NA-F2000: Future Champ Car stars race into Mid-Ohio

Dublin, OH (August 6, 2003) - Not only will the stars of Champ Car be competing during the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, August 7-10, but many of the series' future stars will be on-hand to build their resumes as well. Three open-wheel series...

Dublin, OH (August 6, 2003) - Not only will the stars of Champ Car be competing during the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, August 7-10, but many of the series' future stars will be on-hand to build their resumes as well. Three open-wheel series and a collection of fender-bending Touring cars fill out the weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

The most recognized of the "driver development" series is the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. This series has provided 29 years of intense racing and has proven to be a stepping-stone for numerous celebrated racers. Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan were among the stars in the 1970s, and Michael Andretti used the Atlantic series in the 1980s to propel his career.

This year the Atlantic series has offered fans with one of its most promising seasons. A.J. Allmendinger holds the series points lead with just two races remaining, including The Argent Mortgage presents The Toyota Atlantics Championship at Mid-Ohio.

"Coming off a couple wins in a row, hopefully we can carry the push forward into the Mid-Ohio weekend," Allmendinger said. The RuSPORT driver and series rookie has won three consecutive races.

Allmendinger clinched the Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship last year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He now looks forward to being back at Mid-Ohio and has his eyes set on the Atlantic crown. "Hopefully Mid-Ohio will bring us one step closer to winning the championship this season." The Argent presents the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race takes the green flag on Sunday at 11:30 am.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series returns to Mid-Ohio as the Official Entry Level Professional Race Series of Champ Car. Leo Maia has already clinched the championship with five victories thus far in 2003. Bright stars like Al Unser, son of Al Unser Jr., and Dan DiLeo will be working hard to gain more points in the standings.

Additionally, The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship returns to Mid-Ohio for the its second doubleheader at the 2.258 - mile circuit this season, racing twice during the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic weekend in late June. Westley Barber holds a comfortable lead over fellow rookie Jonathon Bomarito and looks to extend that lead and follow up his victory at Mid-Ohio in June.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Mid-Ohio. The course reminds me of the course I grew up racing on in England, with different types of corners and lots of elevation changes," Barber said.

Charlie Kimball, winner of the most recent two rounds of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship said, "The team is really excited about coming to Mid-Ohio. We had a very good test here in late May and are coming off a fantastic weekend at Road America. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going and can get back into the title chase."

The SPEED World Challenge Touring Class provides the only fenders of the weekend. Acura RSX, Mazda Protege, BMW 325 and Subaru Impreza are among the compacts that will attack Mid-Ohio's twists and turns. With three wins on the season, Bill Auberlen has steered his BMW to a 18-point lead over Randy Pobst in an Audi RS 6. Phil McClure and his Corvette Z06 is only 21 points back and looking to make a move.

From Champ Cars through SPEED World Challenge, the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio is late in the season where points are at a premium. Aaron Justus, a rookie in 4th place in the Toyota Atlantic series, explains the importance of the weekend events.

"It's coming down to the end, and Mid-Ohio is part of the home stretch. Every point is going to matter and we need to be on our game for the Mid-Ohio event for sure."

Tickets to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio are available at the advance purchase price through Wednesday, August 6 at 5:00 p.m. More event and ticket information is available by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO or logging on to www.midohio.com.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a 2.25-mile, 13-turn permanent road racing circuit in Lexington, Ohio. Located 60 miles north of Columbus and 75 miles south of Cleveland near Mansfield, the track has been called the "Most Competitive in the U.S." and annually hosts a diversity of locally, regionally and nationally sanctioned racing events for amateur, club and professional riders and drivers. Mid-Ohio's 2003 schedule features six spectator events, including this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio and the SCCA National Championship Valvoline Runoffs* September 15-21.

More information about Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is available at www.midohio.com.

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About this article
Series Atlantic , Barber Pro , Other open wheel , PWC
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Bill Auberlen , Danny Sullivan , A.J. Allmendinger , Phil McClure , Charlie Kimball , Aaron Justus , Westley Barber