First Day of $240,000 Shoot-Out Complete
Champ Car star and 1991 Barber Pro Series Champion Bryan Herta was a late addition to the judging staff for the Barber-CART Big Scholarship Shoot-Out. His wisdom will be put to the test as a gathering of some of the brightest talent on the American racing scene gathered to vie for the $195,000 scholarship to compete in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series. It wasn’t the only scholarship that was up for grabs. Eight drivers from the Skip Barber Race Series were also chasing a $45,000 scholarship to contest the 2002 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER.

Both groups traded track time on the first of the two-day shoot-out with the Big Scholarship candidates in the Barber Dodge Reynard 98E while the National Championship group was in the Formula Dodge R/T 2000.

As expected the competition amongst the two groups was tight. Big Scholarship candidates A.J Allmendinger, Dan Di Leo, Dan Kraus, Leonardo Maia, Scott Presti, Juan Manuel Polar and Landon Yee completed three on track sessions. The first session was treated like a practice session on a Barber Dodge race weekend. Session two added a twist. The judges instigated a change in the Barber Dodge Reynard’s set-up without telling the drivers what the change was. Tasked with diagnosing the change, the candidates had to return to the pits after completing several laps had to communicate what the change was and how it affected the racecar. The final session followed the form of a first qualifying.

The day concluded with a mock press conference where the candidates marketing and public relations savvy was put to the test. In addition to Herta, the panel of judges also included racer and commentator, Tommy Kendall, CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel and Team Players Racing coach Richard Spenard, in addition to the regular Barber Dodge driver coaches.

The National Championship seat contenders Chris Baker, Gerardo Bonilla, Daniel Lancaster, Mike Marino, Ben Moore III Andy Newell and Scott Poirier followed the same routine less the press conference. A separate panel of judges was gathered to access the group.

At the end of the day, both groups put on a stunning set of performances leaving the judges with much to sleep on. Only one session in the form of a final qualifying is scheduled for the morning to put in one final stellar performance capable of swaying the judge’s minds, bearing in mind that the timesheets aren’t the only factor. The judges of both groups are in search of the‘ complete’ package.

-CART/Barber-