NA-F2000: Hall of Fame class of 2001 nominees

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 9, 2001) -- The U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision has announced the 2001 inductees into the Hall of Fame. The class of 2001 will consist of Alex Barron, Robby McGehee and Buddy Rice. Established in...

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 9, 2001) -- The U.S. F2000 National Championship Presented by Speedvision has announced the 2001 inductees into the Hall of Fame. The class of 2001 will consist of Alex Barron, Robby McGehee and Buddy Rice.

Established in 1999, the Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of U.S. F2000 graduates in the motorsports industry. The list of Hall of Fame nominees are voted on by a panel including staff, competitors, sanctioning body presidents, media representatives and previous inductees. Nominees who are named on more than 50 percent of the ballots are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

After narrowly missing being inducted last year, Barron is inducted in his second year of nomination. Following a seventh-place finish in the 1996 U.S. F2000 National Championship, Barron graduated to the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. In his rookie year, he scored an impressive five wins, winning both the Rookie of the Year award and the Championship. In 1998, he made his CART FedEx Championship debut with All American Racing team, finishing 27th. The past two years, Barron has run a limited CART schedule with AAR, Penske Racing and Dale Coyne Racing. At the season-finale in 2000, Barron scored a career-best eighth-place finish with Dale Coyne Racing.

"The U.S. F2000 National Championship provided me with the necessary tools to take the next step in racing, said Barron. " Coming from karts I learned about motor tuning and engineering. It was a great training experience."

After receiving the most votes among those nominees not inducted in 2000, McGehee also enters the Hall of Fame in his second attempt. A two?time winner in the 1998 U.S. F2000 National Championship, McGehee made the jump from F2000 to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series look easy. In his first year after competing in F2000, he made his IRNLS debut at the 1999 Indy 500. Starting 27th, McGehee finished fifth and won the Bank One Rookie of the Year honors. He continued his strong runs throughout the season en route to finishing second in the series Rookie of the Year standings. Last year, he returned to the IRNLS finishing 12th in the championship.

"This is a huge honor," said McGehee. "I cut my teeth in the U.S. F2000 National Championship against the best up-and-coming drivers. The series is definitely where the future talent of open-wheel racing is coming from."

Capturing the leading number of votes in 2001, Rice enters the Hall of Fame in his first year nominated. Rice is a driver who has improved with every year of competition. After finishing fourth in the 1997 U.S. F2000 championship, he entered the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. In his rookie year, he won one race and finished seventh in the championship. The following year, Rice improved to fifth in the championship. Last year racing with DSTP in Toyota Atlantic, who had run him in U.S. F2000, he excelled. Rice won five races, the most by any driver since Barron scored five in 1997, and captured the championship.

"It's a great honor," said Rice. "I got my feet wet racing in the series. I grew up racing against some great drivers and established my link with DSTP. The U.S. F2000 National Championship taught me a lot and helped launch my career."

Barron, McGehee and Rice join Memo Gidley, Steve Knapp, Greg Moore, Greg Ray and Sam Schmidt in the U.S. F2000 National Championship Hall of Fame. Nominees who received votes, but not the necessary 50%, include Andrew Bordin, Jason Bright, Steve Challis, Sam Hornish Jr., Larry Oberto, Jeret Schroeder and Dan Wheldon.

-USF2000-

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Robby McGehee , Greg Ray , Memo Gidley , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Steve Knapp , Jason Bright , Larry Oberto , Greg Moore , Dale Coyne , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Dale Coyne Racing