SBRS: National Championship third season preview

Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Kicks Off Third Season (Monterey, Calif.) March 5, 2002 - Twenty-four racers are preparing for first-round action in the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER this...

Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Kicks Off Third Season

(Monterey, Calif.) March 5, 2002 - Twenty-four racers are preparing for first-round action in the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER this weekend at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Universally regarded as one of the most competitive and cost-effective championships in existence, the National Championship was designed for the aspiring professional racer. Talent and a proven track record are the credentials one must present for this invitation-only series. The 13-round series, deemed the Official Amateur National Championship of CART in early 2001, runs in conjunction with many Skip Barber Race Series weekends and in support of select marquee events. Determined to build on the phenomenal success of its two previous seasons, the 2002 National Championship series features three new venues, a new track layout at California Speedway, the Superspeedway at Nashville, Tennessee and the Circuit de Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada.

"Our goal is to train drivers in all aspects of racing, from racecar set-up to marketing and sponsorship issues," said Divina Galica, Managing Director of the Skip Barber Race Series. "This year's schedule features tracks which provide a cross-section of every type of racing a driver will encounter during his or her career." Galica added, "We're looking forward to another exciting year of racing that will launch another crop of racers up the Barber-CART ladder."

The premise of the series is to contribute to the health and prosperity of American open-wheel racing with driver development at its core. Grouping talented young racers fosters competition and ultimately raises each driver's game. The young pilots use identically prepared Formula Dodge R/T 2000 racecars, run with wings, slicks and a sequential Gemini five-speed gearbox.

Among the eight returning drivers are standout racers Robbie Montinola, Burt Frisselle and Grant Maiman, all true products of the Skip Barber system. The trio are all Three Day Racing School graduates and spent time in the Skip Barber Race Series before being tapped to compete at the higher level. The Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winners, Colin Fleming, Craig Baltzer, Charlie Kimball and Ward Imrie, represent the four most deserving karters selected in the Barber-CART Karting Scholarship Runoff. Each winner earned a fully-funded season to contest the Formula Dodge National Championship, a cumulative value package worth over $160,000. Also new to the mix is Scott Poirier, winner of the National Championship Runoff, and Scott Speed, who earned an automatic entry by claiming the CART Stars of Tomorrow Award in a three race mini-series.

A number of Formula Dodge standouts have left the series and gone on to bigger and better things. 2001 National Champion Julio Campos and Scholarship winner Leonardo Maia are prepared to start their first professional season at Sebring in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series as are A.J. Allmendinger and Dan DiLeo, last year's second and third place finishers. 2000 National Championship racers Jon Morley and Davy Cook achieved podium results in their inaugural Pro Series season. Midwest Regional Champion Chris Baker is another who came up through the National Championship, currently ready to step up for his first Pro Series campaign. And 2000 National Champion runner-up Bryan Sellers recently challenged for the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.

"Raising the level of competition was the goal we set in order to better prepare aspiring drivers for the next step," said Skip Barber when the series was formed. "There is no question that racing with a high caliber of competition improves driver development."

The 2002 National Champion will receive a scholarship to the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series. Drivers who finish in positions 2-10 in points will compete in a three day runoff for a variety of selected scholarships to the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series.

2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER entry list

Craig Baltzer, Bettendorf, Iowa
Justin Blower, San Clemente, California
Colin Fleming, North Hills, California
Burt Frisselle; Kihei, Hawaii
Ward Imrie; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Shinji Kashima; Taikou-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
Brian Kellogg; Denver, Colorado
Charlie Kimball; Camarillo, California
Jason Klein; Long Grove, Illinois
Kyle Lawrence; Fort Gratiot; Michigan
Grant Maiman; New London, Wisconsin
Atticus Missner; Evanston, Illinois
Robbie Montinola; Laguna Beach, California
Luis Pelayo; Naucalpan, Mexico
Cristiano Piquet; Miami, Florida
Walter Baptista Cordeiro Netto; Amazonas Brazil
Scott Poirier; Deerfield Beach, Florida
Jason Richardson; Oakland, California
Scott Speed; Matneca, California
Hector Yanez Vazquez; Mexico
Al Unser; Corrales, New Mexico
Steve Welk; Franklin, Wisconsin
Jared Wilcox; Mahtomedi, Minnesota
Abraham Zimroth; New York, New York


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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Ward Imrie , Al Unser Sr. , Scott Speed , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , Leonardo Maia , Chris Baker , A.J. Allmendinger , Atticus Missner , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , Charlie Kimball , Skip Barber , Steve Welk , Luis Pelayo , Grant Maiman , Jason Richards , Bryan Sellers , Abraham Zimroth , Divina Galica , Cristiano Piquet , Robbie Montinola , Jon Morley