Marybeth Harrison - 1998 winner of the Canadian Formula Drivers Association Championship - will be competing for the Western Formula Racing Association Championship title in '99.
Formula 1600 (or Formula Ford) is considered an important step for drivers interested in progressing to the top of open-wheel racing … ChampCar (formerly IndyCar) and after winning the BC championship last year, Harrison was ready for a change.
"We wanted to challenge ourselves with different tracks and different competition this year," she explains. "And with our title sponsor, Fountain Tire, being based out of Edmonton, we felt that including an Alberta series in our race program would be win-win for everyone involved!"
The series features four main events held at Racecity Speedway in Calgary with a possible race weekend held on the temporary airport circuit in Edmonton. The first race is scheduled for May 27th at Racecity.
In addition to the Alberta program, Harrison will continue to compete at Mission Raceway Park in Vancouver Canada and is also exploring the possibilities of adding some ChampCar Lights and/or Formula 2000 races to the 1999 mix.
While the first race of the year may not be until May, Marybeth is busy with an unrelenting promotional schedule as well as preparations for the upcoming season. "The Fountain Tire race car is with my crew chief right now [Marty Knoll of MK Technologies]. Next week, we trailer it to Edmonton to have it on display at the Brier Festival March, 8th. Then I have Racing Against Drugs talks to do at a number of Edmonton schools before heading to Calgary until the end of March. In between that, I head off to Miami for the first CART race of the year as part of my PPG Pace Car Driving program. It's a busy time of year!" Harrison will then be on hand at Fountain Tire's annual convention in Banff before heading back to Vancouver for the April 2nd race in Mission.
Marybeth is also one of 14 PPG Pace Car Drivers for the CART Fedex Championship Series. Last year she traveled to Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Elkhart Lake, Long Beach, Detroit, Houston and Mid-Ohio as part of her on-track activities with ChampCar.
She delivers popular Racing Against Drugs talks to school children with the blessing of the RCMP, as Chuck Doucette, Provincial Co-ordinator RCMP Drug Awareness Program explains. “As the provincial coordinator for the RCMP Drug Awareness Program, I am always looking for people who can serve as positive healthy role models for our youth. Marybeth Harrison is a prime example of someone who knows how to set and achieve goals. She is willing to share her views about how making the right decisions about not using drugs and alcohol enabled her to achieve her goals as a race car driver."
From a racing standpoint, Marybeth has won races in every form of racing she has attempted: karts, sedans, Legends cars, and now open wheel Formula cars. She holds the track record for her class at Mission Raceway Park and has attended many prestigious racing schools such as Skip Barber, Jim Hall, Bob Bondurant and Richard Petty. She has been a racing instructor herself at the ProFormance Race Drivers School in Vancouver since 1994.
In addition to succeeding in a male-dominated sport, many are surprised to learn that Marybeth has a strong business and marketing background as well. She has been involved in the marketing, management and ownership of numerous businesses – everything from a publishing company to coffee bars to an English school.