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The Ladder Report: Jan. 31 Edition

It would probably be appropriate for me to start this out with a brief introduction.  I write the Junior Open Wheel Talent Blog and I was recently approached by Tony Johns to write about junior formula racing for PopOffValve.  When the opportunity presented itself, I wasn't sure how much time I would be able to commit but it was an honor to be approached by one of the greats... (Thank you for the opportunity, Tony).  I've always been impressed with SBNation and how they allow readers/fans to join in the discussion via Fanposts and Fanshots.  They have established a tremendous community surrounding their blogs and the idea of introducing that group to junior formula racing was simply too intriguing to turn down, so I agreed. 

I will try to post a weekly update or a weekly "Ladder Report" for anyone interested in junior formula racing.  My aim is to introduce you to today's up-and-coming open-wheel drivers. 

I hope you enjoy. 

For the first edition, I'll recap a few of the major signings and other news surrounding the junior formula world.

  • Furfari Brothers Sign with AIM Autorsport -Michael and Anthony Furfari have both committed to the 'Road to Indy' development program by signing with AIM Autosport for the 2010 season.  Anthony will be competing in the USF2000 National Championship and Michael will be returning to the Star Mazda Championship for his sophomore season. 
  • Joao Victor Horto Signs with Team Apex - Joao Victor Horto, who I named the 2009 Unsung Hero in FBMW-Americas, has signed with Team Apex for the 2010 Star Mazda Championship.  I expect he will be a driver to watch in 2010.
  • Connor De Phillippi Signs with JDC Motorsports -One of the biggest announcements in the past few weeks was that Connor De Phillippi---who won the 2009 Skip Barber National Championship--- signed with JDC Motorsports for the 2010 Star Mazda Championship. 
  • Interview with Court Vernon -I recently wrote a piece on aspiring Star Mazda competitor Court Vernon and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.  Make sure to stop over and read it if you haven't already.  Court is a standout driver and will undoubtedly be a driver to watch in the coming years. 
  • Junior Strous Signs with Team Moore -Junior Strous has decided to return to the Firestone Indy Lights in 2010 with Team Moore.  He swept the opening weekend last season at St. Pete but ended his season prematurely due to funding woes.  It will be great to see him back in a Lights car for 2010.
  • Star Mazda Sebring Test: Weekend Recap - The Star Mazda Championship just completed their first official test of the 2010 season at Sebring International Raceway.  Anders Krohn and Conor Daly topped the time charts in five-out-of-the-six-sessions.
  • Caio Lara Returns to JDC Motorsports - Following the Sebring test (mentioned above), Caio Lara has decided to return to JDC Motorsports for his third consecutive season in Star Mazda. 

For much more on the junior open-wheel racing scene, be sure and visit and follow JOWT on Twitter!