UW-Eau Claire student wins $200,000 racing scholarship at Atlanta eventNovember 14, 2013
| Aaron Telitz began racing go-karts at age seven and made the transition to race cars in 2012.
|Aaron Telitz pictured with Skip Barber Racing School CEO Michael Culver (left) and race series director Keith Dalton (right) as he received his $200,000 scholarship check.
EAU CLAIRE — Aaron Telitz, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire geography major, won the $200,000 Mazda driver development scholarship during the 2013 Skip Barber Race Series Championship Shootout Nov. 11-13 in Atlanta, Ga.
"Winning this scholarship is a huge launch pad to continue my climb to IndyCar," Telitz said. "It gives me the opportunity to go into next season and focus more on my on-track performance. The scholarship money will go toward my 2014 race campaign in the USF2000 Championship."
Telitz, a junior from Birchwood, is balancing his love of racing and his interest in geography as he pursues his dream of becoming an Izod IndyCar driver. He returned to UW-Eau Claire this semester after taking a yearlong leave of absence to focus on his racing.
"Being a race car driver is much more than just showing up at the track, getting in the car and driving the wheels off it," Telitz said. "I spent fall and winter of 2012-13 attracting sponsors and finding a race team that needed a driver and competing in events to stay fresh behind the wheel."
During his leave of absence, Telitz competed in the 2013 Skip Barber Winter Series, placing second in the points championship. He also joined WISKO Race Engineering and competed in the F1600 Championship Series, which is composed of 12 races over six weekends at race tracks across the Midwest and the east coast. He won one race, claimed two pole positions and finished third in his first season of professional racing. Telitz also was chosen as one of six finalists for the Team USA scholarship program, which recognizes rising stars in open wheel racing.
"I made the decision to come back to college because I believe getting a college education is extremely important," Telitz said. "I take a lot of pride in the fact that I will be one of the few race car drivers who has gotten a college degree."
Telitz said he always tries to connect his classes to racing in some way. During his sophomore year he did an entire presentation on how car racing develops a lot of technology that goes into street cars, such as safety, fuel efficiency and overall vehicle quality. This semester Telitz is creating an interactive Web geography information systems program that locates all of the racetracks in Wisconsin.
Telitz started racing go-karts at the age of 7 in Eau Claire at the Midwest Karting Association racetrack. After winning back-to-back season championships at MKA in 2003 and 2004, he advanced to larger karting venues. Since 2004 Telitz has won a variety of season championships and races. Last year he made the transition from go-karts to race cars and plans to continue his racing career after he graduates in 2015.