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Skip Barber Racing School
The contenders at the
inaugural Skip Barber
Shootout came from
but had one common
dream – pro racing.
enthusiastic support and tough love saw
most drivers knock 2-3sec off their times
over the three-day program.
Are any of the 33 destined to follow in
Fangio’s footsteps? As with any collection
of wannabe racers, the odds are long, but
who knows? Although there was but one
winner, all were delighted just to participate.
(“Our first – and possibly last – three days as
sponsored drivers,” quipped Baker). Some
were crushed to find themselves well off
the pace, others were inspired to do
whatever it takes to pursue a racing
career, and still more left enthused, yet
pragmatic – like construction worker
Michai Stephens, fourth in the rankings.
This was not Shootout winner Andre
Gomes’ first rodeo. Previously, he’d
been in the running for iRacing.com’s
ride in the SCCA VW Jetta TDi Cup and
a deal with Nissan via the Playstation
Academy. Neither had worked out, so
Gomes was leaving nothing on the table
at Sebring. Not only did he turn the
fastest time in each of his four sessions,
his average lap time in one session was
faster than any other driver’s best lap.
“There are no second prizes,” said the
25-year-old computer technician (at
right, BELOW). “If you don’t win, you’re
not going to be racing. I had to win.”
The Skip Barber instructors were not
alone in noticing his sense of purpose.
“Did you see that?” Bryan Herta
grinned as Gomes roared past on an
out lap. “The kid’s on it from the word
go. That’s what it takes. The moment
you get in a racecar, you have to
have the killer instinct.”
Skip Barber Racing graduate Neil Alberico got off to a fast start
in his quest for the Cooper Tires USF2000 crown, dominating
its winter mini-series at Sebring and West Palm Beach. The Cape
Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing racer won five of the six
events, while teammate Scott Hargrove kept the pressure on by
winning the other race and never finishing outside the top three.