BEAUMONT, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2003) - This weekend's ICC (125cc Shifter) class in the "Stars Karting Championships" at Moran Raceway figures to be a real shootout. In fact, the 60-plus racers taking the track Nov. 1-2 may form the most competitive...
BEAUMONT, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2003) - This weekend's ICC (125cc Shifter) class in the "Stars Karting Championships" at Moran Raceway figures to be a real shootout.
In fact, the 60-plus racers taking the track Nov. 1-2 may form the most competitive field ever in ICC racing in North America.
Every top shifter kart driver in North America is making an assault on the all-new one-mile karting circuit for national titles and racing awards.
The 2003 Snap-on.com Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presented by RACER Magazine national karting series brings over 200 racers this weekend for the "Stars Karting Championships," the 17th and finale race on the national karting trail.
The "Stars Karting Championships" were originally scheduled for California Speedway but were moved to Moran Raceway, 30 miles southwest of Fontana, due to the massive wildfires in San Bernardino County.
All eyes will be focused on the top category - ICC - with the finest young talent assembled at a Stars of Tomorrow event.
Many awards and racing scholarships will be presented this weekend with all of the contenders looking to move on to auto racing careers. Who will be the next A.J. Allmendinger or Matt Jaskol that goes from Stars karting to stars on the auto racing trail?
"The Stars program was great for me," said Jaskol, one of the top young U.S. racing talents who came through the shifter kart ranks. "I had Paul Tracy backing me and we wanted to race in the Stars series. It helped me get a racing scholarship and I got to drive Team Rahal's Champ Car. That was awesome. This weekend's ICC class will be very competitive and some of the best racing anyone can see. It's too hard to predict a winner."
The ICC main event will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 2) with practice set for Friday (Oct. 31) and qualifying, heat races and semi-finals running on Saturday (Nov. 1).
Leading the ICC division contenders will be regional point champions Bobby Wilson of Dousman, Wis., (Eastern Division) and Jason Bowles of Ontario, Calif. (Western Division) with a host of challengers who have already scored national championships in their early racing careers.
"I have to look at it as another race," said Wilson, the 22-year-old racer who is considered the hottest shifter racer in 2003. "I have raced with all of these top guys and I think we are well prepared for the competition. But it will be tough. With that many good guys, you can't make a mistake. I think I'm ready for the weekend."
Bowles, a former Stars scholarship winner, will have a large contingent of supporters since he is racing in his neighborhood.
"We have been testing and getting our equipment ready for this race," said Bowles, 21. "I know the field is strong but I feel good about my chances. I've raced with all of these drivers before and we have been improving our karts. Bobby has been hot but we can race right with him. The racing will be outstanding."
The best ICC racers from the East will meet the best from the West and the action may be the best racing all weekend at California Speedway including the Champ Cars and the NASCAR Winston West stock cars.
Among with the veterans taking on Wilson and Bowles will be Kyle Martin of Dallas, Tex., Kevin Glover of Burnaby, B.C., Can., Ron White of San Jose, Calif., Tom Dyer of San Rafael, Calif., and Ben Petter of Seattle.
The group of teenage chargers in ICC at Moran Raceway could find a future Champ Car or Formula One driver among the entries. That is just how good these young phenoms have proven this year in the Stars program.
Youngsters to watch are Alan Sciuto, 15, of Orange, Calif., Robbie Pecorari, 16, of Apton, Pa., Darren Elliott, 18 of Canyon Country, Calif., Alex Speed, 16, of Manteca, Calif., Lorenzo Mandarino, 16, of Burnaby, B.C., Nicholas Halen, 17, of Carson City, Nev., Billy Johnson, 17, of San Clemente, Calif., Nick Green of San Jose, Calif., and Graham Rahal, the 14-year-old son of three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal of New Albany, Ohio.
"Qualifying will be really hard at Fontana," said Graham Rahal, who'll race in his biggest event of his young racing career. "With a street-type circuit and the narrow track, you need to qualify well and final well in the pre- main. That won't easy with this kind of field. It will be a great race in ICC. I can't wait to get started."
Most of the young racers are just happy to be racing after the unfortunate happenings in Southern California.
"We are working hard to minimize the hardship this change will place on our competitors," said Bryan Herta, founder of Stars of Tomorrow. "Our decision to proceed with the race at Moran Raceway was made in the knowledge that we would not be draining any important community resources needed to battle the fires. We have a strong obligation to our teams and drivers, many of whom have already arrived from the east coast, to put on the first class finale they have all worked towards and deserve."
The new Moran Raceway -- a state-of-the-art karting facility -- was built by longtime Southern California road racers Rocky Moran Sr. and Jr. of Cota de Caza, Calif.
"We are delighted and honored to give the displaced Stars finale an alternate home," said Rocky Moran Jr. "We have a lot of work to do to get ready, but we have been planning to include a major national race at our track since we opened. It is just coming sooner than we expected. We are lucky enough to be far enough away from the fires to not have been affected. The winds and our altitude of 2700 ft. has kept the smoke and ash covering a lot of Southern California away from us."
The Champ Car 'Stars of Tomorrow' presenting by RACER karting series is the official first level in CART's driver development system and an officially sanctioned series of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing. Founded by racing star Bryan Herta and now owned in conjunction with a group of racing veterans, including three-time CART champion and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, the Stars of Tomorrow serves as the first step for the CART driver development ladder. Stars focuses on recognizing the skills of the drivers rather than the technology development within the machines, using FIA/CIK International standards. More information can be found at www.cartstars.com.
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