WHAT: Round 11 of 12 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series in support of the CART Molson Indy Vancouver WHEN: Qualifying Friday, Aug. 31 at 4:00 p.m. (30 minutes); Final Qualifying Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8:30 a.m. (25 minutes); RACE START Saturday,...
WHAT: Round 11 of 12 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series in support of the CART Molson Indy Vancouver
WHEN: Qualifying Friday, Aug. 31 at 4:00 p.m. (30 minutes); Final Qualifying Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8:30 a.m. (25 minutes); RACE START Saturday, Sept. 1at 3:15 p.m. (40 Minutes)
WHERE: Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
WHO: 18 drivers from five different countries [entry list available at barberdodge.com]
TELEVISION: ESPN 2 Sept. 28 @ 5:30 p.m. EDT;rebroadcast on Sept. 29 @ 5:00 a.m. EDT
Drivers who have used the Barber Pro Series as a steppingstone into the world of top level auto racing include: 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner and current CART driver Kenny Brack; 2000 Indy 500 winner and current driver for the BMW-WilliamsF1 team, Juan Pablo Montoya
All drivers compete in identically prepared single-seat, open-wheel race cars which are owned, maintained and transported by the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
In 1998, world famous racecar manufacturer Reynard Motorsport, was called upon to design an all new carbon-fiber monocoque chassis exclusively for the series. That chassis is mated to an all aluminum 3.5 liter V6 Dodge engine tuned to deliver 265 peak horsepower driven through a six-speed sequential Hewland gearbox. The Reynard Dodge 98E is shod with Michelin Pilot SX racing slicks.
Races are 40 minutes in duration with points allocated to the top-15 finishers (20 to the winner, then 16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1). A driver's ten best results count toward the championship total. An additional point is awarded to the fastest qualifier and fastest race lap holder. $1 million in prize money is awarded over the course of the year.
All 12 rounds of the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series will again be televised on ESPN2 as well as ESPN International.
Can Plumb or Koster Stop the Rondet Train?
At the 2000 Molson Indy Vancouver, American Matt Plumb secured his first Barber Dodge Pro Series career victory. He was then clawing onto hopes of keeping his title bid alive and the win couldn't have come at a better time. In the end he finished fourth overall. Just ahead of him in the final standings in last year, and just behind at Vancouver was Sepp Koster. The Dutchman was also still in the title running and needed a good result at the Concord Pacific Place Circuit to keep the drive alive.
A year hence and the pair return to Vancouver in similar straits. Koster is fresh from a win at the last round at Road America that saw him move into second overall. Plumb recovered from an early lap mishap and unscheduled visit for service to his car to finish sixth, netting much needed points to remain third in the standings. Once again they must finish well if they are to recoup points to near-season long points leader Nicolas Rondet who holds a 19-point advantage heading into the penultimate race of the 2001 series. A maximum of 22 points are available at each of the remaining two rounds.
Should Rondet extend his lead by a further ten points over his existing 19-point advantage, he would clinch the 2001 Pro Series title and earn the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award that comes with it.
Only a drivers ten best results count toward the final tally. If Rondet were to leave Vancouver with a at least a 29-point margin and not score any points at the final round in Laguna Seca, he would be obliged to discard six points leaving him with an insurmountable 23 point advantage.
Fourth placed Roger Yasukawa and fifth placed Ryan Hunter-Reay are mathematically still in the running though only if the trio ahead has disastrous results in the final two rounds coupled with maximum points scoring finishes for each in both races.
All four would be title chasers however have one card up their sleeve, at least for Vancouver. Rondet acknowledges that temporary street circuits like the Concord Pacific Place are not among his favorite style of track. Koster, Plumb, Hunter-Reay and Yasukawa all excel on the tightly confined circuits. All four drivers were dominant at both Detroit and Toronto earlier this year while Rondet's best performance on street circuit this season is a fifth at both Detroit and Toronto. Plumb (Detroit) and Hunter-Reay (Toronto) both have wins while Koster and Yasukawa have podium finishes. Upping the ante is the fact the quartet has raced on this circuit while Rondet never has.
As has been the norm in Barber Dodge this season, expect nothing short of a nail biter in Vancouver this weekend.