In the wake of Patrick Long's decision to pursue his racing career dream in Europe the Barber Dodge Pro Series "Big Scholarship", the $185,000 scholarship will be split between American Jon Morley and Brazilian Rafael Sperafico. The pair exhibited speed and flair throughout the three-day Big Scholarship Run Off, pushing Long throughout at every opportunity. Both drivers joined Long in the final cut making a very favorable impression on the entire panel of judges.
"We knew that we had an exceptionally talented field for this year's Big Scholarship, and when Patrick Long chose a different route we were fortunate enough to have two outstanding drivers in Jon Morley and Rafael Sperafico to award the scholarship to," said Barber Dodge Pro Series Managing Director Jeremy Dale. "Barber Dodge and Skip Barber are all about promoting young drivers. In this case we helped Patrick achieve his, and now get the added opportunity of helping Jon and Rafael."
Morley, 20, who hails from Lewis Center, Ohio, finished fifth overall in the in the 2000 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented By RACER, scoring one win in the process. He has made one Barber Dodge Pro Series start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, finishing 15th. During the run off, he impressed not only with his speed, but with his passion for the sport and his easy manner. Panelist Gordon Kirby was left to remark that Morley displayed a beautifully fluid driving style that was a sheer joy to behold.
Sperafico, 19, from Toledo Parana, Brazil finished second overall in the 2000 Formula Dodge Southern Regional Championship scoring two wins and 13 podium finishes. Like Morley the young Brazilian has one Pro Series start to his credit at the Homestead-Miami Speedway where he started an impressive sixth before slipping through the order to finish just out of the Top-10 in 11th place. Fast throughout the Big Scholarship Run Off, he too impressed the judges his natural ability in the car as well as with the pure racer attitude he showed outside of the car.
The two drivers will evenly split the award over the course of the 2001 season and should begin testing imminently.
- George Tamayo