$100,000 Award Set for 2005 Champion

Friday, February 11, 2005 LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Skip Barber Racing will again award the champion of its Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER a cash prize of $100,000, a dollar amount designed to significantly assist the driver on his/her next career step, as 2004 Skip Barber National champion Marco Andretti has done.

”We are really pleased to continue the long Skip Barber Racing tradition of truly helping drivers climb the motorsports ladder,” said Divina Galica, senior vice president of racing. ”The Skip Barber culture has always fostered the career growth of young, dedicated racers. Practically every starting grid you can name has talented drivers from our system.”

Second-year man Matt Varsha, here getting feedback from Todd Snyder, series managing director, is one of this year’s leading title contenders for the National. Varsha is running the 2004-2005 Southern Regional championship (he’s the points leader) and won both of his group’s races at Road Atlanta last month.

The National field is typically an interesting mix of drivers: upper echelon karters ready to compete in their first auto racing series; top drivers from the Skip Barber Regional Series; plus quick competitors from Jim Russell, the SCCA and various European series. The National’s seasonal cost is well under $50,000.

Young drivers are attracted to the Skip Barber National’s well-earned reputation, equal-car format, comprehensive coaching, and the opportunity to compete in a car with wings, slicks and a sequential gearbox. ”Plus, we have the leverage to schedule great tracks and venues,” said Todd Snyder, series managing director. ”We’re racing on the tracks the drivers need experience on as they head up the ladder.”

Marco Andretti, the 2004 National champion, came to visit at Road Atlanta. He’s using his $100,000 for a 2005 Star Mazda campaign.

Skip Barber’s regional and national open-wheel series are where Bryan Herta, A.J. Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Antonio Pizzonia, Juan Pablo Montoya and dozens of other racing stars began their auto racing careers. Andretti will be using his $100,000 to help fund his 2005 Star Mazda campaign with MJ Motorsports.

In addition to the $100,000 cash prize to the champion, new for this year is per-race prize money: $2,500 for first, $1,250 for second, and $1,000, $750 and $500 for third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Since 1999, Skip Barber Racing has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships and prize money to young, deserving racing talent.

The 2005 season will again be a seven-weekend, 14-race series; the $184,000 Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER opens mid-March at the Mobil 1 12-Hours of Sebring.

For the season opener at the Sebring 12-Hour next month, take these two cars and multiply by at least 12…

Photos by Ricky Lusso

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