.

Stefan Rzadzinski– I had Stefan on my list for multiple reasons.  I think he has done an excellent job making the transition to cars —finishing 2nd in the Ontario Formula Ford Challenge and earning the “Rookie of the Year” title.  He lacks a little experience in comparison to a few of the other entrants so he probably wasn’t a favorite for the overall selection at his young age, but he is certainly a driver to watch in the future.

Sean Rayhall- Sean has accomplished some very impressive feats, despite his young age (14), so I was a bit surprised to see that he didn’t make the top-twenty.  He has spent the bulk of his time in the Skip Barber ranks but he did run the first two races of the 2009 Jim Russell Championship, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.  He might have been a long shot for the overall prize but I fully expected to see him inside the top-20.

Make the jump for a few interesting stats and the Final-20 list. 

Jim Russell Future Driver Selection:  Final 20

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A few stats…

  • The average age of the Top-20 drivers is 21 years old.
  • The oldest driver is 40 (And yes… I agree… that is too old).
  • The youngest driver is 15 years old.

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Final-20 Drivers
Bastien Graber
James Kovacic
Brett van Blankers
Xavier Coupal
Tyler Bennett
Gregory Liefooghe
Yannick Mettler
Jordan Jadallah
Mark Pombo
Jayson Clunie
Gustavo Menezes
Justin Gald
Felipe Polehtto
Logan Downing
Nikola Radosavljevich
Gary Carlton
Alex Ellis
Javier Echeverria
Cody Hodgson
Jeffrey Westphal

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