The Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff will take place this week at Sebring International Raceway as six aspiring racers vie over $300,000 in scholarships to compete in the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series.

Racers Colin Fleming, Burt Frisselle, Ward Imrie, Scott Poirier, Al Unser and Robbie Montinola will participate in two days of intensive evaluation on and off track to secure the top scholarship valued at $100,000.

The Barber-CART Scholarship has been the launching pad for the careers of drivers such as Michael Valiante and Ryan Hunter-Reay, both of whom will join an illustrious panel of judges that includes Bobby Rahal, Chris Kneifel and Tommy Kendall.

The Runoff will utilize the same format as in previous years to determine the most worthy winner but will differ from years past in the awards structure. The 2002 Runoff will see all the participating drivers benefit from the expanded scholarship program for the 2003 season, as each will take home from $100,000 to $30,000 of funding towards racing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

This revised structure provides funding to more drivers than ever before in the long history of the only scholarship program of its kind.

The drivers will participate in a session with Human Performance International on the first day of the Runoff and then spend two days testing and qualifying the Barber Dodge Reynard 98E as well as participating in mock interviews with the assembled judging panel. The judging will be difficult, as each of the drivers bring heaps of talent to the competition, but the judging staff is more than up to the challenge.

Along with the aforementioned judges a bevy of racing insiders, including Barber Dodge Pro Series Lead Engineer Louis D'Agostino, former Managing Director Jeremy Dale, journalists Jeremy Shaw and Gordon Kirby, Barber Dodge Coaches Peter Argetsinger, Jim Pace, David Loring, Richard Spenard, Barry Waddell, and Barber Dodge Pro Series Test Drivers Rod McLeod and Oswaldo Negri along with Skip Barber Marketing Director George Tamayo will have the difficult task of sorting the young drivers out.

The competition will be extremely close as the crop of drivers is among the best to have participated in the program, with drivers arriving at the event with plenty of previous championships and accolades already on their racing resumes.

Colin Fleming, of North Hills, Calif, placed sixth in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship after winning the 2002 Skip Barber Karting Scholarship. A factory driver for the Paul Tracy Karting Team and a karting veteran, Fleming has raced karts in the I.K.F, W.K.A., and S.K.U.S.A. as well as the Rotax Max series.

Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, finished fifth in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship in 2002 and was the Rookie of the Year in the 2001 Western Series with multiple wins to his credit. Frisselle raced in three Pro Series races during the 2002 season with an eye toward a full season effort in 2003.

Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, came in fourth in the season standings in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship in 2002 and was a 2002 Karting Scholarship Winner after winning the WKA Manufacturers Cup Championship in 2000 and 2001.

Robbie Montinola of Laguna Niguel, CA placed eighth in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship and was selected as the "Most Improved Racer" in the 2002 Skip Barber Western Race Series as well as being the Champion with nine wins and thirteen podium finishes. Montinola has been testing a Pro Series car in advance of the Shootout to prepare himself for the competition.

Scott Poirier of Deerfield Beach, FL was the runner-up in the 2002 the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship with three wins on the season. Poirer also competed a limited schedule in the 2001 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship after taking his first win in the 2001 Skip Barber Eastern Race Series and was also the Rookie of the Year in the 2001 Skip Barber Southern Race Series. Poirer was selected as a participant in the Red Bull Driver Search and also has extensive karting success as well.

Al Unser of Corrales, NM placed seventh in Formula Dodge National Championship in 2002 with a podium finish to his credit and was the Rookie of the Year in the 2002 Skip Barber Western Race Series with six wins and nine podium finishes.

The young drivers are all looking forward to proving their talent this week in Sebring, and are each hoping to get an early Christmas gift this year in the form of significant support from the Barber-CART Scholarship.