Walter Hayes Trophy runner-up Matt Cowley’s will miss next weekend’s Mazda Road to Indy Shootout despite receiving a ticket to the event.
The two-day competition has been mired in doubt due to ongoing bankruptcy proceedings for the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Organisers have confirmed the Shootout will take place, but Cowley has said he’ll miss the event due to commitments elsewhere.
The 21-year-old drove for Team Dolan in the WHT, and was in contention for victory in his heat before a late clash with Kevin Mills Racing’s Jordan Dempsey meant he dropped to finish 11th. He therefore had to enter the Last Chance race to make it to the semi-finals, and in that he rose from 11th on the grid to win.
He started his semi-final from 28th, and had overtaken 20 cars before the race was red flagged after seven laps. Then in the four-lap restarted segment he rose from eighth to finish fourth. In the final he did two better from the same starting position of eighth.
“Starting 28th and I managed to finish in fourth! If there had been another lap I think I would’ve got a podium,” Cowley said of his semi-final charge.
“It [the restart] brought me closer to the front but meant I had to drop a few places back [as grid was taken from a lap before the red flag] so I had to overtake a couple of people again.”
“[The final] was good, we went a bit low on tyre pressures so we had to kind of hold on at the start and come on later in the race,” Cowley added.
“For the first half of the race there was five or six of us that were all in a train battling the whole way through. Then towards the end we started to break away and get a bit of a gap.
“We couldn’t quite run the set-up we wanted for the rain, but even so the car felt really good. Team Dolan has done an amazing job all weekend giving me a great car. Second in the final, close to first the whole way round. I was giving him a push but Michael [Moyers] drove a great race and ended up coming home with the win so congrats to him.”
Cowley competed in the Shootout last year after winning the F1600 Championship Series title, and was the 2015 WHT Historic final winner.