SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.— Discount Tire/America's Tire has stepped up its support of motorsports in the U.S., awarding over $1.3 million in prize money to the winners of the 2023 USF Pro 2000, USF2000 and USF Junior open-wheel racing series.
The awards come from the Discount Tire Driver Development Scholarship, a motorsports support program the Scottsdale-based tire retailer agreed to fund earlier this year in partnership with Andersen Promotions and the U.S. Auto Club.
Discount Tire is also the official tire retail partner of the USF series championships, which are considered key stepping stones on the road to becoming a driver in the IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing championship in North America.
The bulk of the prize money, $664,500, went to Myles Rowe, winner of the USF Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires series. The 23-year-old from Powder Springs, Ga., became the first African American to win a North American open-wheel championship.
Next year he will compete in the INDY NXT by Firestone series, the next step up the ladder toward IndyCar, driving for HMD Motorsports.
"The scholarship program allows these young drivers, like Myles, the chance to achieve their dreams," Nelly Dombrowski, media manager at Discount Tire, said.
The USF Pro 2000 cars are carbon composite and aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis manufactured by Tatuus Racing powered by 2-liter, 4-cylinder Mazda engines tuned to produce 275 hp.
Continental Tire the Americas will be the presenting partner and designated race tire supplier for the three USF racing series for five years, starting in 2024, Andersen Promotions disclosed earlier this summer. Cooper Tire held that disinction for the past 13 seasons.
The Indy NXT cars feature chassis manufactured by Dallara Automobili and powered by a turbocharged version of the 2-liter, 4-cylinder Mazda engine, capable of up to 450 hp.
Rowe will drive the No. 99 Force Indy entry with support from Penske Entertainment's Race for Equality & Change initiative, an ongoing effort to support, grow and sustain diverse representation in motorsports.
The other champions recently crowned are:
- USF 2000 — Simon Sikes, Pabst Racing, scholarship package of valued at $433,200 to advance to USF Pro 2000 in 2024; and
- USF Junior — Nicolas Giaffone, DEForce Racing, scholarship package valued at $241,890 to advance to USF2000 in 2024.
Discount Tire's sponsorship involvement with USF Racing was announced in March at the same time the retail tire dealership was named the official tire retailer of the USF Pro Championships presented by Cooper Tires.
"(W)e are honored to begin this association [with Discount Tire] as they align with us to develop the next generation of drivers," Andersen Promotions CEO Dan Andersen said at that time.
The company's status as official tire retailer meant that all competitors in the series carried Discount Tire logos on their cars.
In addition, Discount Tire pledged at that time to set up a STEM Program to provide trade and technical school students in race markets with an immersive experience at the track preceded by a school visitation with a USF Pro driver, race engineer/chief mechanic and Discount Tire representative.
In addition to showcasing the STEM aspects of motorsports, the program will also highlight Discount Tire's "Trade School Ladder" and similarities to USF Pro's driver development program.
Discount Tire's other motorsports activities include sponsorship agreements with Penske Performance Inc. covering Team Penske's NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar teams. This past year was the tire dealership's 14th season as a Team Penske partner. During that time, Team Penske drivers have notched up 36 NASCAR race victories and 10 combined championships while carrying Discount Tire's colors.