Sports Car Club of America® named Austin McCusker of Glen Head, New York, the 2017 recipient of the Jim Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year award. McCusker earned Rookie of the Year after winning the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® in the Formula Continental class at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last September.
"It's an amazing feeling to receive the Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year award," McCusker said. "To be paired with other drivers that have received this award is something I will remember forever. The team and I put a lot of efforts into the Runoffs and it seems to have paid off!"
In his Runoffs debut, McCusker took the lead from pole at IMS in his No.06 Dot Works/Primus Racing Van Diemen Ford Formula Continental, fighting off all challengers. After one aborted start attempt, the field took the green on lap two and there was a scramble up front as cars slid on cool tires. Defending champion John LaRue and another car made contact, sending LaRue into the turn three gravel trap. That spin, coupled with car trouble for another competitor in a separate incident, brought out a full-course caution. On the lap-six restart, McCusker and Tim Minor broke away. Minor put pressure on McCusker, but lapped traffic and course conditions hampered his efforts. In the end, McCusker’s margin of victory was only 1.131 seconds.
Rookie of the Year is presented to the SCCA® Road Racing driver showing the greatest promise. The award is based on driving ability demonstrated during the first season of National competition. Winners are selected by the Club Racing Board based on nominations submitted by Executive Stewards.