Montreal: Event preview

Barber Dodge Pro Series Makes First Visit To Montreal The Barber Dodge Pro Series will make its maiden visit to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as part of the Molson Indy Montreal weekend along with the CART FedEx Champcars as 24 drivers will be...

Barber Dodge Pro Series Makes First Visit To Montreal

The Barber Dodge Pro Series will make its maiden visit to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as part of the Molson Indy Montreal weekend along with the CART FedEx Champcars as 24 drivers will be looking to set their name in history and win the Barber Dodge race at the world-renowned 2.747-mile track.

While the season championship is long since decided, with A.J. Allmendinger securing the title with a third place finish at Mid Ohio, second place in the standings is still very much up for grabs. After a disappointing weekend at Road America, Mid Ohio winner Marc Breuers arrives in Montreal holding on to a slim four-point margin over Laguna Seca round winner Rafael Sperafico, while Dan Di Leo, Davy Cook, and Memo Rojas are only separated by eight points in the standings.

Of the top six in points, Di Leo and Rojas are the only two drivers not to have won a race yet this season, but find themselves toward the sharp end of the points fight largely due to consistent strong finishes, with Di Leo having five top-five finishes this season and Rojas four. Di Leo, of Markham, Ontario and Rojas, of Mexico City, Mexico, are both hoping to join Allmendinger, Sperafico, Cook, Breuers, and Leo Maia as first time winners in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

Di Leo is one of four Canadian drivers to participate in the race this weekend, as Mike Richardson of Kelowna, B.C. and Didier Schraenen of St. Hilaire, Quebec will be representing Canada as well as Josh Beaulieu, who scored his first podium finish of the season last week at Road America.

Beaulieu of Langly, B.C., is looking particularly forward to this race as he is the only racer in the field to have competed at the track, having won there in Canadian Formula Ford on his way to being named the "2001 Driver of the Year" in the category. While he is glad to have some track time on the 2.74-7mile course, he downplays the advantage that might give him.

"It will help, for sure, but it's a simple enough track that the other Barber Dodge drivers will pick it up right away," said Beaulieu. "This field is so talented that even when we come to a brand new course, the guys get up to speed very quickly. I am looking forward to the weekend, since we are again racing in my own country, and that will be a special thrill for me. I haven't had the results I have wanted so far this season in our Canadian races, so I am looking to change that here. I have a lot more confidence now in myself and my car with my podium finish at Road America, so hopefully we can get another good result."

Beaulieu is not the only driver looking forward to the event. Last weekend's Road America round winner, Leo Maia, is eager to get back into the car after taking his first win and first pole position at the challenging permanent road course in Wisconsin.

"The first two races we had in Canada earlier this season were just mind-blowing," said Maia. "I have never seen so many fans-really informed fans, too. It's going to be new to pretty much everyone, so it will be interesting to see how quickly we can adapt to the track. I am just now feeling like I am getting into the groove and starting to show what I can do in the car, so I can't wait to get back to racing this weekend."

Series Champion-elect A.J. Allmendingeris not to be counted out, either, as his stirring drive from 10th starting position, his worst of the season, to second place at Road America showed that he has no intention of cruising home on the season. Allmendinger is looking for his sixth win this season, which would match Kenny Brack, a feat that would be all the more remarkable considering that Brack had two more races in 1993 than Allmendinger does in 2002.

First qualifying takes place at 12:40 PM on Friday, with final qualifying taking place at 12:50 PM on Saturday. The 40-minute race is scheduled to start at 11:15 AM on Sunday in front of what is expected to be one of the largest crowds this season. Full results and story will be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the Official Entry Level Professional Series of CART. The drivers utilize identically prepared single seat open wheel Reynard-Dodge racecars. Barber Dodge Pro Series provides a level playing field where driving talent, not financial resources, play the decisive role. This state-of-the-art platform, with its carbon composite construction, raised nose and 6-speed sequential gearbox, takes full advantage of the 265hp all aluminum Dodge V6 Intrepid motor that is exclusive to this series. Additionally, all of the Barber Dodges compete on identical Michelin Pilot racing slicks.

To ensure absolute equality for all competitors, the Barber Dodge Pro Series owns, maintains, prepares and transports all the cars and equipment. This serves to control costs while allowing the drivers to concentrate solely on developing their driving skills. The Barber Dodge Pro Series rewards those with dedication and skill with true financial incentive - an incredible $55,100 in prize money is available for each Barber Dodge Pro Series event with $13,000 going to the race winner. The overall Series Champion receives a $100,000 scholarship towards entry in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, and the series Rookie of the Year receives $185,000 in career enhancement funding. In total, the Barber Dodge Pro Series pays out over $1 million annually in prize money, contingencies and scholarships.

Points Standings
Barber Dodge Pro Series
(Through Round 9 of 10)

1. AJ Allmendinger,  167 points

2. Marc Breuers, 110 points
3. Rafael Sperafico, 106 points
4. Dan Di Leo, 87 points
5. Davy Cook, 83 points

Notes-

* Danica Patrick will be rejoining the Barber Dodge Pro Series for the season finale after prior commitments prevented her from participating in the Road America round. Patrick has raced well at the Canadian rounds, scoring a seventh-place finish in just her first start in the series in Toronto, and following that up with her career-best fourth-place finish in Vancouver in only her third start in Barber Dodge competition.

* Consistency pays in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Looking at the leaders in the championship, one thing is clear-top five finishes on a consistent basis are requisite to moving up in the standings, with Allmendinger holding on to an astounding nine finishes in the top five, with no finishes worse than fourth. <pre> Top Five Finishes Season Standings Position

Allmendinger            9                                       1
Rafael Sperafico        6                                       3
Marc Breuers            5                                       2
Dan Di Leo              5                                       4
Davy Cook               5                                       5
Memo Rojas              4                                       6

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About this article
Series Barber Pro
Drivers Kenny Brack , Josh Beaulieu , Davy Cook , Memo Rojas , Mike Richardson , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Rafael Sperafico , Didier Schraenen , Danica Patrick