Skip Barber Racing School Announces Formula Dodge National Championship Race Will Be Held at Lime Rock Park on Oct. 16
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - Drivers in each of the four Skip Barber Formula Dodge Championships, the largest open-wheel amateur racing series in North America, have long claimed racing superiority in their particular region. Now, for the first time in the 24-year history of the series, there will be an opportunity to settle the quest for bragging rights on the track.
The top amateur open-wheel drivers in the country will gather at Lime Rock Park on Oct. 15-16 to compete for the first annual Formula Dodge National Championship.
The weekend will serve as the culmination of the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Championships. Drivers from all four Formula Dodge regional series (Eastern, Southern, Midwestern and Western) will participate in a one-race shootout to determine the first Formula Dodge National Champion.
"The Formula Dodge National Championship will bring the best of the best together from the most competitive amateur series in the United States," Rick Ratajczak, series director for the Skip Barber Racing organization, said. "This race is something we've been pointing toward for a long time. It's a great opportunity for our drivers to showcase their talent, and we're really looking forward to seeing them race against each other head-to-head. It should be an outstanding weekend."
The list of past Skip Barber regional frontrunners reads like a who's who of professional racing. The roster includes CART FedEx Champ Car standout Bryan Herta, PPG-Dayton Indy Lights stars Tony Renna, Geoff Boss and Andy Boss as well as current Toyota Atlantic drivers Will Langhorne, Nick Rondet and Elton Julian, along with NASCAR Winston Cup rising star Jerry Nadeau, Busch Series rookie Eric Jones and Winston West championship contender Austin Cameron.
Each of the 1998 regional champions have moved into professional careers, with Michael Valiante (Midwestern), Matt Plumb (Southern) and Roger Yasukawa (Western) all racing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, and two-time Eastern series champion Josh Rehm in the United States Road Racing Championship GT 3 class.
The invitation-only field for the Formula Dodge National Championship will consist of 24 drivers. The top five competitors and the Masters champion (drivers 40 and older) from each of the four regional series will receive automatic berths in the championship. The remainder of the grid will be comprised of the regional Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Driver award winners. The weekend schedule includes one practice, two qualifying sessions and a 30-minute race on the historic 1.53-mile road course.
Already, seven drivers from the Western region have earned invitations, headed by champion Robert McMillan of Texas. The remaining six from the west include Levi Simoes of Brazil, James Eaton of Canada, Ron Burger, Jeff Searock and Ted Ballou of California, and Masters champion Michael Morris of Texas. The Southern Series invitees included co-champions Peter Boss of Rhode Island and Brian Rivera of Florida, Masters co-champions Dan Daniel of Virginia and Bud Risser of Florida, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Craig Duerson (also of Florida), Paul Dana of Indiana and Andre D'Cruz of the United Kingdom.
The remainder of the field will be named from the current Eastern and Midwestern championships which conclude in early October.
The Formula Dodge National Championship adds another component to the Skip Barber Scholarship Ladder.
Skip Barber annually awards approximately $1 million in scholarships to help young drivers progress from Karting to the CART FedEx Championship Series.The winner of the Formula Dodge National Championship will receive a $15,000 Career Enhancement Award.
The Formula Dodge National Championship will take place at the Dodge Dealers NASCAR 200 Presented by Burnham Boilers, the season finale and one of the biggest events of the year for the NASCAR Busch North Series. Last year, over 30,000 spectators attended the race, which received strong coverage from national and local racing media.