Four Up-and-Comers Join Afterburner Autosport During Mazda Road to Indy Test
 October 10, 2012| 
  • Team News
Blok, Estrela, Ruch, and Verra to pilot Van Diemen/Mazda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. – Afterburner Autosport returns to action this week (October 10-11), taking part in the second annual Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Building on what was a solid debut season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Minnesota-based squad will have four talented up-and-comers getting behind the wheel, with Danilo Estrela, Joe Ruch, Ryan Verra, and Nathan Blok taking part in the year-end event.

With the 2012 season now in the record books, Afterburner Autosport is already looking ahead to the upcoming 2013 campaign. With the ultimate goal of running a multi-car effort that will challenge for wins in their second season of USF2000 Championship competition, the team will use the annual Mazda Road to Indy test in Indianapolis to begin driver evaluations and establish relationships with racers.

Well aware that the talent-level within the USF2000 Championship is deep, the former SCCA National Championship-winning squad has assembled a strong line-up for the two-day test on the IMS road course.

Day one will feature Ruch, Estrela, and Verra all piloting an Afterburner Autosport Van Diemen with Mazda power. Ruch, from nearby Frankfort, Ind., joins the squad having impressed both in the karting ranks (winning numerous races) and the 2011 Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine test last year in Florida. Estrela, a native of Goiania, Brazil, will make his USF2000 debut as the 2011 Skip Barber Race Series Champion Shootout winner and Skip Barber Winter Series runner-up. Verra, who resides in Calgary, Alb., slides into the cockpit with experience in both the Skip Barber Summer Series and Winter Series, as well as the F1000 Championship series.

When the USF2000 Championship cars roll back on-course on day two of the Mazda Road to Indy test, Blok will also get his chance to showcase his talents. The Beachburg, Ont., racer will pilot an Afterburner Autosport entry as the reigning two-time Quebec-based Formula Tour F1600 champion, and a two-time Team Canada Scholarship finalist.

"We are really excited to have these four drivers testing with Afterburner Autosport during the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test at Indy," stated Afterburner Autosport's Brian Tomasi. "Blok, Estrela, Ruch, and Verra are all ready to make the step up to USF2000 in 2013... and be successful. Hopefully we can put things together for a full campaign next year, as I'm confident all of them could challenge for Rookie of the Year honors."

Testing on the renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course commences on Wednesday morning (October 10), with the Afterburner Autorsport cars and the rest of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda field taking part in a one-hour session. A second 75-minute run will take place in the afternoon, with the schedule repeating on Thursday (October 11). Live Timing & Scoring will be available at Drivers interested in taking part in other off-season programs, are invited to contact Afterburner Autosport. 

Afterburner Autosport races with associate sponsorship from

Additional information on Afterburner Autosport is available from the team’s website at For direct contact, email or call 630-251-1709.

Keep up to date via Twitter @ ABautosport1 and Facebook page @ Afterburner-Autosport


About Afterburner Autosport:
Afterburner Autosport was formed in 2010 with the sole purpose of leading the way in the USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition. Under the guidance of two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Brian Tomasi and fellow F2000 racer and engineer Tim Walsh, the team has over 20 years of experience in open-wheel competition. The Minnesota, Min.-based squad, having captured two podium finishes in its inaugural pro racing season last year, will make its USF2000 Championship debut in 2012, fielding multiple cars in the top Championship class.
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