Barber CART Scholarship drivers to be recognized at Long Beach; Toyota Atlantic drivers tour Cart Medical Unit; Yasukawa makes his move up to Toyota Atlantics. DETROIT (APRIL 5, 2002) - As part of the festivities surrounding the Toyota Grand...
Barber CART Scholarship drivers to be recognized at Long Beach; Toyota Atlantic drivers tour Cart Medical Unit; Yasukawa makes his move up to Toyota Atlantics.
DETROIT (APRIL 5, 2002) - As part of the festivities surrounding the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the 2002 Barber CART Scholarship drivers will ride in the pre-race parade during Champ Car driver introductions, just prior to the start of the FedEx Championship Series event.
The six Formula Dodge National Championship drivers - Colin Fleming, Charlie Kimball, Ward Imrie, Craig Baltzer and Scott Poirier, as well as 2001 Stars of Tomorrow champion Scott Speed - will ride around the famous 1.968-mile street circuit in the back of Toyota Tundra trucks and be introduced to the crowd.
The drivers will already be in Southern California for Rounds 3 and 4 of the National Championship, taking place at California Speedway in Fontana. With their race weekend from Thursday through Saturday, all FDNC drivers have been invited to attend Sunday's race activities, benefiting from a special discount program offered to National Championship drivers and their families by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook will also meet with the aspiring drivers in a Sunday morning session before he begins his duties as the race Grand Marshal.
Fleming, Kimball, Imrie and Baltzer earned their Scholarships by winning the Barber CART Karting Scholarship Runoff in early January, while Poirier won the FDNC Barber CART Scholarship Shootout after finishing 2nd in the Skip Barber Southern Regional Championship. Speed earned his ride by winning the 2001 Stars of Tomorrow ICC 125 class karting championship. Each Scholarship is worth $45,000.
CART MEDICAL TEAM OPENS DOORS TO TOYOTA ATLANTIC DRIVERS
If victory lane is the place that every driver wants to visit, then easily the bottom of that list is the CART Mobile Medical Unit. While recognized as the best and most sophisticated medical response unit in all of motorsports, a visit by drivers to this facility most likely means they have had an incident on the race track. Often times, it is a driver's first foray into the Medical Unit, and like any emergency trauma room, the environment can be intimidating and confusing despite all the momentous efforts of Dr. Steve Olvey, Dr. Terry Trammell and their professional medical staff.
With this in mind, the CART Driver Development Ladder System has arranged for the entire Toyota Atlantic field - drivers, team owners and support personnel - to tour the million dollar facility and familiarize themselves with the state of the art unit and full-time medical staff. This way, a driver who has been involved in an incident will see friendly and familiar surroundings when he/she is taken to the CART Medical Unit. In addition, Olvey and Trammell will explain all of the benefits and services that CART Medical Unit can provide to them outside of just emergency care.
"As a former driver, I know how confusing things can be after an accident from the driver's perspective," commented CART Development Steward Chris Kneifel. "For many of these drivers, the first time they normally see the inside of the Medical Unit is after something has happened. By taking a few minutes to meet the doctors and support personnel on staff here before an incident, we can help alleviate some of the tension that naturally occurs during a trauma situation."
This tour is a follow up to a briefing given by the Simple Green CART Safety Team during the Monterrey, Mexico race weekend. Similar meetings will be held for the drivers of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, beginning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MOVIN' ON UP
After honing his skills for the last four seasons in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, California native Roger Yasukawa, 24, is making his CART Toyota Atlantic debut in next week's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with Hylton Motorsports. Yasukawa will contest the final 11 events of the season.
"I am delighted to join Hylton Motorsports," said Yasukawa, who earned an emotional maiden Pro Series victory on the streets of Vancouver last fall. "It really gives me a lot of confidence to know I have such a fantastic team behind me. We will be ready for Long Beach and beyond."
Yasukawa's teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, a former Barber Dodge Pro Series and Barber CART Scholarship standout himself, was the quickest last week during a seven car testing session at Firebird International Raceway.
"This was an excellent test for us," commented Hunter-Reay, a 21-year old from Boca Raton, Florida. "I learned a lot about the car at Firebird. I am becoming more and more sensitive to the changes, which really helps me work on developing the setup with my engineer."
Yasukawa and Hunter-Reay, both rookies, are two of eleven drivers in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship who have honed their skills in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. An announcement regarding the future Toyota Atlantic endeavor of 2001 Pro Series Champion Nicolas Rondet is expected within the week, with the plan being for him to join the Toyota Atlantic circuit full time at Long Beach.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will race next as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 12-14. Hylton Motorsports tries to regain its winning ways of one year ago with its one-two combination of rookies Ryan Hunter-Reay and Roger Yasukawa.
The Barber Dodge Pro Series will return to action in the traditional Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut. Round 2 will commence on Monday, May 27 as part of the Trans-Am Championship weekend. Pro Series Barber CART Scholarship drivers Julio Campos, Leo Maia and Rafael Sperafico will all be looking to secure their first BDPS career victory.
Rounds 3 and 4 of the Formula Dodge National Championship will be at California Speedway, April 11-13, in conjunction with the Champ Car weekend at Long Beach. Burt Frisselle and Grant Maiman will be looking to build on their race wins last month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.