SBRS: Skip Barber lauches stock experience

After 25 years spent building a reputation as the World's largest and best racing and driving school, Skip Barber is entering the Stock Car experience business. Skip Barber Racing School, Inc. has reached an agreement on the acquisition of one of...

After 25 years spent building a reputation as the World's largest and best racing and driving school, Skip Barber is entering the Stock Car experience business. Skip Barber Racing School, Inc. has reached an agreement on the acquisition of one of America's leading stock car experiences, the California Racing Experience. Based since 1998 at the California Motor Speedway one hour east of Los Angeles, the company will be renamed The Racing Experience.

"We thought The California Racing Experience was a unique opportunity because they give people the chance to drive cars which have actually raced in NASCAR competition at up to 165 mph without the limitations of the traditional lead-follow format," said Skip Barber. "Over the next two years, we'll be using our resources and experience to take this business nationwide to more than a dozen tracks and give NASCAR fans across America the chance to see what it's really like to drive a Cup car on Cup tracks."

Skip Barber Racing School is no stranger to the NASCAR world. Currently one- fourth of the Winston Cup field is Skip Barber trained including Winston Cup Champions Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliot, current Cup points leader Bobby Labonte, as well as Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Jeremy Mayfield, John Andretti, Kyle Petty, Stacey Compton, Steve Park, Ken Schrader, Jimmy Spencer and the Burton brothers. Skip Barber graduates can also be found in the Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck Series.

The Racing Experience will be managed by two of the founders of the California Racing Experience, sports marketing executive Kelly Bussey and long-time General Motors executive Bill Carlson. They will be supported by the sales, marketing and logistical resources of Skip Barber Racing School, Inc.

"In the racing school business, there is no better name than Skip Barber. He's the gold-standard for quality and the best place for us to be by far," said Bussey.

The Racing Experience will become the first genuinely national competitor to the market leader -- The Richard Petty Driving Experience.

"Obviously they're the NFL," added Carlson, "but we see ourselves as more like the XFL -- same core product but with a little more edge since we use real Cup cars, don't have lead-follow, and allow passing and drafting in some programs."

The Racing Experience 2000 tour kicks off next week at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, and will continue at speedways in Nazareth, Pa.; Homestead, Fla., Richmond, Va., Talladega, Ala., and Phoenix, Az., adding approximately 100 more track days on top of the already scheduled dates at the California Motor Speedway. The Racing Experience, will be advertised locally as the, "The Racing Experience at Nazareth," etc. when it goes on tour. The Racing Experience plans to add bases in the Mid-West and South in 2001 while retaining the "Tour" and will increasingly run in conjunction with Skip Barber's open-wheel racing and driving school programs. Customers will have the unique opportunity to jump from Cup cars to single seat cars to 400 horsepower Dodge Vipers in the same day. Nazareth Speedway will host the first such opportunity when Skip Barber Racing School introduces its newest program, an Introduction to Oval Racing in an open-wheel Formula Dodge racecar during the morning, followed by The Racing Experience in the afternoon.

"In a way, that's the most exciting part of this for our customers," continued Barber. "We'll be the only company able to offer people the complete racing experience --stock cars, formula cars and high-performance road cars at the same venue."

Founded in 1975, Skip Barber Racing School, Inc. is the world's largest organization of its kind. Comprised of the Skip Barber Racing School, the Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School, the Skip Barber Race Series and the Barber Dodge Pro Series, the company trains over 15,000 people annually at schools and race weekends across the United States. Fully one-third of the drivers participating in the Indianapolis 500 since 1983 have been Skip Barber trained, including winners Kenny Brack and Juan Montoya. Skip Barber graduates have victories in every major North American road racing championship. Among the long list of graduates are Michael Andretti, Robbie Buhl, Butch Leitzinger, Memo Gidley, as well as celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Al Pacino to name but a few.

-George Tamayo

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About this article
Series Automotive , Other open wheel
Drivers John Andretti , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Steve Park , Kyle Petty , Butch Leitzinger , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Jerry Nadeau , Robbie Buhl , Michael Andretti , Memo Gidley , Kenny Brack , Richard Petty , Skip Barber