Winners of Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Announced; Two WKA, Two IKF Stars Each Earn Scholarships To Race In Formula Dodge

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Mar. 12) - Karting standouts Phil Giebler, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Eric Jones and Michael Valiante will each receive a season of competition (value: $25,000/ea.) in the Skip Barber 2.0L Formula Dodge Race Series after being chosen from a field of 16 nominees in the inaugural Skip Barber Racing Karting Scholarship, a part of the newly announced "Barber Dodge Scholarship Ladder," the near $1,000,000 annual program that aids up-and-coming racing talent.

The awards followed a five-day evaluation (a three-day racing school and two lapping days) of the 16 stars, who were nominated by karting's leading sanctioning bodies, the World Karting Association (WKA) and the International Kart Federation (IKF). Each driver will choose to compete in any one of the four regional Formula Dodge 2.0L championships (East, West, Midwest, South), and thus becomes eligible to be nominated to win the "Big Scholarship," the annual run-off between the best of the Formula Dodge drivers, the prize for which is a fully paid season in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

This past October Skip Barber Racing and the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship co-announced the creation of the most comprehensive motorsports scholarship program in the industry, the annual Barber Dodge Scholarship Ladder. Funded initially by Skip Barber Racing, with assistance from Indy Lights and Michelin North America, the Barber Dodge Scholarship Ladder intends to find, develop and financially assist young, up-and-coming racing talent. The series of scholarships starts at the grassroots level, karting.

The financial assistance will allow highly talented but under-funded drivers to climb the ladder from karting competition right on up to an Indy car test day. The designated Ladder-Skip Barber Racing School to the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series to the Barber Dodge Pro Series to PPG-Dayton Indy Lights to a FedEx Champ Car Series test day-is seen by Skip Barber and Indy Lights President Roger Bailey as a much-needed, clearly defined North American open-wheel ladder.

Philip Giebler, 18, Oxnard, Calif. (3-time IKF Nat'l and 5-time California State champion)

Ryan Hunter-Reay, 17, Boca Raton, Fla. (5-time WKA Nat'l and 3-time Grand Nat'l champion)

Eric Jones, 20, Granger, Iowa (IKF Grand Nat'l champion, and 10-time KART Nat'l champion)

Michael Valiante, 18, Vancouver, B.C., Canada (numerous N. Amer. titles and IKF Reg. 6 Gold Cup)