Meet the Contenders: Jake Eidson
 September 9, 2015| 
  • Series News

Four drivers rose above the pack in this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Frenchman Nico Jamin, Americans Jake Eidson and Aaron Telitz, and Australian rookie Anthony Martin have accounted for 39 of the series’ 42 podium positions to date, with half of the season’s race podiums featuring a combination of Jamin, Eidson and Telitz. Jamin stands poised to set several series records at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale, capping a dominating season that could earn him a Mazda scholarship of over $381,000 to graduate to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2016.

PALMETTO, Fla. - In any other season, Jake Eidson’s record in USF2000 – four victories and podium finishes in 12 of 14 races – might have been good enough for the championship title. Instead, Eidson lies 50 points behind Jamin going into the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. But Eidson has not conceded the title just yet.

The 20-year-old resident of Littleton, Colo., began his karting career at age 12, racing successfully on the regional level before heading to the Skip Barber Racing School in 2010 to begin the transition to race cars. Named Skip Barber Rookie of the Year in the Winter Series in 2011, Eidson won both the 2011-2012 Skip Barber Winter Series and the 2012 Summer Series, which earned him a Team USA Scholarship. He moved up to F1600 in 2013, winning the championship and finished third in last year’s USF2000 championship.

Signing with Pabst Racing prior to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest, Eidson served notice by finishing third in the pre-season event, with two victories at NOLA Motorsports Park and only lost the title due to a rare mechanical problem in the double-points finale. He went on to sweep the opening weekend of the season, taking both pole positions and both race wins in St. Petersburg, Fla. Earning two more victories (at Lucas Oil Raceway and in Toronto), Eidson has been a model of consistency, finishing out of the top four only once.

Eidson has positive memories of his second USF2000 season but has already begun to think of what 2016 might bring. Naturally, the Mazda scholarship that comes with the championship would aid those plans.

“It’s been a pretty successful season, but most race car drivers aren’t happy unless we’re winning. There are races I look back at and I’m pleased with our performance, but of course there are races that I wish I could change. I have a lot of good memories but it’s not over. Hopefully we can come away with a good finish at the last event.

“This is my second year in USF2000 and it’s been a successful one, so I’m ready to move up. The scholarship would be a career-maker but if we don’t get it, we’ll keep fighting.”

Eidson is one of a handful of drivers who have experience at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Having taken his first Skip Barber Racing School at the iconic track, it was also the site of his first event in a race car. The fact that he was racing at a track that has hosted so many historic events was not lost on the young Eidson.

“I’ve done at least six Skip Barber races at Mazda Raceway and I have a good history at the track, but I haven’t been back in a while. I’m really looking forward to it. 

“I remember my first race there: it was almost like meeting a famous person. It was a bit surreal. I’d ‘driven’ there so many times on video games and seen it so many times on television that to actually race there was a very cool experience. We went around the track in a van and I remember going through the Corkscrew for the very first time - and I had no idea the elevation change was that much! When people say there’s no corner like the Corkscrew, it’s really true. Sometimes in the Skip Barber cars, if you hit the corner just right you’d come out of your seat a little bit. It feels like you’re falling for a second, like a roller coaster ride!”

If Eidson seems more poised than your average 20-year-old, it’s for good reason: but for a slight change of fate, his career path might have fallen along very different lines. 

“I was nine or 10 and my sister and I went to an agency in Denver to audition for a couple of kid commercials. We thought it would be something fun to do! She did a few photoshoots for some magazines but I, unfortunately, didn’t get anything. I auditioned for an AT&T commercial and I was bummed not to get it. Then, a few months later, I see a kid on an AT&T commercial and I think he was in the same room I was in. I guess he got the part!”

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