Vancouver: Race report

All Allmendinger again in Vancouver. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) July 28-AJ Allmendinger continued his domination of the Barber Dodge Pro Series and grew his championship points lead as he stormed to victory by more than two seconds over ...

All Allmendinger again in Vancouver.

(Vancouver, B.C., Canada) July 28-AJ Allmendinger continued his domination of the Barber Dodge Pro Series and grew his championship points lead as he stormed to victory by more than two seconds over second-place finisher Rafael Sperafico at the Molson Indy Vancouver before an estimated crowd of 161,728 over three days. The win is Allmendinger's fifth of the 2002 season and gives him a 52-point lead over Marc Breuers in the season championship standings. Allmendinger now has the opportunity to clinch the championship at the next round of Barber Dodge competition at Mid-Ohio in two weeks time. Dan Di Leo joined Allmendinger and Sperafico on the podium as he came forward from the seventh starting position to match his career-best finish in Barber Dodge competition.

Danica Patrick showed why Bobby Rahal has so much faith in her abilities as she finished fourth after starting in ninth to have her best finish in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in only her third-ever start. Outside polesitter Marc Breuers lost several positons at the start but stormed through the field to finish fifith in his Sunoco Race Fuels machine while Josh Beaulieu had an impressive run to sixth place after starting back in 12th place. Christian Szymczak came home seventh after losing time for being penalized for passing under the yellow but came charging back through the field, making several breathtaking passes and setting the fastest lap of the race along the way. German Quiroga started from 11th on the grid came forward to finish eighth, his best-ever finish in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Tom Fogarty, nursing a broken thumb, finished ninth and Rhonda Trammel rounded out the Top-10.

Allmendinger was asked on Saturday if he was planning on taking it easy on the streets of Vancouver to just maintain his points lead, but he was having none of it, announcing his intention to win the race and extend his lead, which is exactly what he did. Allmendinger showed no signs of taking it easy as he and Sperafico staged a mammoth battle, running much of the race nose to tail before Allmendinger retook the lead and stretched out the gap to take the checked flag first.

"I had a good restart, but I locked up in turn-12 and that helped Rafael catch up to me," said the Hollister, California native. "He made a great pass on me in turn-6. My car started to come in as the Michelins came up to temperature, and I was eventually able to get by him. It's great to race with him, since we race hard but clean. He left me exactly as much room as I needed to get by, and after that, I just tried to run a qualifying pace to the checker."

Sperafico, who won the Laguna Seca round, was pleased with his result, though less so his car's handling during the race.

"At the start, I almost hit Julio Campos, but I just tried to stay inside and get through there, and I did. My car was not handling that great, and I was taking a lot of risks when my tires were cold. I was doing everything I could inside the car to improve it, changing the brake bias and the anit-roll bars but I never really got it where I wanted it to be. We had a good battle, though, so now I will concentrate on doing well at Mid-Ohio."

Dan Di Leo, who got caught out on the start at the Cleveland round, had much better fortune at the start of the Vancouver race as he went on to make his second podium appearance in Barber Dodge competition.

"I saw a lot of smoke at the start and I just tried to avoid everyone, and was lucky to do that and emerge from the corner cleanly. Once we got restarted, I was trying to catch up with AJ and Rafael, but I wasn't able to make up any ground until late in the race. It feels good to get this result though. I worked with the Barber Dodge engineers all weekend to get the setup right, so now I am looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio in a couple of weeks."

The race had plenty of action from start to finish. Polesitter Allmendinger got a good jump on Breuers and the rest of the field at the start as everyone jockeyed for position heading into the tight turn-1. Behind Allmendinger, though, chaos ruled as the field bunched up for the first corner, and several cars made contact with one another under braking. Josh Beaulieu had to take evasive action to avoid hitting anyone. Marc Breuers started on the outside pole, but spun to the back of the field on the start after contact with Julio Campos in the first corner. Leo Maia made contact with the gearbox of Memo Rojas, breaking the transmission case and dropping fluid on the track after Rojas continued on track, unaware of the problem he had at the back of the car. The fluids caught Davy Cook out as he lost all grip and found himself hard into the wall in turn-3. This in turn caught out Piero Rodarte, who also found himself in the wall as he encountered the oil and Davy Cook, and Chris Baker and Rhonda Trammel also found themselves blocked on the track right behind Rodarte. Baker and Trammel were able to get away but Rodarte and Cook joined Maia as spectators early in the race.

The race was red-flagged to clear the cars from the track and to allow the Simple Green Safety team clean up the fluids that had been dropped around the circuit. Allmendinger got another good start when the green flag flew again as Sperafico passed Dan Di Leo for second place and then set off to catch Allmendnger. Sperafico managed to out-brake Allmendinger in turn six and take the lead. Allmendinger was not giving up easy, though, and he stayed right behind Sperafico for the next two laps, poking his nose in on a couple of occasions and taking a look on the outside of turn 6 before finally making the pass stick when he got by on the inside of Sperafico in turn-6. Allmendinger hit his stride quickly thereafter, stretching his lead lap by lap to take the win by 2.7 seconds over Sperafico.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the Official Entry Level Professional Series of CART. 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.

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About this article
Series Barber Pro
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Josh Beaulieu , Christian Szymczak , German Quiroga , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , Memo Rojas , Chris Baker , Marc Breuers , Piero Rodarte , Rafael Sperafico , Danica Patrick