Kneifel Leads All-Star Judge Lineup Even more excitement has been added to the upcoming Barber-CART Big Scholarship Runoff as a cast of All-Star judges, led by CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel, has signed on to participate in driver evaluations.
Kneifel Leads All-Star Judge Lineup
Even more excitement has been added to the upcoming Barber-CART Big Scholarship Runoff as a cast of All-Star judges, led by CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel, has signed on to participate in driver evaluations. Joining Kneifel in the judging lineup will be 1989 Barber Pro Series Champion and Indy Racing League star Robbie Buhl, Richard Spenard, Tommy Kendall and motorsports journalist Jeremy Shaw. The five will be joined by the Barber Dodge Pro Series driver coaches Peter Argetsinger, David Loring, Jim Pace and Barry Waddell.
The judge corps is charged with identifying the one driver that distinguishes himself among seven finalists to earn a fully-funded season in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series. The candidates, seven of the top eight points finishers from the Formula Dodge National Championship, will participate in a two-day run-off using the Reynard 98E racecar.
“ We bring together a group of people that between them have dozens of years experience at all levels of motorsports,” said Barber Dodge Pro Series Managing Director Jeremy Dale, himself an accomplished road racer.“ Identifying talent is never easy and to be able to cull all this experience and knowledge is critical to the process.”
Chris Kneifel, winner of this year’s Daytona Rolex 24, has earned some unique distinctions during his long career. After a professional start in CART Indy cars, he moved to three Trans-Am Manufacturers Championship winning teams in 1985, 1986 and 1990. He placed third at both Daytona and Sebring in 1987 in a GTP entry. Similarly, Tommy Kendall and Richard Spenard bring their accomplishments to the judge’s table. Kendall is a well-rounded driver who’s won championships in various types of cars from IMSA to Trans-Am and has appeared in several NASCAR Winston Cup races. Richard Spenard is a veteran of the Sports Car wars; his race history includes having been a teammate to Gilles Villeneuve in Formula Atlantic. He’s also served an active role as driver coach for Players Champ Car team.
Of the racer talent, Buhl is most familiar with the Skip Barber organization, having ascended the motorsports ladder via some of its programs. In addition to his Pro Series title, Buhl also won the 1992 Indy Lights Championship and has competed in the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Daytona.
In Jeremy Shaw, the team will have not only a noted journalist who has a lot of connections in the industry, but someone who has been a champion of driver development and promoting young talent for many years. Shaw has penned for countless publications including Autosport and RACER as well as the Sky Sports and Speedvision.com web sites.
While some judges will be familiar with the Barber-CART finalists, others may not be and will rely on the Pro Series coaching staff to acclimate them to each racer’s profile and driving style.
Says Dale,“ That kind of balance is important. Bringing these guys in presents a fresh set of eyes; a new perspective on talent, allowing us to look at this group in a totally different way.”