NA-F2000: Hall of Fame 2001 nominees announced

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (February 16, 2000) -- The U.S. F2000 National Championship presented by Speedvision has announced the nominees for the U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame Class of 2001. Established in 1999, the Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments...

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (February 16, 2000) -- The U.S. F2000 National Championship presented by Speedvision has announced the nominees for the U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame Class of 2001.

Established in 1999, the Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of F2000 graduates in the motorsports industry. Hall of Fame nominees are selected by series organizers, and can include drivers, team or staff members. The list of nominees is voted on by a panel including, staff, competitors, sanctioning body presidents, media representatives and previous inductees. Nominees receiving more than 50 percent of the votes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. With the continued success of U.S. F2000 graduates, a record 11 drivers are nominated for the 2001 Hall of Fame class. The 2001 nominees are Alex EBarron, Andrew Bordin, Jason Bright, Steve Challis, Ryan Hampton, Sam Hornish Jr. , Robby McGehee, Larry Oberto, Buddy Rice, Jeret Schroeder and Dan Wheldon. Barron is nominated for the second consecutive year. Following his seventh place finish in the 1996 U.S. F2000 National Championship, Barron graduated to the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. In his rookie year, he scored an impressive five wins, winning both the Rookie of the Year award and the Championship. In 1998, Barron made his CART FedEx Championship debut with All American Racing team, finishing 27th. The past two years, Barron has run a limited CART schedule with AAR, Penske Racing and Dale Coyne Racing. This upcoming year, Barron will return to CART with Dale Coyne. After finishing third in the 1996 U.S. F2000 National Championship Bordin graduated to the Dayton Indy Lights Championship as both a team owner and driver. The following year, he switched his efforts to just driving, competing in Toyota Atlantic, capturing one win and the Rookie of The Year award. In both 1999 and 2000, Bordin won two races and finished third in the championship. Following an off-season accident, in which he was injured, Bordin will take 2001 off from driving and concentrate on his newly formed F2000 team. Prior to 2000, few North Americans knew of Bright. Having finished second in U.S. F2000 in 1996, Bright returned to his native Australia to race. He immediately excelled, winning the 1997 Formula Holden Championship. He followed the championship up with a win in the 1998 Bathurst 1000, Australia 's premier touring car race. Bright continued his success in touring cars winning one race in the 1999 Australia Super V8 Series. In 2000, he returned to North America to compete in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, winning one race. Bright returns to his native land in 2001 to contest an entire Super V8 Series campaign. For a second year running, Challis, a race engineer, has been nominated for the Hall of Fame. Challis made his mark as Greg Moore's chief engineer from 1992 to 1999. Over that period the duo captured the USAC FF2000 West Championship and Indy Lights championship, set the all-time mark for Indy Lights wins, became the youngest driver ever to win a CART race and won five CART races. Last year, after recovering from a heart condition, Challis worked with Team Kool Green and Dario Franchitti. In 2000, he returns to Team Kool Green as Paul Tracy's race engineer. A runner-up in the 1998 U.S. F2000 National Championship, Hampton has made his mark in sports car racing. In 1999, he finished sixth in the GT2 class at the Daytona 24 hour race. Last year, Hampton dominated the newly formed Sports Racer II class in Grand American Road Racing. He won six races and captured the championship. After finishing seventh in U.S. F2000 in 1998, Hornish Jr., has been working his way up the racing ladder. In 1999, Hornish Jr. competed in Toyota Atlantic, winning one race and earning Rookie of the Year honors. Last year he made his Indy Racing Northern Light Series debut finishing 21st. This coming year Hornish Jr. will return to the IRNLS with Panther Racing. A two-time winner in the 1998 U.S. F2000 National Championship, McGehee made the jump from F2000 to the IRNLS look easy. In his first year after competing in F2000, McGehee made his IRNLS debut at the 1999 Indy 500. Starting 27th, McGehee finished fifth and won the Bank One Rookie of the Year honors, en route to finishing second in the series Rookie of the Year standings. Last year, he returned to the IRNLS finishing 12th in the championship. Oberto has used his 1999 American Continental Championship title to propel his racing career. Rather then return to U.S. F2000 and contest the National Championship, Oberto competed in the newly formed SRP II class in Grand-Am. Driving with fellow F2000 graduate, Hampton, Oberto won six races and the championship. Rice is a driver who has improved with every year of competition. After finishing fourth in the 1997 U.S. F2000 championship, Rice entered Toyota Atlantic. In his rookie year, he won one race and finished seventh in the championship. The following year, Rice improved to fifth in the championship. Last year racing with DSTP in Toyota Atlantic, who had run him in F2000, he excelled. Rice won five races and captured the championship. Since winning the 1995 U.S. F2000 National Championship, Schroeder has raced various types of cars with success. In 1996, Schroeder competed in Toyota Atlantic, winning the Rising Star and Gilles Villeneuve awards. The following year, he made his IRNLS debut, competing in two races. In 1998, Schroeder began racing in various sports car races, including the prestigious Daytona 24 hours, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. The past two years, Schroeder has returned to open-wheel cars, competing in the IRNLS, while continuing to run selected sports car races. In 2000, he finished 17th in IRNLS. Wheldon has been a winner wherever he races. After winning the U.S. F2000 National Championship, Road To Indy Oval Crown Championship and Rookie of Year award in 1999, he entered Toyota Atlantic. Wheldon immediately showed his skill, winning the season-opener and finishing second in the championship, earning the Rookie of the Year award. In 2001, Wheldon will race in Indy Lights with defending champion PacWest. Inductees into the U.S. F2000 Hall of Fame Class of 2001 will be announced in early March. The new class will join current Hall of Fame members Memo Gidley, Steve Knapp, Sam Schmidt, Greg Ray and the late Greg Moore.

-Allan Craighead

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