The 12th annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-Out was held on December 27-29 at Sebring International Raceway. According to inside sources, this was the tightest group of competitors in years. Two drivers were awarded top honors: Sage Karam (13) and Court Vernon (16) were both awarded a fully funded season in the Skip Barber National series. The second place drivers also tied, with Dennis Trebing (16) and Nick Andries (18), both winning a funded half-season in the Skip Barber National. The judges either like Florida kids quite a bit or the natives have put in quite a few laps around Sebring while living in the Sunshine State (3 out of the 4 scholarships went to Floridians).
I believe Sage Karam has just become the youngest driver in history to win a fully-funded Skip Barber National ride at the age of 13. Gabby Chaves, who was also 13, won a smaller scholarship, while Alexander Rossi won the big prize at the age of 14. The average age of drivers entered in the shoot-out this year was an astonishing 18, compared to years past. The average age of the scholarship winners' this year is 15.75 years of age.
(LtoR: Nick Andries, Court Vernon, Sage Karam and Dennis Trebing)Sage Karam of Nazareth, PA, has had a very successful career in go-karts, winning both the Stars of Karting East/West titles in Cadet last year. This season saw the 13-year-old make the jump to the ultra competitive Junior ICA class, where he finished 10th nationally.
Court Vernon of Key Biscayne, Florida spent the year running the Skip Barber Eastern Regional series (winning eight races and the championship) along with his karting efforts. He also made an impressive start in a Star Mazda car at Road Atlanta finishing ninth in his first outing.
Dennis Trebing of Cape Coral, Florida didn't start racing until two years ago, when he jumped into a Junior TAG kart and won every race during his inaugural season. Last season, he moved up to the TAG Senior class where he won his first race. Late in 2007, the 16-year-old, made the transition to cars by running a regional Skip Barber race at Sebring where he finished 4th out of 15 drivers on a rain soaked circuit.
Nick Andries of Pinellas Park, Florida began his racing career in karts at the age of 5. He graduated from the Skip Barber 3-Day School at the age of 16 in 2006. This season saw him make the move to cars, running alongside Trebing in the Skip Barber Regional series. He stood on the podium in his first Regional weekend.