SBRS: CSOT: Annual Barber-Champ Car Karting Runoff preview

7th Annual Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship Runoff this weekend. LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Dec. 30) - The Skip Barber Racing "star search" system that over the past seven years has unearthed and then rewarded such talents as Ryan Hunter-Reay, ...

7th Annual Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship Runoff this weekend.

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Dec. 30) - The Skip Barber Racing "star search" system that over the past seven years has unearthed and then rewarded such talents as Ryan Hunter-Reay, Michael Valiante and A.J. Allmendinger gets under way again this week. The Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship Runoff -- the annual judged competition that rewards the most young talented karters with more than $130,000 in racing cash -- will be held this Sunday and Monday, January 4 and 5, at Sebring International Raceway.

This year, 35 of the best young karters from the United States and Canada will each spend the bulk of two days in a Formula Dodge R/T 2000, in both test and "race" conditions, in hopes of making an impression on a panel of judges in order to earn one of six scholarships to compete in the 2004 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER, the Official National Amateur Championship of Champ Car. The majority of the drivers in the Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship Runoff come from the ranks of the World Karting Association (WKA) and the Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow series.

One karter will be awarded a full season of FDNC -- $38,150 -- while five more will each earn 50 percent ($19,075) of the entry fee.

"We truly feel there is no better opportunity for the serious young karter than the Skip Barber system, if the desire is to get into open-wheel racing's topmost ranks," says FDNC Managing Director Divina Galica. "The equal-car premise behind every Skip Barber auto racing championship, the coaching, the huge amounts of seat time, the furious competition, the simple stark value of our racing -- all that has been attracting the best karters for a number of years." Galica noted that there is no minimum age for drivers to compete in FDNC or the four Regional Formula Dodge championships, provided they pass muster with Skip Barber's chief instructors.

The judging panel is comprised of noted coaches and drivers such as Galica, Kelly Collins, Jim Pace, Barry Waddell, Gregg Borland, Jason Holehouse and R.B. Steiwing, as well as a former karter who took advantage of the Skip Barber system before it was officially formalized -- Bryan Herta. Known for his strong and active advocacy of North American karting, Herta joins the karting scholarship panel for the first time. In prior years, he's judged the "Big Scholarship" runoff, where the most promising drivers in FDNC are rewarded with significant scholarship money to race in the Champ Car-sanctioned Barber Dodge Pro Series.

Note: For a complete list of the 2004 Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship Runoff candidates, please go to www.skipbarber.com.

-barber-

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