The Skip Barber Racing School announced today the names of 16 young karters who will participate in the 6th annual Barber-CART Karting Scholarship Run-off. The karting element of the Barber-CART Scholarship Ladder provides the first step in a comprehensive system designed to place talented and deserving young racers from the karting ranks into the Skip Barber competition program. The karters have a clear path ahead of them, from the "Karting Run-off" to the Formula Dodge National Championship Series, on to the Barber Dodge Pro Series, through the Toyota Atlantic Championship and ultimately to the CART FedEx Championship Series. Each of the karters will participate in a Skip Barber Three-Day Racing School, the established foundation for any racer, before taking part in the Run-off.
The 16 invitees will take part in the Barber-CART Karting Scholarship Run-off competition at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida on January 6-7, 2003. At the run-off, a panel of judges will select four winners from the sixteen invitees. Each winner will receive a ride in the Formula Dodge National Championship Series presented by RACER magazine, the official National Amateur Championship of CART, as well as additional training from the Skip Barber Racing School. The value of the package is worth nearly $40,000 to the winners of the run-off.
"With so many great applicants from all over North America for this year's Barber-CART Karting Scholarship Program, it was very difficult to trim the field to the final group of sixteen," said Series Director of the Barber Dodge Pro Series and Director of the Barber-CART Scholarship Program Rick Ratajczak. "Those of us at Sebring in early January will have our work cut out for us, as this just may be the deepest field of talent that we have seen for this very successful program."
The panel of judges is expected to include 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion A.J. Allmendinger, CART Ladder System Manager Robert Dole, Skip Barber Race Series Manager Divina Galica, as well as racing experts including factory Chevrolet Corvette ALMS team driver Kelly Collins, champion racer Richard Spenard and racing legend Terry Earwood.
This years invitees are the sixth group of karters to be selected to participate in the program, and the class is joining an impressive list of drivers who have moved up the ladder before them. This years CART Toyota Atlantic Championship runner-up Michael Valiante, 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series "Rookie of the Year" and CART Toyota Atlantic Championship multiple race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, as well as the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion A.J. Allmendinger and 2002 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Champion, Bryan Sellers are all previous winners of the Karting Scholarship Run-off.
The following are this year's invitees to "Barber-CART Karting Scholarship Run-off"
Michael Abbate, Las Vegas, Nevada
Nicholas Bussell, Ionia, Michigan
Matt Champagne, Fonthill, Ontario
Joe D'Agostino, Plantation, Florida
Jonathon Fecteau, Montreal, Quebec
Chris Festa, Atlanta, Georgia
Phillippe Gelinas, Grand-Mere, Quebec
Matt Jaskol, Las Vegas, Nevada
David Jurca, Federal Way, Washington
Tony Loniewski, Michigan City, Indiana
Berek McEwen, Flower Mound, Texas
Benny Moon, Shingle Springs, California
Tim O'Brien, Lebanon, Ohio
Adam Pecorari, Aston, Pennsylvania
Preston Peebles, Lubbock, Texas
James Willis, Middletown, Ohio