Karting Star Jason Bowles Leads Quality Field for Road Atlanta Season Opener St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 12, 2005) -- This weekend's Grand Prix of Atlanta promises an action-packed agenda of racing at the scenic and supremely challenging Road ...
Karting Star Jason Bowles Leads Quality Field for Road Atlanta Season Opener
St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 12, 2005) -- This weekend's Grand Prix of Atlanta promises an action-packed agenda of racing at the scenic and supremely challenging Road Atlanta track in Braselton, Ga. Some of the most spectacular competition is expected to be provided by a magnificent field of 40 cars that has been assembled for the opening rounds of the 2005 Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars.
Drivers from Great Britain, Canada, Venezuela and all over the United States will be vying for honors during a pair of races -- one apiece on Friday and Saturday -- and will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of previous FF2000 stars such as Champ Car World Series title-holders Paul Tracy and Jimmy Vasser, two-time Indy Racing League Champion Sam Hornish Jr. and current IRL standout Dan Wheldon.
The list of leading contenders is lengthy, but likely front-runners will include rising American stars Jason Bowles and Emerson Slade Miller, equally highly-touted young Englishman Jay Howard and 2003 Canadian Formula Ford Champion Chris Guerrieri.
"Everything's come together very late but I'm really looking forward to Road Atlanta," says Bowles, from Ontario, Calif., who won the prestigious SKUSA SuperNationals karting event in Las Vegas last November and only recently concluded a deal to drive in the Cooper Series with JDC Motorsports. Bowles is the highest-placed returning driver from the 2004 season, having finished fourth in the overall standings with the same Minnesota-based team. Among the highlights from his rookie campaign were a pair of third-place finishes at Road Atlanta.
"Road Atlanta is definitely one of the most fun race tracks I've raced on," continues 22-year-old Bowles. "The elevation changes make it a real challenge, and the section in Turns Two and Three where you go over the top of a hill and all you can see is the bright blue sky is wild!"
Miller, 19, from Edmond, Okla., will be making his FF2000 debut but has some momentum on his side after winning an SCCA Formula Ford Regional title last year and being awarded a prestigious Team USA Scholarship, which allowed him to broaden his horizons by racing in New Zealand in January.
"I learned so much in New Zealand," says Miller, who will join Bowles at the JDC Motorsports team. "It's been a struggle to raise the finance but I'm really excited about making this step into the Cooper Series -- it's the epitome of road racing: large fields with lots of talent, challenging courses and professional teams."
Howard, 24, from Basildon, England, contested one Cooper Series weekend in 2004, winning one of his two races at Infineon Raceway, Calif. This year he returns for a concerted championship challenge with the Aiken Racing team which is based in nearby Alpharetta, Ga.
"I'm going into this weekend with a lot of confidence," says Howard, whose list of accomplishments include victory in the 2003 Formula Renault UK Winter Series. "Our preseason testing has gone really well and I have a fantastic race engineer in John Hayes. I've worked with lots of good engineers before, but he's by far the best. He knows exactly what to do to improve the car and to get the best out of the driver."
Guerrieri, 21, from Pickering, Ont., Canada, will join Howard at Aiken Racing, seeking to build upon a promising rookie campaign in 2004 in which he finished 10th in points despite contesting only a partial season.
"My goal has always been to compete at the top levels of racing," he says. "The attention of many of the top teams in North America and Europe will be on the Zetec series to find the next generation of Championship Racing and Formula 1 drivers."
The Cooper Series, sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association, represents one of the first rungs on the professional open-wheel auto racing ladder in North America. It features modern, purpose-built, single-seater cars which run on "slick" (treadless) Cooper Zeon racing tires and are capable of over 140 mph.