Round 7 of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series season will take place this weekend at Concord Pacific Place as part of the Molson Indy Vancouver as the Pro Series will once again race in support of the CART FedEx Championship. A field of 21 racers...
Round 7 of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series season will take place this weekend at Concord Pacific Place as part of the Molson Indy Vancouver as the Pro Series will once again race in support of the CART FedEx Championship.
A field of 21 racers will see the green flag drop on Sunday, July 28 at 10:45a.m. PST as they pursue the season championship and the $100,000 Barber-CART Career Enhancement award. The drivers will also all be in pursuit of A.J. Allmendinger, who despite having his first non-podium finish of the season in Cleveland, still enjoys a 41-point margin over his closest competitor, Cleveland round winner Davy Cook.
The race weekend will feature three Canadians as Dan Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Mike Richardson of Kelowna, B.C., and Josh Beaulieu will try to impress on their home soil. Beaulieu, from nearby Langly, B.C. is looking to get his season back on track at the 1.781-mile temporary street course.
"We have had some misfortune in the last couple of races, so I am hoping my luck is different this weekend," said Beaulieu. "In all my years of racing, this weekend will be my first chance to race in front of my home crowd so I am really excited, although I will still have to learn the track like a lot of the other guys. I am happy to have been running closer to the front recently, and I led for the first time in this series at Cleveland, so I just want to be in that spot at the end of the race here in Vancouver."
Hollister, California's Allmendinger finished the Cleveland race in 4th, his worst finish in the 2002 season but he still heads into the Vancouver weekend as the season points leader and a corresponding amount of confidence. Allmendinger raced in the Vancouver event last season and finished in 6th place, so he is hoping to use that experience to extend his points lead this weekend.
"I am looking forward to this race since it is the first track this season that I have already experienced in a Barber Dodge car," said Allmendinger. "Last season, I qualified well here and managed to miss the accident in turn one. I was initially tentative with the car early in the race, but by the end, I was running laps as fast as the leaders. I love racing on street circuits and I am really comfortable on this track so I am hoping to have a good weekend and come out of here with more points. Everyone is obviously gunning for me, so I have to put my head down and perform.
When asked who he thinks his toughest competition is likely to be at the Vancouver street course, Allmendinger is hard pressed to pick one, instead naming nearly half the field. And he is right, as the Barber Dodge field is packed with talent, all of whom are aiming to take the championship.
"Its hard to say who is going to be the hardest competition, you can take your pick...Sperafico was quick here last year, and Breuers qualified well here last year as well," said Allmendinger. "I also would bet that Cook should be pumped up after getting his first win in Cleveland. I am really concentrated on the points, though, and just trying to come into this weekend with the same mind set as I have had for every race this year."
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 $12,000 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.
* Last years race saw Roger Yasukawa take his first-ever Barber Dodge victory over Nicolas Rondet, with Ryan Hunter-Reay rounding out the podium. All three drivers now compete in the Toyota Atlantic series
* Team Rahal-supported racer Danica Patrick will be racing in the Vancouver event after matching her debut 7th place finish in Toronto with another strong 7th place finish in Cleveland.
* Josh Rehm, who missed the first round race in Sebring, broke into the top 10 in championship points after the Plymouth, Massachusetts-native carded another top-ten finish in Cleveland