Ryan Hunter-Reay 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series "Big Scholarship" Winner
SEBRING, Fla. (Nov 10) -After two days of competition, Ryan Hunter-Reay, 19, of Boca Raton, Fla. was announced as the winner of the 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series "Big Scholarship" Shoot-Out. Hunter-Reay will receive a full season in the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series valued at $175,000. The "Big Scholarship" is part of the $1 million Skip Barber Racing School scholarship ladder.
"This was the best group across the board that we've ever had in a Shoot-Out," Skip Barber said in presenting the award.
In the end, all eight drivers were within seven-tenths of second, making the decision of the panelists all the more difficult. After three hours of deliberation, Hunter-Reay emerged the favorite having been consistently the fastest driver over the two days of competition.
As usual he was gracious in victory.
"I learned a lot as did the other drivers this weekend. Everybody was right there the whole time. It was a great experience," Hunter-Reay said.
Barry Waddell summed up the sentiments of all the panelists, "Obviously you guys were all awesome. The fact that you made it this far means that we are all very big fans of yours. We want to see everyone of you continue on with us, and continue racing."
Over the course of the two days of competition, the drivers competed in several on and off track exercises which formed the basis for the decision of the panelists who included Peter Argetsinger, Kelly Collins, Jeremy Dale, David Loring, Jim Pace, Dorsey Schroeder, Barry Waddell and journalist Jeremy Shaw. CART star Roberto Moreno also sat in on the first day's sessions and offered his advice to the drivers at the conclusion of the day.
Hunter-Reay took his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School in December of 1996. He went on to win the 1998-99 Skip Barber Karting Scholarship, and 23 victories in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series where he was Southern Series Rookie of the Year, the 1999 Eastern Series Champion, and the first ever Formula Dodge National Champion.
Now that he has assured himself of a ride in the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series, Hunter-Reay has his sights firmly set on winning the Rookie of the Year title, with a Series Championship win in 2001.
Given his track record, he seems to be a good bet.