Drivers and team members take home prizes. HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., (September 5, 2002) -- The 2002 version of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship proved to be one of its most competitive and exciting in the 29-year history of the tradition rich...
Drivers and team members take home prizes.
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., (September 5, 2002) -- The 2002 version of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship proved to be one of its most competitive and exciting in the 29-year history of the tradition rich open-wheeled development series. This past Sunday night, the series concluded the season with its annual awards banquet where drivers and team members were rewarded for their outstanding efforts.
Bob Varsha, who manned the Speed Channel booth for CART Toyota Atlantic Championship races this season, was the master of ceremonies. Before passing out the hardware, CART Toyota Atlantic Championship President and CEO, Vicki O'Connor along with CART Vice President of Racing Operations, John Lopes, gave speeches to the guests in attendance in the Adam's Mark Grand Ballroom located in the heart of downtown Denver.
The award recipients included:
BG Products Rookie of the Year: Jon Fogarty -- Dorricott Racing. Fogarty, who also won the overall Championship, clinched the Rookie of the Year title following the Round 11 event in Montreal over Luis Diaz and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The award, which is sponsored by BG Products, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, included a $5,000 cash award. The award was presented by Sherry Huxtable, Dennis Rosson, and Ron Leslie of BG Products, Inc.
Gilles Villeneuve Award: Joey Hand -- DSTP Motorsports. The criteria for this award is that it is presented to the driver who possesses extraordinary ability and that special star quality and who has distinguished himself through sportsmanship, dedication, and perseverance in the face of disappointment. No driver was more deserving of this award than Joey Hand, who missed six races this season after sustaining injuries in a May testing accident at the Milwaukee Mile. After placing a podium in the season opening event in Monterrey, Mexico and following it with the pole at Long Beach, the 2002 Championship contender's hopes were shelved by the testing incident. CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Chief Starter, J.D. Wilbur presented the award.
WorldCom Fast Pace Award: Ryan Hunter-Reay -- Hylton Motorsports. WorldCom presents an award in the amount of $1,000 for the fastest race lap each race. This year, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Luis Diaz, and Michael Valiante all tied with three fastest race laps each. The tie was broken via three runner-up fastest race laps which Hunter-Reay held compared to only one for Diaz and Valiante. CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Official, Barbara Moewes presented the award.
Lincoln Electric Mechanic of the Year: Alex Roberge -- P-1 Racing. The award is in recognition of the driver's most important ally during a race weekend, his mechanic. The award included a Lincoln Electric Square Wave T175 Welding Package. The award was presented by Lincoln Electric Technical Sales Representative, Steve Duren.
Team Owner of the Year: Michael Shank -- Michael Shank Racing. Michael Shank Racing completed their eight year of competition in the Atlantic Championship this season with drivers; Rodolfo Lavin, Sepp Koster, and Ryan Dalziel. Shank competed as a driver in 1995 and 1996 before becoming a full time owner. The award was presented by CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Technical Administrator, Joe Griffin.
BBS Rising Star Award: Ryan Hunter-Reay -- Hylton Motorsports. The award honors an Atlantic driver who has performed in a most competitive fashion and is a star of the future and includes a prize of $3,500. Hunter-Reay won races this season in Laguna Seca, Chicago, and Cleveland along with three poles. Hunter-Reay also led more laps than any other driver along with setting the fastest race lap in three races. The award was presented by BBS of America President, Michael Kaptuch.
Michael Rosen Award: Michael Valiante -- Lynx Racing. This award was instituted by Arlene Rosen, a long-time patron and fan of the Atlantic series and is named in honor of her late son, Michael. It recognizes both dedication and perseverance, as well as the desire to succeed. Valiante led the points Championship most of the season before finishing second in the final standings to Jon Fogarty. Valiante posted wins at Long Beach, Toronto, and Trois-Rivieres. The award was presented by CART Toyota Atlantic Championship President and CEO, Vicki O'Connor.
TRD Engine Builder of the Year: Paul Hasselgren. The award recognizes the engine builder that scored the most Championship points. The total amount of the award is $10,000 in TRD parts credit that is shared among the builders and distributed based upon points earned under the CART Toyota Atlantic Manufactures' Championship. The award was presented by the President of TRD, USA and Vice President of Toyota Motorsports, Jim Aust.
Engineer of the Year: Burke Harrison -- Dorricott Racing. With the technology in racing today and the sophistication of car set-up, the driver's engineer has become one of the most important ingredients to a successful season for a driver and his team. The award was presented by CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Chief Technical Administrator, Greg Schick.
Snap-On/Cam Top Wrench Award: Craig Lawrence -- Dorricott Racing. The award honors the crew chief of the Championship winning team and includes a $3,000 gift certificate from Snap-On Tools. The award was presented by CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Technical Director, Don Preston.
Jovy Marcelo Sportsmanship Award: Rocky Moran Jr. -- Sigma Autosport. The award is named in honor of one of the Atlantic's finest champions, a young man from the Philippines, a true sportsman, family man and racer. The award is given to the driver whose sportsmanship exemplifies this past champion. Rocky Moran Jr., who was on the inaugural CART Toyota Atlantic All-Star team in 2000, finished fifth in this year's Championship took home one win which came in Montreal. The award was presented by Jovy Marcelo's father, Eddie Marcelo.
Top-10 Drivers: Competitors finishing in the top 10 in the final Championship points were honored, with Roger Yasukawa of Hylton Motorsports placing 10th with a points fund bonus of $46,556.15, Rodolfo Lavin with Michael Shank Racing in 9th with a bonus of $48,469.52, Ryan Dalziel with Hylton Motorsports/Michael Shank Racing in 8th with a bonus of $56,760.42, Jonathan Macri with P-1 Racing in 7th with a bonus of $61,224.73, Ryan Hunter-Reay with Hylton Motorsports in 6th with a bonus of $65,051.23, Rocky Moran Jr. with Sigma Autosport in 5th with a bonus of $74,617.63, Luis Diaz with Dorricott Racing in 4th with a bonus of $79,081.95. The awards were presented by CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Communications Supervisor/Promotions Manager, Anne Roy.
Alex Gurney of Dorricott Racing placed 3rd in the Championship and took home a points bonus of $84,184.05. Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing placed 2nd with a bonus of $95,656.71 and the 2002 Champion, Jon Fogarty took home $102,679. Fogarty was also presented with a painting by CART Champ Car starter, Jim Swintal, featuring Fogarty's win at the season opening event in Monterrey, Mexico. All three drivers received their choice of Yokohama passenger performance or light truck tires. Fogarty also won a full set of Yokohama commercial tires for the team's transporter as well as a checkered flag signed by all the series officials. Finally, Fogarty was presented the keys to a brand new Toyota. The awards were presented National Motorsports Manager Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Les Unger and CART Vice President of Racing Operations, John Lopes.
For full results and statistics, visit www.toyotaatlantic.com or www.carttiming.com.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and the top rung on CART's "ladder system", as well as having $100,000 race purses and a one million dollar points fund. It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic Series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani as well as former series champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jacques Villeneuve.