CHAMPCAR/CART: Barber graduates win again

Winning is surely contagious. Skip Barber trained racers Helio Castroneves, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Daniel Wheldon won their respective races this weekend, calling attention to the quality racers that emerge from the Barber program and go on...

Winning is surely contagious. Skip Barber trained racers Helio Castroneves, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Daniel Wheldon won their respective races this weekend, calling attention to the quality racers that emerge from the Barber program and go on to success at all levels of racing in North America.

Castroneves was dominant in his third Champ Car win of the season, leading 81 of 83 laps in the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, held at Laguna Seca Raceway. The Brazilian's victory ties him for most race wins this season. Joining him among the Skip Barber trained who finished in the Top-10 were Bryan Herta (4th), 1993 Pro Series Champion Kenny Brack (5th) and 1994 Pro Series veteran Juan Montoya (6th).

Also on the 2.238-mile circuit, 1998 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion and Rookie of the Year Jeff Simmons earned a third place result in the Yahoo! Sports Monterey Challenge in Indy Lights competition. Tony Renna (4th) and Andy Boss (9th) made up the balance of Skip Barber graduates in the Top-10.

In the Toyota Atlantic Series, Rookie Daniel Wheldon made the most of his newly-acquired Skip Barber Racing skills, winning the Grand Prix of Monterey. Wheldon now sits comfortably in second place in points standings. Only weeks earlier, with the Laguna race on the horizon, the young Briton decided to improve his knowledge of the track and hone his skills by participating in lapping sessions run by the Skip Barber Racing School [see related story; Skip Barber News 09/03/00]. The move appears to have paid off and the resultant points may be a factor in determining the Championship. Fellow Barberites Rocky Moran Jr. (5th), Alex Gurney (6th), Mike Conte (8th) and William Langhorne (10th) also registered Top-10 positions.

In NASCAR Craftsman Truck action, Jack Sprague, Dennis Setzer and Steve Grissom were best among the Skip Barber bunch at the Kroger 200, held at Richmond International Raceway. Sprague, Setzer and Grissom finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Their efforts set the table for a weekend in which Skip Barber grads would dominate top-10 results and go two-for-three in the marquee match-ups on the .75-mile oval.

In Busch Series Racing, Skip Barber grad Jeff Burton won Friday night's AutoLite/FRAM 250. Burton, racing in his home state of Virginia, started from the second spot and went on to take victory ahead of Todd Bodine (4th) and Jimmy Spencer (9th). Burton would also race in Saturday's Winston Cup contest and finish in the Top-5.

Lastly, Skip Barber trained Jeff Gordon was quickest when it counted. Gordon took the lead late, leading only the last 15 of 400 laps to win the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 in Winston Cup competition. Steve Park (4th), Jeff Burton (5th), Ward Burton (8th) and Jerry Nadeau (10th), also Skip Barber trained, finished in the Top-10. Barber grad Bobby Labonte was plagued with mechanical problems most of the day and finished with a sub-par result. He still, however, maintains the overall points lead for the Winston Cup Championship.

- Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Alex Gurney , Jimmy Spencer , Jerry Nadeau , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Rocky Moran Jr. , Skip Barber , Tony Renna , Jeff Simmons