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New Year Begins With US Skeleton National Champs


By Sasha Manuel on December 30th, 2007

New Year Begins with U.S. Skeleton National Championships, etc.

Lake Placid, N.Y.--The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Team will begin the new year at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y. with the U.S. Skeleton National Championships and the 3rd Annual Chevy Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering.

U.S. Skeleton National Championships will take place on Jan. 2, with the Chevy Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering, on Jan. 3-5.

The 2008 National Champion will be decided in a two-heat race format, with the lowest combined time determining the winner in both the men's and women's field. Competition will take place on Wednesday from 10:15 am- 12:15 pm.

Top competitors to watch will be current World Cup leader and four-time National Champion Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.), who shaved 0.31 seconds off the track record for the gold medal in the men's skeleton World Cup competition in Lake Placid on Dec. 14.

Bernotas will battle World Cup athlete Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) for the national title. Smith won the World Cup silver medal in Lake Placid during the 2006-07 season, and will be eager to claim gold on his home track.

Other athletes vying for the title will be Intercontinental Cup (IC) slider Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wis.), who was the previous track-record holder in Lake Placid. Kyle Tress (Trenton, N.J.) has proven himself on the IC as one of the fastest push athletes in the world, adding to the competitive men's field.

Athletes in the mix for the title in the women's competition will be rookie World Cup athlete Annie O'Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.), and IC sliders Keslie Tomlinson (Potomac Falls, Va.) and Rebecca Sorensen (Fort Collins, Colo.).

O'Shea made a statement in her first-ever World Cup competition in Calgary, Alberta by placing tenth, and finished the first half of the 2007-08 season ranked 11th in World Cup points. Tomlinson is currently ranked seventh in IC standings, just 20 points from the top six. Sorensen, who once held the track record in Lake Placid, will look to reclaim the fastest time on the 19-curve track in search of her first national title.

The 3rd Annual Chevy Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering, will follow the U.S. Skeleton National Championships, taking place January 3-5 at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid.

Racecar divers will once again trade their steering wheels for the D-rings of modified bobsleds, navigating their way down the icy chute of the 2009 World Championship track as a fundraiser for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which builds Made in America bobsleds for the U.S. team.

Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine became interested in helping the U.S. Bobsled Team after watching the 1992 Winter Olympics, where American athletes competed in foreign made sleds. Dedicated to building Made in America sleds with NASCAR technology, Bodine teamed with Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to build the most technologically advanced sleds in the world.

Bodine and Cuneo founded the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which has since resulted in four Olympic medals, including one gold in women's bobsled at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, 17 World Cup medals in the 2006-07 season, and two overall World Cup titles.

The racecar drivers will compete in two races during the Chevy Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering. Each race will consist of two heats, with the lowest combined time determining the winner. The first competition of the event will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Jan. 20 from 12-2 pm, while the second race will air on Jan. 27 from 2-4 pm.

Fans will have a chance to meet their favorite drivers during an autograph session and Live Auction, scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 5 between races at the Olympic Sports Complex.

Sled sponsors for this year's event include: Whelen Engineering, Lumber Liquidators, Lucas Oil, PPG, Racing Electronics and Yamaha. To find out how you can contribute to the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., or become a future Geoff Bodine Challenge sponsor, please visit www.bodynbobsled.com for additional information.

This week's schedule of events is as follows, with all times listed in EST:

Wednesday, January 2
10:15-12:15 U.S. Skeleton National Championships

Thursday, January 3
10:00-1:00 Lake Placid Bobsled Experience Public Rides
2:30 Geoff Bodine Challenge Practice Session
4:00 Gates Close

Friday, January 4
9:00 Gates Open
9:30 Bodine Bobsled Challenge Practice Session
2:30 Bodine Bobsled Challenge Qualifying
4:00 Gates Close
6:30 Dinner and Silent Auction at Crowne Plaza

Saturday, January 5
8:00 Gates Open / Fan Zone Opens / Food Court Opens
9:45 Pre-Race Ceremonies
10:00 Bodine Bobsled Challenge Race 1
12:00 Victory Lane Celebration / Autograph Session / Live Auction
1:45 Pre-Race Ceremonies
2:00 Bodine Bobsled Challenge Race 2
3:30 Victory Lane Celebration
4:00 Gates Close

Sunday, January 6
10:00 Lake Placid Bobsled Experience Public Rides

About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation

The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.

Author: Amanda Bird
Organization: U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation

ENDS

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