Two grassroots racers will be able to pursue their goals of racing at the professional level thanks to two grand prize sponsorships awarded through the 2016 “Search for a Champion” contest from Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ iconic Champion brand.
Chris Ferguson, a 26-year-old Dirt Super Late Model driver from Mount Holly, N.C., was selected to receive the $50,000 (USD) Search for a Champion grand prize in the Advanced category of the annual contest.
Myles Rowe, a 15-year-old go-kart driver from Powder Springs, Ga., was the winner in the Amateur category and will receive a $10,000 (USD) grand prize sponsorship.
Nearly 230,000 votes were cast at www.AlwaysAChampion.com during the contest, which awarded a record $200,000 (USD) in sponsorships and related prizes to 15 Advanced finalists and 25 Amateur finalists.
Search for a Champion encourages grassroots drivers to compete for sponsorship cash and other prizes based on materials submitted for voter review. Entrants in the Advanced category were required to submit photos, a 300-word essay and a two-minute video describing why they deserve to become a member of #TeamChampion. In the Amateur category, participants were required to submit photos and an essay, with the option to enter a video. Hundreds of entries were received, with participants representing virtually every form of engine-driven competition.
“When we launched our first Search for a Champion contest five years ago, we hoped it would serve as a catalyst for talented young drivers who are committed to elevating their programs and competing on a national stage,” said Laura Soave, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “The contest has done that and much more – it has energized the grassroots racing community and established strong new bonds between rising young racers and the Champion brand.”
Ferguson began his racing career in go-karts at age 12. Several years later he moved up to Dirt Crate Late Model competition, where he won a local championship in his first year. He has had even greater success in Super Late Model racing, where in 2015 he posted 13 feature wins, including victories at two World of Outlaw national events. “This is absolutely career changing,” Ferguson said. “We’ve always felt like we had to work harder than other teams to make up for not having a major sponsor, and now it has finally happened. I can’t describe how happy I am for my family and everyone who has contributed to our team.”
Rowe is in just his third year of go-kart racing but has already sketched out a plan to progress through four racing categories in the next several years, with the ultimate goal of becoming the youngest champion in the history of Indy Car competition. “Because I race nationally, we’ve really needed help with entry fees, mechanics and other expenses,” he said. “Winning the Champion sponsorship is unbelievable. I know a lot of drivers who use Champion spark plugs and have had a lot of success, so I’m looking forward to using them too.”