Fourteen of North America’s best karters came to Sebring International Raceway on Feb.14-15. Trite as it may seem this was one of those epic competitions where it was unfortunate that there could only be four winners.
Kevin Christensen, Michael Rossi, Jonathan Strohm, and Landon Yee emerged as the winners of the annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout, entitling them to a full season of racing in the inaugural Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER and featuring the new and exciting Formula Dodge R/T 2000 race car. In addition to their entry, each driver will receive three Skip Barber Race Series advanced activities.
“This was the most talented group of karters we’ve had,” according to Skip Barber Race Series Director Rick Ratajczak. “It was an extremely difficult decision to narrow it down to four drivers. All of us on the panel needed the full two days we allowed ourselves to come to a decision.”
Considering how talented previous Karting Scholarship fields have been, that is high praise indeed.
Christensen, 18, from Castaic, Ca., has been racing karts for eight years. Among his career highlights are 26 International Kart Federation (IKF) wins, seven IKF regional championships and three club championships. His karting experience does not end behind the wheel. In addition to his eight years of racing, Christensen also has two years under his belt as a kart mechanic, earning him 4 IKF Grand National Champion Mechanic belt buckles.
In just three years of karting, Rossi has built himself an impressive karting resume. At 18 years old, Rossi, from Murrita, Ca., has an IKF Super Series Formula A Championship to his credit as well as several other top season ending rankings. Recent years have seen Rossi racing Europe including a CRG factory drive. This was Rossi’s second appearance at the Karting Scholarship Shootout.
Breaking the California mold, Strohm, 18, from Wildwood, Mo., held the distinction in 1998 of winning seven separate national points championships in one season. Strohm has been racing karts since age 10 where he won his first championship in the St. Louis Karting Association Junior I category in 1991. This was also Strohm’s second shootout appearance.
Yee,18, also began his racing career at the tender young age of nine. The San Rafael, Ca., resident is currently working on his studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In the meantime he has found time to win three IKF Grand National Championships (HPV-3, HPV-4 and Sportsman Classes).
Continued growth for karting in the U.S. should see ever increasing competition in future Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootouts, particularly if the 2000 edition is any indication. That bodes well for the future of open-wheel racing in North America, and the Skip Barber Racing School Karting Scholarship will be at the center of it.