(Lakeville, CT) - The Barber-CART Karting Runoff will take place on Monday and Tuesday January 6-7 at Sebring International Raceway with sixteen invitees, each the cream of the karting crop, competing for a slot in the Formula Dodge National Championship Series presented by RACER magazine. The two-day event will focus on the speed, potential, and attitude of the racers as the young guns will be under the watchful and experienced eyes of a select judging panel, who will select four winners from the sixteen invitees. Each winner will receive a sponsored 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 $45,000 to the winners of the run-off.
This year's 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 pack of competitors arrive in Sebring from all regions of North America, highlighting the prominence of the CART Ladder System:
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
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 Champ Car World Series. Each of the karters have participated in a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School, the established foundation for any racer, before taking part in the Run Off.
"Those of us at Sebring 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, " said Series Director of the Barber Dodge Pro Series and Director of the Barber-CART Scholarship Program Rick Ratajczak.
The panel of judges will include Bryan Sellers, Rick Ratajczak, 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, racing legend Terry Earwood, and Skip Barber Racing School Instructors Jason Holehouse, and R.B. Stiewing.