SBRS: Sebring preview - Round 1

<pre> WHAT: Round 1of 12, 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series WHEN: Qualifying Thursday, March 15 at 4:45 pm (30 Minutes) Final Qualifying, Friday, March 16 at 9:00 am (30 Minutes) RACE START, Saturday March 17 at 9:10 am (40...

<pre> WHAT: Round 1of 12, 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series

WHEN: Qualifying Thursday, March 15 at 4:45 pm (30 Minutes) Final Qualifying, Friday, March 16 at 9:00 am (30 Minutes) RACE START, Saturday March 17 at 9:10 am (40 Minutes)

WHERE: Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.

WHO: 24 drivers from seven different countries

TELEVISION: ESPN2, April 10 at 5:30 pm EDT

(TX} Drivers who have used the Barber Pro Series as a steppingstone into the world of top level auto racing include: 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner and current CART driver Kenny Brack; 1999 CART PPG Cup Champion and 2000 Indy 500 winner Juan Montoya; seven of the drivers in the current CART Dayton Indy Lights Series field.

All drivers compete in identically prepared single-seat, open-wheel race cars which are owned, maintained and transported by the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

In 1998, world famous racecar manufacturer Reynard Motorsport, was called upon to design an all new carbon-fiber monocoque chassis exclusively for the series. That chassis is mated to an all aluminum 3.5 liter V6 Dodge engine tuned to deliver 265 peak horsepower driven through a six-speed sequential Hewland gearbox. The Reynard Dodge 98E is shod with Michelin Pilot SX racing slicks, marking the French tire giant's competitive North American open-wheel debut.

Races are 40 minutes in duration with points allocated to the top-15 finishers (20 to the winner, then 16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1). A driver's ten best results count toward the championship total. An additional point is awarded to the fastest qualifier.

Barber Dodge Ready for Business

(SEBRING, Fla.) March 13, 2001 -The Barber Dodge Pro Series concluded its final preseason test of 2001 before the series begins in earnest tomorrow. The 12-round Official Professional Entry Level Race Series of CART kicks off in support of the Exxon Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 17 just prior to the once around the clock classic enduro.

Defending Barber-CART Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay, 20 of Boca Raton, Fla. topped the day's times with a quick lap of 2:07.847 sec., averaging 104.187 mph around the full length of Sebring's 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit. All of the Barber Dodge drivers ran two half-hour sessions with the quicker times achieved session being run in the morning. Brazilian Alex Sperafico finished second fastest at 2:08.142 sec. just ahead of Californian Roger Yasukawa and Dutchman Sepp Koster. Yasukawa's best tour of the track stopped the clocks at 2:08.290 sec. with Koster a scant tenth of a second behind at 2:08.328 sec.

Barber-CART Big Scholarship winners Rafael Sperafico and Jon Morley were next up in the order. Morley was the only driver in the Top-10 to record a quicker time in the afternoon session than in the morning edition. Sperafico recorded a best time of 2:08.448 sec. while Morley's afternoon time vaulted him from 11th quick in the morning to sixth quick overall by recording a fast lap at 2:08.586 sec. Both rookies were followeed by another in the form of Japanese driver Akihira Okamoto who lapped at 2:08.823 sec.

Rounding out the Top-10 was second year driver Sara Senske. The Keenewick, Wash. resident recorded her best time as a 2:08.884 sec. lap finishing the day in seventh place. Another rookie, Juan Manuel Polar from Peru was next at 2:09.166 sec while ninth quick was Pennsylvanian Marc Breurs (2:09.625 sec.) and the tenth fastest time went to another Pennsylvanian, Matt Plumb whose best time came in at 2:09.667 sec.

The first official practice for Saturday's race takes place on Wednesday, Mar. 14.

-George Tamayo

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Kenny Brack , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Rafael Sperafico , Sepp Koster , Alex Sperafico , Matt Plumb , Akihira Okamoto , Juan Manuel Polar , Jon Morley