Mid-Ohio: Race notes

Maia masters moist Mid Ohio LEXINGTON, OH (August 9, 2003)- Leo Maia of Oakland, California led every lap of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Mid Ohio in wet conditions to take his sixth win of the season. Dan Di Leo finished in second place...

Maia masters moist Mid Ohio

LEXINGTON, OH (August 9, 2003)- Leo Maia of Oakland, California led every lap of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Mid Ohio in wet conditions to take his sixth win of the season. Dan Di Leo finished in second place for his fourth podium of the season as Antoine Bessette of St. Bruno, Quebec, made his first appearance on the Barber Dodge Pro Series podium with his third place finish.

Nelson Philippe backed up his Vancouver round podium finish with fourth, with Ben Freudenberg showing himself to be a talented runner in the rain as he finished fifth after having started in fourteenth. Memo Rojas took sixth place in his Telmex machine, with Burt Frisselle taking seventh, putting him atop the points standings in the Rookie of the Year battle. Ryan Millen also had a fine showing in the rain, moving from fifteenth on the grid to finish in eighth position. David Martinez took ninth, with fellow Mexican Salvador Duran taking tenth in just his first Barber Dodge Pro Series race finish.

The race started under yellow conditions after rain showers began a half hour before the race, and left standing water in some locations on the track. After starting in single-file formation with a full course yellow, the field received the green flag after two laps, and the action began right away, with several drivers taking the opportunity to shine in the wet conditions as some others found trouble in the early stages. Colin Fleming and Scott Poirier, who are in a close battle for the Rookie of the Year award, spun in close proximity to one another on the first green flag lap, but both were able to rejoin the field.

Antoine Bessette charged from his sixth starting position to move in front of Memo Rojas and then Burt Frisselle, and then moved on to battle with Di Leo for third position. Maia held station at the front, building up a gap to David Martinez, who was being chased by Di Leo. German Quiroga was knocked off course in turn one, brining out the first of two full course yellows for the race to extricate his car from the gravel trap.

On the restart, Ben Freudenberg continued his own move up as he started in fourteenth position on his way to a strong fifth place finish. David Martinez, who spent most of the race chasing Maia in second place, spun off course in the carousel corner but was able to rejoin the field and finish ninth. Luis Pelayo encountered trouble as well and the race went back to yellow conditions to move his car to a safe location, but the time limit expired before the race could go back to green as Maia rolled to another victory.

Maia was happy to take the win in difficult conditions as he continues to put a stamp on this years championship.

"Even though we didn't have a lot of laps with the green flag, it was a really exciting race with the wet conditions," said Maia. "You are running on the edge all the way around the track, so it takes all your attention since you can get yourself in trouble at any point, and I had a couple of close calls but was able to keep the car on track and in front. Its great to take another win here and it just keeps improving my chances for next season as far as attracting the attention of the Atlantics owners."

Dan Di Leo scored another podium finish with second place, and moved himself firmly into second place in the season standings.

"I had a great battle with Martinez, and then Bessette was really putting some pressure on me late in the race, but I was able to hold him off," said Di Leo. I was really disappointed we didn't go back to green at the end, I felt as though I had a car to win this weekend, but that's the way it goes. I will be looking for another win in Montreal!"

Antoine Bessette joined the champagne spraying festivities for the first time this season, and is looking forward to improving on his finish at the final round race in Montreal in two weeks time.

"I'm really happy to be on the podium for the first time, its been a long struggle to get up here!" said Bessette. We improved in qualifying this weekend, and I have a lot of experience running in the rain, and I have rallied and raced on ice as well, so I really enjoyed these conditions. I'm also going to be looking for a win in Montreal, it's the closest race to home for me, so it should be good."

The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the Official Entry Level Professional Series of Champ Car. The drivers utilize identically prepared single seat open wheel Reynard-Dodge racecars. Barber Dodge Pro Series provides a level playing field where driving talent, not financial resources, play the decisive role. This state-of-the-art platform, with its carbon composite construction, raised nose and 6-speed sequential gearbox, takes full advantage of the 265hp all aluminum Dodge V6 Intrepid motor that is exclusive to this series. Additionally, all of the Barber Dodges compete on identical Michelin Pilot racing slicks.

To ensure absolute equality for all competitors, the Barber Dodge Pro Series owns, maintains, prepares and transports all the cars and equipment. This serves to control costs while allowing the drivers to concentrate solely on developing their driving skills. The Barber Dodge Pro Series rewards those with dedication and skill with true financial incentive - an incredible $55,100 in prize money is available for each Barber Dodge Pro Series event with $13,000 going to the race winner. The overall Series Champion receives a $100,000 scholarship towards entry in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, and the series Rookie of the Year receives $185,000 in career enhancement funding. In total, the Barber Dodge Pro Series pays out over $1 million annually in prize money, contingencies and scholarships.

Skip Barber Racing School is the world's leading provider of automotive education and entertainment. With five base locations in Connecticut, Florida, California, and Wisconsin, Skip Barber operates at over twenty tracks nationwide. The Dodge Division of DaimlerChrysler, Michelin North America, and Quaker State are key strategic partners for the company. NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, Indianapolis 500 Champion and Champ Car Champion Juan Montoya, and legend Michael Andretti are but three graduates to have emerged from Skip Barber Racing's nearly thirty years of training and expertise.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Michael Andretti , German Quiroga , Memo Rojas , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , Skip Barber , David Martinez , Luis Pelayo , Nelson Philippe , Antoine Bessette , Ben Freudenberg , Ryan Millen