Indycar fans have long looked to teenager Sage Karem as the “Great American Hope,” the longed-for rookie that basically does for Indycar what Jeff Gordon did for NASCAR. While Karem is probably the closest and most impressive American candidate there has rarely been so many talented teenagers hoping to carry the American flag to the winner’s circle of the Indy 500. I’d like to stress that this isn’t a ranked list or anything, just ten teens I think we could see in Indycar over the next five years.
Son of Geoff Brabham, grandson of three time Formula One champion Sir Jack Brabham, Matthew has one of the best racing pedigrees of any up and coming driver, and the results to match. He dominated USF-2000 on his way to a championship, won a Team USA Scholarship to England’s Formula Ford Festival. With the prize money from his USF-2000 championship he’ll be able to pick his Star Mazda ride next year.
The well groomed Andretti Autosport development driver didn’t win the Star Mazda championship, and faded from second to fourth. That said, he won races, showed a good deal of consistency and showed everything he needed to show to move up to the Firestone Indy Lights where he is expected to compete in 2013 with perhaps a spot start or two in the IZOD Indycar Series. Realistically he’s only a year or two away from Indycar.
Zach Veach has built the most successful platform for any American developmental driver since James Hinchcliffe with his own app, columns for Racer.com and appearances on CNN as part of anti-texting and anti-bullying efforts. He’s shown some speed too, winning a Winter USF-2000 series championship and leading the Firestone Indy Lights field in the Chris Griffis test for young drivers. He will drive for Andretti Autosport’s Firestone Indy Lights team in 2013.
Home town:Orlando, Fl.
Spencer was an Andretti Autosport driver but he seems to be going his own way. He finished second in the USF-2000 this year and lead the Star Mazda continent in the
test. He’s landed a ride with Team Pelfry, which is clearly the strongest team in the Star Mazda field.
A dual passport holder Chaves has races with both American andColumbiaflags on his racing suit. He came in strong during the later part of the Star Mazda season and moved from fifth to second. He was also impressive in European ladder series like Italian Formula 3 and GP3, in total he’s won almost a quarter of all the races he’s ever entered.
Probably has the most oval experience of anyone on this list with number of late model and Allison Legacy starts to his credit, but he’s also talented on road courses. He won the Skip Barber Race Series Championship Shootout at Road Atlanta in December, which comes with enough prize money for a ride in the USF-2000 series.
All of the great drivers start off in karts and Santino has done well enough in American and European karts to merit representation by GP Sports Management, whose clientele includes Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Buemi and Pedro del laRosa
No relation to NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray, but his father, Chris McMurry, raced in the ALMS as a privateer for over a decade. Matt became the youngest driver to ever graduate from the Bondurant driving school at age 12. He will be racing in the USF-2000 series in 2013 with Belardi Auto Racing.
The other winner of the Team USA scholarship award has been working his way up the open wheel ladder series. He’s been impressive when you consider he started racing at age 14, which is well after many of the guys on this list. He recorded 18 podium finishes in 20 starts in this summer’s Skip Barber series and should be in USF-2000 next year.
Winner of the Skip Barber Summer and Winter series Jake Edison also excelled in the USF-2000 Chris Griffis test. He placed second in the Skip Barber Race Series Championship Shootout and is looking for a USF-2000 ride