(Monterey, Calif.) June 5, 2002 - The Barber Dodge Pro Series joins the CART FedEx Series and the Toyota Atlantic Series this weekend at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca for Round 3 of the 2002 season in support of the Bridgestone Grand Prix of ...
(Monterey, Calif.) June 5, 2002 - The Barber Dodge Pro Series joins the CART FedEx Series and the Toyota Atlantic Series this weekend at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca for Round 3 of the 2002 season in support of the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey. This weekend marks the first of eight race weekends that the Barber Dodge Pro Series will race in support of the CART FedEx Series this year. Sunday's race will see 25 up and coming racers take to the legendary 2.238-mile course in pursuit of the season championship and the $100,000 Barber-CART Career Enhancement Award.
A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister, CA, has started the season on a tear, taking two wins in the two races run to date, and qualifying well enough to earn 3 additional championship points heading into round three.. Allmendinger is mindful of the championship points race, and even though he has a strong early lead, he knows that every point will be important at the end of the season, which last year was decided by a mere 4 points. He also knows that leading the field by 19 points makes him everyone else's target for the weekend.
"Well, I like being chased more than having to chase someone else, that is for sure. Laguna is my favorite track by far. I really like turn 9, since its off-camber, and there is relatively little grip there," says Allmendinger, who last raced at Laguna in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship. "Turns five and six are also really important since they lead up to the corkscrew, and if you mess either one up, you pay for it going up the long hill. I have a good basic set up already, and that gives me a lot of confidence going into the weekend."
Allmendinger knows that the field is eager to keep him from getting too much of a lead, and has several competitors looking to break his streak of poles and wins. Rafael Sperafico, who battled his way onto the podium after losing two spots midway through the race at Lime Rock Park, also finished on the podium at Laguna with the Barber Dodge Pro Series last year, and is looking to make Laguna the site of his first win.
Marc Breuers, who challenged Allemendinger throughout the race at Lime Rock, also has a lot of experience at Laguna Seca and will be hoping to convert that experience into some championship points.
Leo Maia, who carded the fastest race lap at Lime Rock Park in an effort to make up lost ground after a mid-race spin at Lime Rock, will look to bring that speed along with him at Laguna. Davy Cook, who was eliminated from a fourth place finish late in the race at Lime Rock with a stuck throttle, should also figure into the mix in round 3. Julio Campos, winner of the 2001 Formula Dodge National Championship, is hoping to keep his momentum this weekend after a strong top-5 finish at Lime Rock.
Laguna Seca, stepped in motorsports legend with the famous corkscrew diving turns and the very tricky downhill turn 10, will provide a significant challenge to everyone the field. The layout provides more passing opportunities for the drivers than were available at Lime Rock Park, where Allmendinger led from flag to flag. The track has a balance of slow and high-speed corners, and a long front straight, which itself has a bend in the middle of it as the cars crest the hill at the start finish line and dive down into a heavy braking area into the Andretti hairpin.
Morgan Davies, driving the LG-sponsored Reynard-Dodge, managed to cut two seconds off his time during the Lime Rock race weekend, his first weekend racing with the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Davies will look to continue to build the speed and confidence to move up front in the pack this weekend.
With 25 identically prepared Reynard Dodges taking the field for Sunday's race, the two qualifying sessions take on even greater importance. 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, take the pole if the time bests the Friday pole time, and will also get a championship point. The race is scheduled to start at 10:45am on Sunday, June 9th. Log on to barberdodge.com for all the qualifying and race results this weekend.
Jeremy Dale, Managing Director, Barber Dodge Pro Series
"Well, everyone is going to be gunning for A.J., and this is a great track for that since there are so many places to make a run on people and get by. At Lime Rock, we saw a lot of overtaking going on from 3rd back to 10th, and that's a track where you are not supposed to even be able to pass anyone. These guys are so hungry and so talented, that I think Laguna will make for some fantastic battles. The concentration factor will be very important here, because if you make one small mistake, and the next thing you know, there are several guys going by you."
Rick Ratajczak (Series Director) Barber Dodge Pro Series
"We had a fantastic race here last year, and there is no reason to expect anything less this year. Everyone is going to be gunning for A.J., and there are a lot of guys behind him with a lot of experience at Laguna. Rossoni has won here before, so he will be strong, and Maia, De Leo, and Sperafco have all had some strong runs here. This is a great track for us to run on, and the Barber Dodge Pro Series competitors really raise their game for this track."
Barber Dodge Pro Series
(Through Round 2 of 10)
1. AJ Allmendinger Hollister, Calif. 44 points
2. Julio Campos Curitiba, Brazil 25 points
3. Nilton Rossoni Curitiba, Brazil 25 points
4. Marc Breuers Philadelphia, Penn. 23 points
5. Josh Beaulieu Langley, British Columbia 17 points
Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca is the West-coast base of operations for the Skip Barber Racing School, and serves as one of 4 base locations for the School. Skip Barber operates the Dodge Driving School, Skip Barber Corporate Programs, Skip Barber Racing School, and the Formula Dodge National Championship