Barber Dodge confirms double-race weekend format for 2004
LAKEVILLE, Conn. and SEBRING, Fla. (Oct. 10) The CART-Champ Car Barber Dodge Pro Series officially announced that for the 2004 season, it will increase the number of races comprising the championship by going to a double-race weekend format. Current plans call for races at seven or eight venues, making for a 14- to 16-race championship. From the series' inception in 1986, Barber Dodge was a 12-race championship, shifting to 10 races in 2002 and 2003.
"A primary motivation behind the increase is to attract more European drivers to the CART-Champ Car Driver Development System," says Rick Ratajczak, driver relations manager the Barber Dodge Pro Series. "The open-wheel ladders series in Europe typically conduct something on the order of 14-to-18 races. Now we can offer an equivalent amount of points races." Ratajczak adds that "the best value in professional open-wheel racing gets even better: The entry fee will be nominally increased, but the per-race cost will go down dramatically. And that's not even mentioning the big decrease in overall travel costs for the competitors."
Barber Dodge Operations Director Steve Sewell says it's important to note that the double-race format requires no more weekend track time than is currently set for Champ Car's support series. "The short and long of it is, at most venues we are essentially replacing a Saturday qualifying session with a race; a driver's result in that race becomes his or her starting position for Sunday."
Regarding a specific schedule, it is too early to announce, Sewell says, "but of course we'll be working with Champ Car to firm things up as it defines next year's dates and venues. We expect our 2004 schedule to be substantially similar to 2003's."
Sanctioned by CART, the Barber Dodge Pro Series, headquartered in Lakeville, Conn., with its race shop in Sebring, Fla., serves as the Official Entry Level Professional Race Series of CART Champ Car. For more information about the CART Champ Car Ladder System, log onto www.champcarworldseries.com and click on the respective links to the Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series, Formula Dodge National Championship, and Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow karting.