The Barber Dodge Pro Series returns to Lime Rock Park for round 2 of the 2002 season as part of the traditional Memorial Day race weekend on May 24-27. Twenty-two drivers hope to mark their names in the Lime Rock history books. The Barber Dodge...
The Barber Dodge Pro Series returns to Lime Rock Park for round 2 of the 2002 season as part of the traditional Memorial Day race weekend on May 24-27. Twenty-two drivers hope to mark their names in the Lime Rock history books. The Barber Dodge Pro Series has been a fixture at the track during Memorial Day weekend since 1986, and has seen the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya, Kenny Brack, Jerry Nadeau, and Bryan Herta tasting success on their way up to the big leagues of professional racing. This weekend should prove no different, with a wide-open field full of up and coming racers challenging for the win.
The May 27th event is the second of 12 rounds for the 2002 season and will be the first time many of the competitors will be strapping themselves into the Dodge-powered Reynard 98E since the season opener at Sebring International Raceway in March, which saw A.J. Allmendinger take the pole and the win on his way to the top of the season points standings with 22 points.
This weekend's race will place heavy emphasis on qualifying due to the difficult nature of passing on the tight 1.53 mile Lime Rock track. Drivers will have to get themselves up to speed right away, as the drivers have only one practice session to get the set ups right before they have to put it all together in the first qualifying session on Friday.
As the Official Entry Level Professional Race Series of CART, Barber Dodge has adapted the same new qualifying procedures as the Champ cars and will offer the potential for earning two championship points in this weekend's two qualifying sessions. The fastest driver in the Friday qualifying session will win a championship point and will be guaranteed a front-row starting spot. The fastest driver in the Saturday qualifying session will also get a front row starting spot, and take the pole if the time bests the Friday pole time, and will also get a championship point
Points leader A.J. Allmindinger believes a strong qualifying effort will be the key to winning the race.
" I think you really will need to be in the first two rows to have a chance at the win here, so qualifying is going to be really important. We only get one practice on Friday morning, and the next session after that is the first qualifying session, so it will be really important to get up to speed right away and to have a good set up dialed in early in the weekend. I love racing at Lime Rock. It's a tricky track with the track surface being both asphalt and concrete. You are always trying to get into a good rhythm at Lime Rock."
Two of the three podium finishers from last years Lime Rock race, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Roger Yasakawa, are now competing as teammates in the Toyota Atlantic Series with Hylton Motorsports.
Drivers from all over the world are represented in the field: 4 drivers from Mexico, 1 from India, 3 from Brazil, 1 from Colombia, 3 from Canada, and 10 from the United States comprise the field of 22 drivers.
17 Rookies--A wide-open field
Nilton Rossoni, 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion, is making his return to the series in 2002 and is determined to pick up where he left off and take the championship again. He qualified second in Sebring, but earned a bonus championship point by being the fastest on the first day of qualifying.
2001 Barber-CART Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico ran in his first ever rain race last year at Lime Rock, and says he doesn't care if the race is wet or dry. He counts Rossini and Allmindinger as his toughest competition this weekend.
Marc Bruers from Galdwyne, PA, considers Lime Rock Park to be a home race for him. Last year, Bruers was able to fight his way back up into 9th place after a spin early in the race put him well back into the field on the rain-soaked course.
Josh Rehm is returning to the track where he sealed the championship in the Skip Barber Eastern series in 1999, hoping to make his mark in the Barber Dodge Pro Series this season.
Divina Galica, Managing Director, Skip Barber Race Series
"You really need to have a lot of laps at Lime Rock to expect to do well, and so the guys who have run here in our National Championship should find themselves at a bit of an advantage."
Jeremy Dale, Managing Director, Barber Dodge Pro Series
"With so many former National Championship competitors in the field, it should make things really interesting because they really know Lime Rock Park. This is a track that requires a good rhythm to be consistently fast, and the more laps you have here, the faster you can get into that fast rhythm. Since the whole field is so competitive, everyone will pushing really hard. This is a track that does not forgive mistakes, so whoever can be fast all weekend and avoid making a single mistake will take the win.”
Dan Di Leo, Barber Dodge Pro Series Driver
"I love this track. I know its not everyone's favorite, but I like how much of a challenge it is. With the two different track surfaces (concrete and asphalt), you really have to know your way around here to find the best grip. I'm really looking forward to this weekend."