Mid-Ohio: Round nine preview

Barber Dodge Pro Series takes on Mid-Ohio August 7, 2003-The Barber Dodge Pro Series returns to action this weekend for round nine of the 2003 championship at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course as part of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid Ohio ...

Barber Dodge Pro Series takes on Mid-Ohio

August 7, 2003-The Barber Dodge Pro Series returns to action this weekend for round nine of the 2003 championship at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course as part of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid Ohio weekend.

Leo Maia clinched the Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship with his victory in Vancouver, but the young Californian feels as though he is far from done.

"Winning the championship really just gives me more confidence heading into the weekend," said Maia. "Its important for me to be making a good impression on the Atlantics owners, and every win I get improves my chances of landing a good ride next season. I learned a lot from the Toronto round, and I know that the only way to approach a race weekend is to go for the win, and work towards that in every session we run."

David Martinez, who missed out on an opportunity to win in Vancouver after spinning while trying to pass Dan Di Leo for the lead, is looking forward to racing on the twisty 2.258-mile permanent road course.

"This is the first natural race course that we have visited since Portland, and I know it will be a difficult track to learn, but I am looking forward to the test day so I can get a head start on the weekend," said Martinez. "Leo has locked up the championship, but there is still a lot at play in the points standings, so I will be going for it this weekend."

Dan Di Leo, who led the last round race in Vancouver for several laps before suffering a penalty and falling to fourth in the final standings, is also looking for another shot at victory.

"It was a very frustrating experience for me in Vancouver, but I just have to put it behind me and go out there and show what I can do again," said Di Leo. "This is a fantastic track, where the driver can make a big difference, and I'm hoping to do that this weekend."

The first qualifying session is scheduled to get underway at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, with final qualifying taking place on Saturday. The race will take place at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday. Full story and results to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

Notes:

* The Rookie of the Year battle continues to intensify as Scott Poirier made his first appearance on the podium with a third place finish in Vancouver and moved to within five points of Colin Fleming and Burt Frisselle, who are tied for the lead. The Rookie of the Year receives significant funding toward a second season of Barber Dodge competition.

* Salvador Duran and Ben Freudenberg will both be making their second starts in Barber Dodge competition as the two both have an eye towards competing the full Barber Dodge season in 2004. Freudenberg made his first Barber Dodge start in Portland, where he finished in eleventh. Duran made his first start in Vancouver, but was the victim of a first-lap incident which ended his race.

* The 2002 Mid-Ohio event was the scene of Marc Breuers' breakthrough first career victory. Breuers is returning to competition this weekend, making his first ever Toyota Atlantics start. The 2002 Mid Ohio round was also the scene of A.J. Allmendinger's sealing the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship. Allmendinger currently leads the Toyota Atlantic Championship.

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 , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , Skip Barber , David Martinez , Salvador Duran , Ben Freudenberg