By: Tanner Watkins
December 5, 2018 | 9:00 AM
In an action-packed 17 years of life, Courtney Crone has wasted little time asserting herself as one of the newest open-wheel prospects to keep an eye on.
After winning the Formula Car Challenge’s FormulaSPEED 2.0 championship, Crone will have more than a few important individuals in the racing community watching over her this weekend. The California native is set to compete in the Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout against 19 other formula champions with a full ride scholarship to USF2000 on the line.
Crone is scheduled to be the first female driver to compete at the Shootout in its brief three-year history. Oliver Askew won the prize in 2016 – eventually taking the USF2000 championship the year after – while Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed the scholarship last December.
The road to this weekend’s Shootout wasn’t a mysterious unknown with Crone popping up out of nowhere. Hailing from Corona, the talented driver took her first laps on a small motorcycle at just over two years of age. The daughter of a former Formula Ford and Super Vee driver in the 1970s, Crone was destined for racing from the get-go.
By age four she was in go-karts racing at the since-departed Rialto Airport Speedway, and a year later the focus shifted to quarter midgets for Crone.
Fast forward to 2017 and you would see Crone competing in another race for the cash: the challenging VMB Driver Development Scholarship Shootout. She would win the scholarship competition en route to what became a championship season in FormulaSPEED.
Made up of three separate classes, Crone competed in the greater Formula Car Challenge Series. The middle class of that racing league is defined as FormulaSPEED 2.0, and that is where Courtney ended up dominating this past season.
In 14 races, Crone won an impressive nine times, and while the field sizes were not as large as other formula series, wins at tracks like Thunderhill Raceway, Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway were more than enough to thrill the young driver and her family.
By winning the Formula Car Challenge Series’ FormulaSPEED 2.0 championship, Crone was selected as an at-large entry to this weekend’s Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout. While she is honored to be the first woman to compete for the scholarship, Crone is more than focused on what lies ahead.
“Although I think it is a very awesome opportunity to be able to say I am the first female to compete in the Road to Indy Shootout, I do not think of it that way. I actually did not realize or think about it until you had informed me about it!” Crone told Open-Wheels.
“I am very much just like all the other guys that are heading there to compete, with one goal in mind: to win the Shootout.”
Adding to the list of accolades for 2018, Crone was announced as one of 50 female drivers that will compete for a spot in the inaugural W Series. The W Series has received its fair share of coverage lately as a racing league designed to give women a chance to prove their talent on a single platform.
All of this activity and progress in 2018 leads Crone to the Arizona desert where she will compete at the Bondurant Racing School for that coveted spot in USF2000 next season. Well-rounded in her outlook at this stage of her career, Crone wants to win but can certainly see the value in simply being part of the battle this weekend.
“Of course an acceptable result at the Shootout would be to win. But I am there not only to compete, but (also) for the experience that comes along with it,” explained Crone. “As long as I know I put in my best effort and come away with no regrets, that is all I can ask for.”
Crone’s simple outlook on the Shootout coincides with her plans for a future in motorsports.
“My overall career goal is to make racing my career, and to get paid to do what I absolutely love,” says Crone. “I do have an eye towards open-wheel – mainly the IndyCar Series – but I am not picky!”
For a driver racing towards the sheer love of motorsport, Crone has done quite well to make a name for herself in the auto racing landscape. This weekend she can add another notch in her belt with the possibility of something even greater on the horizon.
Only time can tell where Courtney will end up, but one thing is for certain: her ride there will be worth paying attention to.
Header image courtesy of Courtney Crone.