Skip Barber National Opens This Weekend

Monday, March 10, 2008 SEBRING, Fla. – The 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda announced its 2008 prize fund, its largest ever. The season champion will be awarded a paid 2009 season in the IMSA-sanctioned Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, valued by MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development at approximately $350,000. In addition, cash prizes totaling $70,000 will be awarded to drivers finishing second through 10th in the final standings.

The Skip Barber National opens March 12 – 15 at Sebring International Raceway supporting the 56th annual Mobil 1 12-Hours of Sebring. A full field of 25 National drivers is expected to kick off the 10th season of North America’s leading entry level open-wheel pro series, now sanctioned by Grand-Am. The National has been the career starter for a host current racing stars including Marco Andretti, A.J. Allmendinger and Scott Speed.

In fact, every Skip Barber National champion since 2003 will be competing at Sebring this weekend…

– The 2003 champion, Raphael Matos, is driving the #8 B-K Motorsports Lola B07/40 Mazda LMP2, partnered with Ben Devlin and the 2005 Skip Barber champion Gerardo Bonilla, the 2007 IMSA Lites champion.

– Andretti, the 2004 Skip Barber National champion, is driving in his first Sebring 12-Hour, partnered with Christian Fittipaldi and Bryan Herta in the #26 AGR Acura ARX-01b LMP2 car. Herta, by the way, was the 1991 Barber Pro Series champion.

– Jonathan Goring, the 2006 Skip Barber titlist, has entered the 2008 IMSA Lites championship and is driving an Elan DP02 prepared by Comprent Motor Sports in the pair of Lites races Thursday and Friday.

– JDC MotorSports, which took Star Mazda series rookie Dane Cameron to the 2007 driver’s title, signed 2007 Skip Barber National champion Joel Miller for 2008. Miller, the first National champion to earn the paid Star Mazda ride, makes his Star Mazda race debut on Friday.

This year there are a number of drivers with Skip Barber National title aspirations. Returning from last year are A.J. Riley (third in the championship and a two-time race winner), Stevan McAleer (fourth, one win), Josef Newgarden (sixth, two wins), Jeff Oleen (eighth, one win), Lee Carpentier (13th) and Fabio Orsolon (14th).

Also expected to be frontrunners are Gabby Chaves, who had third-, sixth- and second-place results in four National starts last year and is the newly crowned 2007-2008 Skip Barber Southern Series champion; Conor Daly, son of 1991 and 1992 Sebring 12-Hour winner Derek Daly; Conner De Phillippi, the winner of last month’s 11th annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out; Nick Tonkin, the recipient of this year’s Snap-on Stars of Karting-Skip Barber scholarship; and Revere Greist, a multi-time Skip Barber Regional champion. Michael DeNino and Hayden Duerson are expected to be quick, too.

Round one of the 14-race 2008 BFgoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda at Sebring International Raceway is Thursday, March 13 at 5:00 p.m.; round two is Friday, March 14 at 6:00 p.m.

Rick Roso

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