SBRS: Sebring preview

Twenty-six racers are preparing for first-round action in the 2001 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER this weekend at Sebring International Raceway. Elevating the profile of the series was an off-season move that resulted in...

Twenty-six racers are preparing for first-round action in the 2001 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER this weekend at Sebring International Raceway. Elevating the profile of the series was an off-season move that resulted in the Formula Dodge National Championship being tapped to be the Official Amateur National Championship of CART.

The densely packed field will include nine returning drivers, four Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winners and some of the brightest and quickest young talent in North America. Returning to contest a second season are Kevin Christensen, Damian Della-Santina, Dan DiLeo, Craig Duerson, Leonard Maia, Juan Manuel Polar, Scott Presti, Tophie Stewart and Landon Yee. The Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winners, A.J. Allmendinger, Tommy Contino, James Gue and Ben Moore, represent the four most deserving karters selected in the Barber-CART Karting Scholarship Runoff. Each earned a fully-funded season to contest the Formula Dodge National Championship, a cumulative value package worth over $160,000.

As originally intended, the series will contribute to the health and prosperity of American open-wheel racing with driver development to remain its focus. Grouping these talented racers fosters competition and ultimately raises each driver's game. Entering its second year of action, the identically prepared Formula Dodge R/T 2000 will run with wings, slicks and a five-speed sequential gearbox. Drivers will make their statement with raw talent. It is competition at its purest form throughout the 13 round series.

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

All racers are eyeing the top prize to be awarded at season's end. The winner receives the Formula Dodge National Championship Barber- CART Scholarship, a fully-funded season to contest the subsequent Barber Dodge Pro Series, a value estimated at over $185,000.

- Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers James Gue , A.J. Allmendinger , Skip Barber , Craig Duerson , Juan Manuel Polar