By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Newman Wachs Racing has revealed Darren Keane as their first confirmed pilot for the 2018 season in Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda.
The 18-year-old Floridian competed in a partial schedule in 2017, debuting with Team BENIK in the doubleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course before moving over to Newman Wachs Racing. Although he missed the opening three races, he still managed to finish 11th in the overall standings.
His most recent time in the car came at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the IMS road course where Keane impressed by finishing in the top four of all eight sessions, including the top of two of them while also showing nailing the best overall lap during the two day event.
“We had the pleasure of running Darren last year in his rookie season and we’re thrilled to have him back with us for 2018,” offered Brian Halahan, NWR Team Manager.
“I’m stoked with the speed he showed at the Chris Griffis test at Indianapolis and I’m extremely impressive with his development. He’s matured so much over the last few months and I’m pleased that we’ll be able to continue on the path that we started on last year. I’m very exciting for next season.”
Veteran Oswaldo Negri has been mentoring Keane as his driver coach and it has shown in the continued progress. Overall, the announcement keeps continuity on the team, which should pay dividends once the season gets going in March in St. Petersburg.
“I’m really happy to be signing with NWR,” said Keane, who finished a career-best fourth in Race 2 on the streets of Toronto.
“They’re a great group of guys and we have improved so much as a team over the last season. I’m really pleased to have a plan put together this early, because it gives us all the time we need to prepare for a championship next season. I think we’re going to have a great year and I’m looking forward to coming back to USF2000.
“Last year’s purpose was to learn as much as I could, and now I’m ready to use that knowledge to get results this season.”