Championship Showdown Set for Laguna Seca (LAKEVILLE, Conn.) Oct. 8, 2001-Continuing a Barber Dodge Pro Series tradition, the battle for the $255,000 Career Enhancement Award bestowed on the series champion will again come down to the final...
Championship Showdown Set for Laguna Seca
(LAKEVILLE, Conn.) Oct. 8, 2001-Continuing a Barber Dodge Pro Series tradition, the battle for the $255,000 Career Enhancement Award bestowed on the series champion will again come down to the final race, the 2nd Annual Racing For Kids Grand Prix, at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. In fact, one would need to go back to 1993 when Kenny Brack clinched the title at the 10th of 12 rounds to find a year that the title didn't go down to the wire. In it's 16-year history, the average title-winning margin has been 17.4 points, which almost translates into a difference of one second place finish.
Entering the Laguna Seca finale, only current point's leader Nicolas Rondet and runner-up Sepp Koster have a chance at securing the title. Rondet, of Melle France, who has led the overall standings since round 5 at Detroit, is in the driver's seat both literally and figuratively to clinch the Barber Dodge crown. Conversely Koster has a tall order to fill.
With only the 10 best of a driver's 12 results counting toward the final tally, Rondet leads Koster 152-135.
To steal the title from Rondet's grasp, the 26-year old driver from the Netherlands must achieve one of the following scenarios:
* Win, scoring maximum bonus points with Rondet finishing third. That would leave them tied with Koster breaking the tie by virtue of 4 wins to 3.
* Win with 1 bonus point and Rondet finishing fourth. Even if Rondet gets the other bonus point, Koster still wins tiebreaker.
* Win with Rondet fourth or lower and neither scoring bonus points, winning tiebreaker again.
* Finish second with 2 bonus points and Rondet finishing sixth or lower. Koster again breaks tie by virtue of 4 second-place finishes to 1.
* Finish in second with 1 bonus point and Rondet finishing eighth or lower with no bonus points. Again Koster wins tiebreaker.
One bonus point is awarded to the winner of the pole position and another awarded to the holder of the fastest race lap.
Rondet need only to finish second or higher, or finish in third with 1 bonus point regardless of Koster's finishing position to clinch.
The battle for third overall is also heated with Matt Plumb looking to defend that position from Roger Yasukawa in fourth and Ryan Hunter-Reay in fifth. Only 15 points separate the three drivers.
With a meager nine points separating the top-4 contenders for the Barber-CART Rookie of the Year Scholarship, expect another all-out fight for the prestigious award. Leading the charge currently is American Jon Morley of Columbus, Ohio. He currently leads Brazilian Rafael Sperafico by three points. Both are gunning for a second consecutive Barber-CART Scholarship as each is currently a Barber-CART Big Scholarship recipient. Joining the fray two-points in arrears of Sperafico is Floridian Davy Cook while Japanese driver Akihira Okamoto sits a further four points back.
The Barber-CART Rookie of the Year earns a $185,000 scholarship to compete in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series.
Past Barber Dodge Pro Series Champions include Robbie Buhl (1989), Bryan Herta (1991) Kenny Brack (1993) Derek Hill (1997) Jeff Simmons (1998-99) and Nilton Rossoni (2000).