By: Tanner Watkins
March 7, 2019 | 1:00 PM
At times, it is easy to take a look at the various levels of prospects throughout the Road to Indy and be a bit overwhelmed.
You’ll see drivers from America, drivers from different countries, veterans, youngsters, and pretty much everything in between. It’s often difficult for prospects to jump off the page in open-wheel development series. Cameron Shields shouldn’t have that issue.
A 2018 Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout finalist, Shields is a native of Toowoomba, Queensland. If that town sounds familiar, that’s because it is:
For Shields, Power has been an influence in his direction to American open-wheel racing for many years now.
“When I was much younger, I used to go watch the Indy race at the Gold Coast. Watching (Will) in Australia put it on pole position two years in a row, that really sparked my interest,” says Shields. “At that stage, I was racing motocross, but that is really what got me to four wheels – watching his success on such a big stage. I thought it would be absolutely awesome to race on a track like that.”
While the timing seems right for Shields to take a look at IndyCar – the series is evaluating options for a return to Gold Coast – the conditions for the Aussie’s arrival to USF2000 were even more ideal.
Shields, just 18 years of age, turned in a stellar campaign driving in the Australian Formula 3 Premier Championship last year, posting 18 wins and a runner-up finish in the championship.
Shields was also the recipient of 2019 SAHOF scholarship and mentor program, receiving a $5,000 (AUS) scholarship which he invested in testing at the end of last season to prepare for the upcoming USF2000 season.
The first Road to Indy test prepared Shields for his 2019 opportunity with the respected Newman Wachs Racing organization, a group that has wowed the Australian from the get-go.
“I’m very impressed with what they have done in the past. Speaking with my engineer (John Hayes), he’s got a lot of experience behind him so I’m certainly very confident this season, and
Considering the pairing between Shields and Newman Wachs – and the relative success between them – the driver knows the potential to succeed is high, even if there is a bit of luck required at times.
We haven’t tested together yet, but I’m certainly confident that we are going to produce some good results,” Shields adds. “At the end of the day, we aren’t entering the championship to come second – we want to win.
“I don’t have a doubt in my mind that both myself and the team are capable – I think we are very capable of doing it. It is all going to come down to the matter of putting everything together and trying very hard.
“It is a big championship, there are going to be a lot of cars. We can be the quickest car but you’re still going to have to have luck on your side as well. I think it is going to be a very big season but a very good season as well, so I’m certainly looking forward to it.”
Shields and the rest of the USF2000 field will hit the track Thursday for first practice during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend. Fans can follow the action by visiting USF2000.com.