Meet the Contender: Eric Powell

Eric Powell is a full-time stunt driver for Walt Disney World and a race car driver since the age of 14. Now 30, Powell returns as a finalist in the 2015 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout [he came up just short of winning the scholarship in 2014].

With his early experience stemming from a wide range of karting (from WKA dirt ovals to tag and shifter karts), Powell moved to stock cars. He competed in his local FASCAR short track series for several years before desiring to continue his education.

“I graduated from Universal Technical Institute followed by the NASCAR Technical Institute because I wanted to greatly increase my technical understanding and feedback capability,” Powell said.

Combined with his newfound knowledge and after working for several race teams, Eric began his foray into the road racing world by participating in track days and testing with a Pro Formula Mazda team in 2006. Later that year, he entered the Jim Russell Racing School’s annual driver shootout, competing against almost 100 other drivers and went on to be one of the winners. That year he also debuted in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge series (IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge), topping the time sheets in only his second practice session at the season-opening event.

Since then, he has explored many opportunities including testing for an American Le Mans Porsche GT2 program, instructing for racing schools (Skip Barber, Redline Experience, The Turn Key Drive Experience, and more), coaching private clients, and is now racing and winning regularly in NASA’s club racing series, including the 2014 NASA West Coast Championships in Performance Touring D and Time Trial D – with a car he built himself.

“The car was built with one specific goal in mind: to win a Mazda championship to become a semi-finalist in the Mazda Road to 24 and win!,” Powell said.
While he won the 2015 NASA West Coast Championships in Time Trial D, he crashed out while leading the Performance Touring D race after starting last. Luck was not a friend during the 2015 NASA Eastern States Championships, where his car suffered a mechanical failure in the race while holding a 20-plus-second lead. 2015 also saw his first foray into SCCA Majors club racing as a paid driver for the CCP fabrication Porsche team in E-Production.

Eric attributes a large part of his success to understanding the mechanics of the car, which makes him a better driver because of his ability to effectively identify and provide solutions for any setup or mechanical challenges. In addition, his eight years of experience as a stunt driver keep his car control skills at an all-time high.