(submitted by Peter Frey, Lynx Racing) 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Champion Alex Barron Has His First CART PPG Test With Arciero/Wells and Turns Competitive Lap Times Early BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. (Sept. 16, 1997) -- Lynx Racing driver...
(submitted by Peter Frey, Lynx Racing)
1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Champion Alex Barron Has His First CART PPG Test With Arciero/Wells and Turns Competitive Lap Times Early
BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. (Sept. 16, 1997) -- Lynx Racing driver Alex Barron, the phenomenal rookie who dominated the 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship with a record of five wins, four poles and six fastest lap, impressed observers today during his first test in the Arciero-Wells/MCI Racing Toyota RV8/B Reynard 971 at Buttonwillow Raceway near Bakersfield, California.
Barron received the test as part of his prize for winning the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, and he took full advantage of it, working closely with the Arciero-Wells team during the 50-lap test session. "I think it really speaks highly of the Lynx Racing program and what I learned there that I was able to come in and feel comfortable in the car immediately and be able to get down to some reasonable times within the first twenty laps," said Barron. "The car is a gas to drive, and the biggest and most immediate thing for me to get used to is the sheer size of the car compared to an Atlantic. With the longer wheelbase, it takes much longer to get it back under control if the back end steps out on you, and it took me a few laps to get used to how powerful the brakes are. And the acceleration is everything I=92ve fantasized about. The Arciero-Wells crew was extremely knowledgeable and professional, and I want to thank them, and everyone else involved, for helping me fulfill a dream I've been following all of my life."
Barron had an early and brilliant career in karting, willing multiple national championships before switching to cars. He ran with the Lynx-affiliated DSTP Motorsports team in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Championship during the 1996 season, and moved up to the Lynx Atlantic team for 1997.
"I think Alex adapted extremely well to the Indy Car," says Arciero-Wells Team Manager Richard Buck. "I was pleasantly surprised. Not only with he speed he showed, but with his calmness throughout the day. I consider Alex a thinker. He has a very bright future in front of him. Today in Indy cars, there are a lot of fast guys, but it takes a thinking man as well as being fast. He exhibited that today. I'm extremely happy with him." Gordon Coppuck, Technical Director for Arciero-Wells Racing, holds a similarly upbeat view.
"Alex adapted to the car incredibly fast. Within 20 laps he's turning times within a second of what Max Papis turned in our setup day yesterday. Alex seems to be able to slow things down mentally, to be able to take time to notice what every part of the car is doing, even while he's in the middle of turning a very competitive lap. And that's a quality you always find in the very best drivers."
Patrick Carpentier, who won the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship with Lynx Racing in 1996, tested the MCI car at Buttowillow two days before testing with, and winning the seat at, the Alumax/ Bettenhausen PPG CART team. With one race remaining in the 1997 PPG CART World Series season, he holds a commanding lead in the battle for "Rookie of the Year" honors.
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