Four separate championship events culminated in the ride of a lifetime for four Skip Barber trained racers as the winners of the CART Stars of Tomorrow competition tested in a Team Rahal Champ Car.
Scott Speed, Matt Jaskol, Colin Fleming and Chris Carmody each tripped 20 laps in the test, which was held at Firebird International Raceway, with the team’s director of operation Mark Johnson as well as former Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice on hand to aid the drivers. The program ran its second such test after being founded last year by 1991 Barber Pro Series Champion and CART driver Bryan Herta, both tests coming with the help of the Hilliard, Ohio Champ Car squad.
"I remember how frustrating it was when I was first starting out," said Team Rahal owner and three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal. "This is my way of giving back to this great sport and to the people like Jim Trueman who were so good to me. Team Rahal has been supportive of a number of young drivers and we have tried to take the time to help them. We can't always provide a test or actually run them in a race, but answering e-mails and letters and doing what we can to support a great program like Stars of Tomorrow will only help these kids and the sport of in the future."
Times weren’t released, but the day wasn’t about times and speeds. It was more about getting the drivers a chance to get hands-on experience in the cars that many of them dream about driving as they further their racing careers.
"These kids showed that they are quick learners and they did a great job under what has to be some difficult circumstances," said Johnson. "Not only is this their first time in a car with this kind of power, but to have several of your peers standing there watching you has to make for a nerve wracking experience. We tried to ease each of them into the experience and give them a chance to absorb how the car responds in different situations."