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Stars of tomorrow practice gets underway

11/3/00


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Competition in the Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow inaugural karting challenge began today with practice sessions for all classes on the 13-turn, 7/8-mile road course at the Las Vegas Karting Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Karters from across the United States as well as Canada, Sweden and Holland comprise over 200 entries received for the five classes -- Junior Superbox, Junior 80cc Gearbox, Pro Superbox, Pro 80 Gearbox and Pro 125 Gearbox -- which are vying for a host of awards including the prestigious Stars of Tomorrow title. 

"I am extremely pleased with the fantastic turnout from the karting community," said event founder Bryan Herta. "I can tell by the quality of the field we attracted that qualifying and the races on Sunday are going to be extremely close. Whoever the winners are, they should be very proud of their accomplishment because they are really racing with some of the best. 

"I am also very satisfied that we have been able, with the support of CART and our sponsors, to provide some real exposure for these young, up-and-coming drivers. I am looking forward to the program growing and getting stronger in the future." 

"It's a great opportunity for our team and our three drivers," said Charlotte Hellberg, co-owner of the Swedish-based PDB Racing Team. "The only problem is that they don't run this class (junior superbox) in Europe, so we're having to adapt our karts to these rules." 

Members of the judging panel, including Paul Tracy, Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Richie Hearn and Casey Mears, were on hand to check on the competition and take a few laps in preparation for the Stars of Today feature on Sunday. 

"We're running five guys here this weekend," said Tracy, co-owner of Paul Tracy Kart Racing. "I'm just trying to help these guys out a little bit. I've been involved in karting my whole life and this is one way I can give back to the sport that helped me. I'm just trying to help them with their careers, introduce them to some of the right people and give them a kick-start." 

In keeping with the structure of a Champ Car race weekend, qualifying for all classes with be held tomorrow followed by a warmup session and the feature races on Sunday. 

Five drivers from the senior classes will be awarded the Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow title, and receive a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School culminating in a test in the Team Rahal Champ Car. 

The top-three participants in the Junior Superbox Class, consisting of drivers from 12 to 15 years of age, will be awarded a 125cc Gearbox Driving School and a test with one of the top Gearbox teams in North America -- Paul Tracy Kart Racing. 

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