Barber clinches Fran-Am 1600 Championship at Phoenix.
Phoenix, Arizona -- The Fran-Am 1600 West Coast Championship series crowned their series champion this weekend, but it wasn't without a little controversy. New champion Tim Barber of San Francisco, California, was sent to the back of the starting grid after a rule violation but that couldn't stop him from making his way through the field to take the victory and the title.
"The penalty was a tough way to start the weekend," said Barber. "But you have to deal with the card you're dealt and I was happy I could make my way through the field for the victory. This one feels especially good because I was able to the clinch the championship title. Hopefully we can get a lot of testing time completed in my new 2-liter car before next season and have a great year in the Fran-Am 2000 series."
After qualifying on the pole, Phoenix resident Michael McDowell was hoping for a strong showing in front of his hometown crowd. From the drop of the green flag however, he experienced mechanical problems with his World Speed Motorsports entry, and finished five laps behind the leader in a disappointing sixth place.
In a very close finish, John Knudsen of Ontario, California finished just 0.745 seconds behind Barber to take second place. Barber's Conversion Techniques Motorsports teammate, Darryl O'Young of Vancouver, British Columbia had his second third-place finish of the season
The Fran-Am 1600 series wraps up its inaugural season with a race tomorrow at Phoenix Firebird Raceway followed by the End-of-Season banquet. At the banquet Barber will be awarded the championship trophy as well as the "keys" to his brand-new Fran-Am 2000 car.
The Fran-Am 1600 Regional Championship series is the first step on Fran-Am Sport's Driver Development Ladder, with drivers eventually making the jump to race in the Fran-Am 2000 Series. Each Fran-Am 1600 event features a $7000US prize fund with the overall series champion winning a brand-new Fran-Am 2000 car ready to race the next season
The Fran-Am 1600 race car features a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 1.6-liter/123-horsepower motor (capable of running an entire season without a rebuild), 5-speed sequential gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires.