NA-F2000: Pacific: Champion earns Atlantic test

Pacific F2000 Champion Podlesni Earns Atlantic Test With PR1 Motorsports Buttonwillow, Calif. (October 20, 2006) -- Robert Podlesni scooped the top honors during Sunday evening's post-season banquet in Las Vegas, capping his remarkable...

Pacific F2000 Champion Podlesni Earns Atlantic Test With PR1 Motorsports

Buttonwillow, Calif. (October 20, 2006) -- Robert Podlesni scooped the top honors during Sunday evening's post-season banquet in Las Vegas, capping his remarkable sophomore campaign in the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires.

The 18-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif., already had made clear his intention to graduate into next year's Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda, and his aspirations moved one step closer to reality midway through the evening when he was offered an all-expenses-paid test in a Champ Car Atlantic Series Swift, courtesy of PR1 Motorsports and Buttonwillow Raceway.

"The Atlantic announcement was a surprise to me," said Podlesni, who won six of the season's 12 races in his Alpinestars/Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen. "I had been talking to PR1 Motorsports about doing some testing with them, but getting a free one-day test is just great. It is a wonderful reward for Pacific F2000, and one that I think will attract a lot of attention to the series.

"I can't wait for the test and would like to thank Bobby Oergel and Les Phillips for taking the time and resources to work this out. It's a fantastic opportunity and one I very much look forward to taking part in."

"I've been keeping an eye on Robert and have been impressed," explained Bobby Oergel, whose PR1 Motorsports team guided Canadian Mike Forest to the 2005 Pacific F2000 Championship before graduating into the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

PR1 took a deserved first Atlantic win recently when former F2000 champion Jonathan Bomarito took the checkered flag in the season finale at Road America.

"Our team has a good history in the Pacific F2000 series and there's a bunch of talented youngsters taking part," continued Oergel. "It's nice to be able to give one of them an opportunity like this."

For Pacific F2000 Championship founder Les Phillips, the Atlantic test provides a further validation of the series' worth.

"With the help of our generous sponsors we are so happy to offer this opportunity to a more than deserving winner," said Phillips. "We've just finished our third season and it's good to know that our influence in the driver ladder system continues to grow. Our successful drivers from past years continue to move up, and the chassis-engine-tire package has proven to be by far the best value-for-money platform out there.

"The combination of fast tracks like California Speedway and more technical challenges like Infineon and Buttonwillow Raceway have provided great variety and tuning challenges for our young drivers in 2006.

"The 2007 season is already taking shape and the entry count will be even higher than the 20-plus cars per event over the past two years," added Phillips. "Drivers from karting and the SCCA are all recognizing the benefits that the Pacific F2000 Championship provides toward career advancement."

-credit: js

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