Junior Open Wheel Talent

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Jim Russell Championship Becomes "Race of Champions"

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted May 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm open wheel racing news

The 2010 Jim Russell Championship will be replaced by a new championship entitled the “Race of Champions.”  Due to lagging entries, the Jim Russell organization has decided to cancel the Jim Russell Championship and offer its 2009 award winners a different opportunity in 2010.

Brett Smrz, Nick Galante, Greg Liefooghe, Aleksander Altberg, Gary Carlton and Alex Ellis will all compete in the 2010 Jim Russell Race of Champions.  The points champion after six events will be awarded an Indy Lights test and entry into the Indy Lights Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway.

Smrz was the 2009 Jim Russell Champion, Galante won the 2009 Jim Russell Masters division, Liefooghe finished 2nd in the 2009 championship, Altberg earned the 2009 Rookie of the Year honor, Carlton and Ellis were the top picks in the 2009 Jim Russell Driver Search.

All races will be run at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.  The current schedule will consist of two events on June 12, July 9, and August 6, totaling six races.  The Carneros 100 Indy Lights race will take place at Infineon on August 22.

It’s really too bad that the 2010 Jim Russell Championship didn’t work out but I’m glad the organizers decided to still give their 2009 award winners a chance to race in 2010, rather than just abandoning them and the scholarship promises.  A one-off in an Indy Lights car is quite a bit different than the original promise of a fully-funded ride in the 2011 FIA Formula 2 Championship but at least it’s something.  The 2010 champion will have plenty of seat time at Infineon by August 22 – which should prove extremely beneficial for their Indy Lights debut.


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