Road America preview

It's Tight at the Top Since its inception in 1986, the Barber Dodge Pro Series has raced every year on what is arguably the United States& ...

It's Tight at the Top

Since its inception in 1986, the Barber Dodge Pro Series has raced every year on what is arguably the United States’ most challenging natural terrain road course, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Drivers like Jeremy Dale, Kenny Brack, and Robbie Buhl have gone onto take stirring Barber Pro Series victories there, and despite it’s mammoth length of four miles, it has produced some of the closest margins of victory in series history. Expect no different this weekend when the Barber Dodge Pro Series visits Road America on August 17-19 for the 16th time.

Will Rondet complete the hat trick at Road America, August 17-19?

If the previous round at Mid-Ohio on Aug 10-12 was any indication, the battle for the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award given to the Series champion might yet again produce another epic race in Barber Dodge history at Road America.

Nicolas Rondet will seek his third consecutive victory and fourth of the season in order to tighten his grip on the championship lead he brings to Elkhart Lake. A hat trick for the Frenchman will prove difficult as there has been little to separate him from his title adversaries.

Second in points and second to Rondet at Mid-Ohio, American Matt Plumb relishes the challenge of Road America, a track where he has qualified well on in the past. However, he must overcome the demons that put an early end to his race there last year.

Sepp Koster, third at Mid-Ohio and third in the points has had the speed in race trim over the season but has failed to match his race pace with an equal performance in qualifying. As the year winds to a close the Belgian domiciled Dutchman can ill afford to start the race on his heels and thus will look for a strong performance in qualifying to match his race pace.

Roger Yasukawa follows his rivals with a fourth-place finish at Mid-Ohio and fourth in the overall tally. The Californian with Japanese heritage has scored points in every round this year but needs to win to stay on par with the title chase. Last year he finished fourth in this race.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is fifth overall and was fifth at Mid-Ohio completing the trend for the title contenders. Since his win in Toronto in mid-July the 20-year old from Boca Raton, Fla. has struggled somewhat in the last two rounds but remains undeterred in his quest to win his fourth consecutive Barber-CART Scholarship (Karting Scholarship, Big Scholarship, Rookie of the Year). Last year he finished second at Road America in his first professional visit to the track.

The overall title is not the only award up for grabs as the battle for the $185,000 Barber-CART Rookie of the Year Award is equally tight. Six points are all that separate Jon Morley, Davy Cook, Rafael Sperafico and Akihira Okamoto. This has been the tightest Rookie battle in years and should Christian Szymczak take a bounty of points this weekend the battle will be a five-way affair with only two rounds remaining after the weekend.

Two titles and two hot battles in a series renowned for intense competition, 2001 could be the most nail biting one yet.

-BDPS-

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Robbie Buhl , Kenny Brack , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Roger Yasukawa , Rafael Sperafico , Sepp Koster , Matt Plumb , Akihira Okamoto , Jon Morley