Cleveland: Event preview

Round 6 of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series season will take place this weekend at Cleveland Burke-Lakefront Airport as part of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by U.S.Bank and will once again race in support of the CART FedEx ...

Round 6 of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series season will take place this weekend at Cleveland Burke-Lakefront Airport as part of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by U.S.Bank and will once again race in support of the CART FedEx Championship. A field of 24 racers will see the green flag drop on Saturday, July 13 at 3:40 p.m.in pursuit of the season championship and the $100,000 Barber-CART Career Enhancement award. The drivers will also all be in pursuit of A.J. Allmendinger, who has set the series on its ear by storming off to a tremendous points lead at the midway point of the season.

Allmendinger continued his winning ways last weekend at the Molson Indy Toronto event, coming out on top of a fraught race-long battle with Rafael Sperafico to take the win. The effort netted him 22-points for the weekend, as he took 20 points for the win, one point for securing the provisional pole on Friday and one point for setting the fastest race lap, which stretched his lead from 33 points over Sperafico to 45 points over Marc Breuers.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series field, one of the most competitive development series in the world, is scratching their heads to try and come up with a way to beat, or even faze, the young phenom from Hollister, California. The Toronto victory brought his season win total to four, matching the Barber Dodge career win totals of former Champcar winner Bryan Herta and current Atlantics drivers Sepp Koster, who won the Cleveland event in 2001, and Jon Fogarty, with five races yet remaining in the season.

Marc Breuers moved to second in the points with his runner-up finish in Toronto, and is looking forward to the Cleveland event to work the gap down to Allmendinger. Breuers made his first-ever Barber Dodge front row start last year in Cleveland, and is hoping to get his first Barber Dodge Pro Series victory this weekend.

"The track is completely different from what we were racing on just last weekend. It's wide open, fairly bumpy, and has very little in the way of reference points like trees or walls,"says Breuers"I think that having run well here last year should be an advantage early in the weekend, but I would expect that the fast guys will find the quick way around by the time it counts. Cleveland is a cool town, so it's a great event, and there is a lot of support from the local crowd. It's a good track for the drivers since there are so many different ways around this track, and its good for the fans, since it's the only road course where you can see the whole track."

Breuers and the rest of the Barber Dodge Pro Series field will take their shot at Allmendinger at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday. Full results and race report to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

NOTES: The Barber Dodge Pro Series will again be participating in activities to support of Racing For Kids, as drivers Marc Breuers, Josh Beaulieu, and Leo Maia will join former Barber Dodge Pro Series winner and current Skip Barber driving coach Barry Waddell in a visit to the Cleveland Clinic.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series Cleveland event has 24 entries for the weekend, although Tom Fogarty is questionable to participate after suffering an injury to his hand in late-race contact with Rhonda Trammel in Toronto.

Team Rahal-supported racer Danica Patrick will be racing in the Cleveland event after posting a strong seventh place finish in her first Barber Dodge Pro Series race last weekend at Toronto. Atticus Misner, Morgan Davies, Parthiva Sureshwaren will be returning for the Cleveland event, with Pierre Schreoder making his first start in Barber Dodge competition. Josh Rehm, who missed the first round race in Sebring, will be trying to get into the Top-10 in championship points after a run of four consecutive Top-10 finishes has moved him up to 11th in the season points standings.

-cart/irl-

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Bryan Herta , Jon Fogarty , Parthiva Sureshwaren , Tom Fogarty , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Rafael Sperafico , Morgan Davies , Sepp Koster , Skip Barber , Barry Waddell , Danica Patrick