The Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow, a premier karting challenge founded last season by veteran Champ Car driver and Skip Barber grad Bryan Herta and partner Hollis Brown begins its four-race series this weekend at the Las Vegas...
The Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow, a premier karting challenge founded last season by veteran Champ Car driver and Skip Barber grad Bryan Herta and partner Hollis Brown begins its four-race series this weekend at the Las Vegas Karting Center in Las Vegas, Nev., with the third annual MOMO Grand Prix. Supported by CART, Skip Barber, Team Rahal, and Firestone, this year's edition sees the prize ante being upped. The winner of the Pro 125 Shifter class will receive a full ride in the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER, the official National Amateur Championship of CART.
Young karters from across the country will converge on the 13-turn, 7/8-mile road course to compete in Round One of the newly-formed championship, which features top young drivers from the ages of 16 and up competing in two classes --Pro 125 Shifter and Rotax-Max 125 (non-shifter).
"As a one-off event last year, Stars of Tomorrow more than exceeded Hollis' and my expectations," said Herta, who began his career in karts. "We are proud to see the series take the next step to become a four-race championship, and we hope that it will continue to grow in prestige and notoriety."
In addition to the Formula Dodge National Championship ride, the first and second-place drivers in the Pro 125 Shifter and Rotax-Max classes at the conclusion of the championship will receive a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School and a test in the Team Rahal Champ Car.
Rounds two through four of the Stars of Tomorrow Championship will be held as part of the US Shifter Nationals in Norman, Okla., on July 6-8; the SKUSA World Finals again in Norman, Okla., on September 21-23; and the SKUSA Super Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., on November 9-11.
In furthering to help bridge the gap between karting and CART, the Las Vegas Karting Center will be coordinating support races to be held during the CART FedEx Championship Series events at Portland, Ore. (June 22 -- 24), Cleveland, Ohio (June 29 -- July 1), and Laguna Seca, Calif. (October 12 -- 14).
Last year, five karters -- Kevin Christensen, Jason Bowles, Jonathan Bomarito, AJ Allmendinger and Brett Buckwalter -- edged out stiff competition to earn the Stars of Tomorrow title. The quintet capped off a three-day visit to the Skip Barber Racing School with the opportunity of a lifetime -- a test in the Team Rahal Champ Car on the California Speedway road course in Fontana, Calif., last November. Allmendinger, Bomarito, and Christensen are all contesting the 2001 Formula Dodge National Championship series.
- George Tamayo