(Toronto, Ontario) July 11, 2003-The Barber Dodge Pro Series will cross the border this weekend to race on the streets of Toronto for round seven of ten in the 2003 championship. The Toronto round is the first of three races which comprise the...
(Toronto, Ontario) July 11, 2003-The Barber Dodge Pro Series will cross the border this weekend to race on the streets of Toronto for round seven of ten in the 2003 championship. The Toronto round is the first of three races which comprise the Dodge Trans-Canada Challenge, a championship consisting of the three Canadian events on the Barber Dodge schedule, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, which will award the driver with the best results in the three events with a significant scholarship towards future Barber Dodge Pro Series races.
Leo Maia of Oakland, California, has been making every effort to mark the overall championship as his own, taking an unprecedented twenty-three championship points in Portland by scoring two points in qualifying, one for the fastest lap of the race, and twenty more for the victory, and then repeating the feat in Cleveland last weekend.
Maia has no intention of letting up, as he showed in the Cleveland round, where he set the fastest lap of the race (which broke the previous record held by current Toyota Atlantic Championship points leader A.J. Allmendinger) on the twenty-fifth lap after he had already built a fifteen second margin over second place, an eternity in Barber Dodge Pro Series competition. Maia is hoping to keep his hot streak alive as the Pro Series arrives in Toronto.
"I have a really good street course set up, and so I am looking forward to racing in Toronto," said Maia. " Dan is going to be tough to beat here in Toronto, but I am feeling confident heading into the weekend. I just hope I didn't get him too angry last weekend in Cleveland, since he races really well when he gets angry. Last time I got him mad, he went on and won the next race at Laguna Seca!"
Maia is referring to his closest pursuer in the points, Dan Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, who has his own take on how the championship battle will look, as he is hoping to bring the points gap down and have an opportunity to take the championship for himself. Di Leo, who won his first Barber Dodge race at Laguna Seca, and finished second to Maia in Cleveland, is hoping to make his hometown race the site of his second Barber Dodge win.
"Racing at home is a great experience, I ran well here last season, and I'm looking forward to gaining some points here this weekend on Leo," said Di Leo. "Leo has been driving really well, but there are still four races to go in the season, and a lot of points in play, so I just have to keep fighting for it every session."
Mike Richardson rejoins the Pro Series and is one of seven Canadians are entered the race this weekend. Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, will be making his first Barber Dodge Pro Series start this weekend and joins Greg Long, Josh Beaulieu, Antoine Bessette, Chris Green as members of the Canadian contingent.
Chris Baker of Houston, Texas, is entered for the race, but will wait until Friday to make a final determination about driving after he suffered injuries to his hand in the Portland round during qualifying. Baker received surgery from Dr. Trammel and is currently doing light physical training to recover from the injury, as well as keeping sharp with some karting. Baker is hoping to race this weekend, but knows that he might be required to sit out a second round to ensure that he has healed entirely.
The rookie of the year battle is hotly contested as Barber Champ Car Scholarship drivers Colin Fleming, Scott Poirier, Burt Frisselle, as well as Luis Pelayo, are only separated by eleven points. The Barber Dodge Pro Series rookie of the year is awarded significant funding towards a second season in Pro Series competition.
The Barber Dodge Pro Series will hold first round qualifying on Friday at 2:30 p.m. , with final qualifying taking place on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., and the race is scheduled to get underway at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.