Barrett Seeks Championship Glory at the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires
WAYNE, N.J, (Sept. 27, 2007) - After a lengthy break in the action, the hard-fought Pacific F2000 Championship resumes this weekend with a pair of races on the scenic and immensely challenging Infineon Raceway, near Sonoma, Calif. The Hankook Ventus F200 is the spec tire for this series.
Although he hasn’t competed since the last two Pacific F2000 races in July, Patrick Barrett still holds a commanding lead in the point standings after eight of this season’s 12 races. Since his last race, Barrett celebrated his 18th birthday on Aug. 30 and passed the state driving test (so he is now legally able to drive on the open roads). In addition to being selected as one of the two 2007 Team USA Scholarship winners, Barrett will follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice and A.J. Allmendinger when he carries the patriotic red-white-and-blue colors at the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy in England later this fall. But Barrett is currently focused on clinching the Pacific F2000 title - on a track where he dominated the Formula Russell Championship last season.
"This race should be one of the more challenging weekends of the season," said Barrett, who has claimed five wins and three runner-up finishes this year aboard PR1 Motorsports’ #3 Jim Russell Racing/Alpinestars Van Diemen. "The elevation changes and fast sweeping corners make the Infineon Raceway really test the driver’s abilities and the car’s endurance."
Among Barrett’s challengers will be his PR1 Motorsports teammate Thomas Merrill. This 21-year old from Salinas, Calif. scored a beautifully judged first-ever professional victory last time at the demanding Miller Motorsports Park. Merrill further boosted his confidence by posting the fastest time during a well-attended test session in Wine Country last week.
"Infineon Raceway is one of my favorite places to race," declared Merrill, who currently lies second in the point standings - and best-placed of the rookies - with the #81 Merrill Farms/Smith & Hook Wineries/Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle Van Diemen. "It is very much a driver’s track and produces great racing. The track rewards consistent, smooth driving; over-driving there is easy to do and is very hard on tires."
Another contender with a point to prove is Chuck Hulse, who hails from Yorba Linda, California and has enjoyed extensive success at Infineon Raceway with the Jim Russell School. Unlike Merrill and Barrett, Hulse isn’t a youngster seeking to make a career out of racing. However at 54 years old, Hulse is an accomplished businessman who has racing in his blood. His father, Chuck Sr., contested four Indianapolis 500s in the 1960s, including a seventh-place finish in 1967. Hulse Jr. has won the Masters division (for drivers 51 years and older) six times already this year and now has his sights set on a first win after finishing a fine second in Utah with Team G.FRO’s #19 Silicon Salvage Van Diemen.
The National Auto Sport Association’s race weekend will be comprised of a practice and a qualifying session as well as a 30-minute race on both Saturday and Sunday on one of this nation’s premier road courses. For more details on the Pacific F2000 Championship, please visit www.pacificf2000.com.
About Hankook Tire America Corp.
Headquartered in Wayne, N.J., Hankook Tire America Corp. is a technology-focused, market-driven company that supports motorsports enthusiasts and racers at all levels. Hankook is known and respected around the world for its superior competition tires that outlast the toughest opposition. Hankook remains at the forefront of performance tire development to achieve cutting-edge results. As Hankook expands its motorsports activities, the focus will remain on technology that will keep Hankook-equipped vehicles in the winners circle. Hankook is one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world, manufacturing a wide range of tires for almost any vehicle. For more information please visit Hankook Tires on the web at www.hankooktireusa.com.