NA-F2000: 2003 championship season taking shape

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (March 7, 2003) - With the start of the 2003 The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship fast approaching, the team and driver lineup is quickly taking shape. As in years past the world's best young drivers will contest the ...

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (March 7, 2003) - With the start of the 2003 The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship fast approaching, the team and driver lineup is quickly taking shape.

As in years past the world's best young drivers will contest the Zetec Championship. Several drivers and teams should battle for the championship, while numerous rookies should be in contention for the Greg Moore Rookie of the Year award.

Making their the Zetec Championship at Sebring will be Craig Baltzer, Westley Barber, Jonathan Bomarito, Chris Festa, Charlie Kimball, Jason Kritikos, Tony Loniewski, Adam Pecorari, Andrew Prendeville, Doug Prendeville and Steve Welk.

Baltzer, of Bettendorf, Iowa, joins the championship having co-won the WKA/SCCA Pro Racing Primus Racing Driver Scholarship and finished on the podium at the 2002 Zetec Championship season-finale.

Following in the footsteps of other great European drivers, Barber, of Saffron Walden, England, joins the Zetec Championship having the 2002 British Formula Ford Championship and previously been the Rookie of the Year.

Bomarito, of Monterey, Calif., is a Skip Barber instructor, who has set numerous track records and recently contested several Grand-Am Cup races.

Driving for the 2002 Road TO Indy Oval Crown Champions PR1 Motorsports, Festa, of Atlanta, Ga., enters the Zetec Championship having recently contested the Fran-Am Winter Series.

Joining Festa at PR1, Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif., won the prestigious June Sprints in Formula Ford class last year and is a 2002 CART Scholarship winner.

Kritikos, of Livermore, Calif., makes his Zetec Championship debut as the 2002 Formula Russell Champion and Rookie of the Year and will drive for defending series champions Cape Motorsports.

A world class karter, Loniewski, of Michigan City, Ind., joins the championship having won 94 features kart races, including two WKA Triple Crown titles.

Racing for newly formed Andersen Walko Racing, Andrew and Doug Prendeville, of Morristown, N.J., enter the series having finished first and second in the SCCA National Championships at Valvoline Runoffs in the Formula Continental class last year.

A co-winner of the WKA/SCCA Pro Racing Primus Racing Driver Scholarship, Welk, of Greenfield, Wis., joins the Zetec Championship as the inaugural winner of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing ICA Constructors Championship.

"This is going to be the biggest year of my racing life," said Baltzer. "I am focused on winning the Championship, but that will be very tough as a rookie. I'm going to take it one race at a time and get use to working with the team."

"The team has been working very hard and is very excited about the opening round of the season," said Pecorari. "I feel working with most of the people that were involved with my karting career will make for an easier transition, and will enable us to accomplish our goals much quicker."

"I'm really excited for the opportunity to compete in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship with JDC Motorsports," said Welk. "My goal is to win the Rookie of the Year award, as well as score some podium finishes."

Battling the impressive list of rookies will be returning stars Lawson Aschenbach, Andy Brumbaugh, Ricardo Imery, Tonis Kasemets, Matthew McDonough, Scott Rubenzer, Jeff Sakowicz and Doug Smith.

Joining Cape Motorsports, Aschenbach, of Gaithersburg, Md., has two career wins and is the defending Road TO Indy Oval Crown Champion.

Brumbaugh, of Blythewood, S.C., the youngest driver ever to win the Canadian Formula Ford Championship, has one career podium finish and will partner Aschenbach at Cape Motorsports.

A two-time winner in the ACC class and a podium finisher in the Zetec class, Imery, of Caracas, Venezuela, will once again race for Richard Morgan Racing.

Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill., returns to the series as the active win leader, having won four races over the past two years.

For the second consecutive year McDonough, of West Newbury, Mass., will race for GTP Motorsports, having previously captured a podium finish.

The 2000 ACC Champion, Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., returns for his second full season of Zetec competition, having contested 36 races in his career.

Sakowicz, of Camarillo, Calif., will contest his first full season of Zetec competition, having won 1 race and captured three pole positions in the ACC class last year.

Switching to the Zetec class, Smith, of Plantation, Fla., captured one win and three podium finishes in the ACC class in 2002.

"This is a dream opportunity for me and I plan to make the most of it," said Brumbaugh. "The series will be extremely competitive this year, so I am proud to be a part of it. With a lot of hard work I don't see why we can't have some really strong results."

"I can't wait for the season to start," said McDonough. "I know the competition will be fierce in the Zetec Championship, but I think we showed at Mid-Ohio that we have what it takes to be a front-runner."

"I am very excited to continue our working relationship with Dan Campbell and the Mygale chassis," said Sakowicz. "Dan is a long-time and proven champion in this series and the Mygale continues to improve with each race. I can't wait to get started."

"This year's group of drivers looks to be outstanding," said series owner Jon Baytos. "I think both the fans and the drivers are in for a great season long battle for the championship."

The Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship will bring its action packed, exciting, close quarter racing to North America' premier race tracks and events in 2003, with season-opening doubleheader March 13-14, at Sebring International Raceway, as part of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

-www.usf2000.com

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Tony Loniewski , Charlie Kimball , Skip Barber , Andrew Prendeville , Doug Prendeville , Adam Pecorari , Steve Welk , Westley Barber , Andy Brumbaugh , Jonathan Bomarito , Ricardo Imery , Chris Festa , Tonis Kasemets , Greg Moore , Doug Smith