Lee Runs Fifth for More Than a Third Of Sunday's Atlantic Race in Cleveland CLEVELAND, Ohio, June 25 - There were a lot of positives about Matt Lee's weekend competing in the Champ Car Atlantic series at Burke Lakefront Airport here. The teen...
Lee Runs Fifth for More Than a Third Of Sunday's Atlantic Race in Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Ohio, June 25 - There were a lot of positives about Matt Lee's weekend competing in the Champ Car Atlantic series at Burke Lakefront Airport here.
The teen from Syosset, N.Y. qualified seventh for the race with his Conquest Racing/Integrated Structures No. 44, which was his best starting spot since the race in Houston in April, when he qualified fifth.
Lee absolutely nailed the standing start of Sunday's race. He passed Jonathan Bomarito for one position on the first lap and got another spot when James Hinchcliffe went off course in Turn 4. That put Lee in fifth place by the end of lap one, and he stayed in that spot for 15 laps of the 42-lap race. During that time he was holding Bomarito at bay while trying to pass his own teammate, Giacomo Ricci, who went on to finish fourth.
Unfortunately Lee's hopes for a top-five finish were dashed on lap 15 due to contact with Adrien Herberts' lapped car in Turn 1. Herberts had been running next to last at the time.
"I got run into," Lee said afterwards. "It bent my steering. I pitted and the crew fixed it. I went back out, and the car was fast again."
Although he lost a lap due to the pit stop, Lee started over from the rear at the restart on lap 19. He passed Frankie Muniz, Bret MacDonald and John Edwards right off the bat. He then set his sights on Brian Thienes, but he couldn't advance any further because of the lost lap. He ended up 18th in the final rundown.
"I had a real hard charge after I came back out," Lee said. "I managed to pass a lot of guys. If I wasn't a lap down because of the pit stop, I would have been 11th.
"The car was good," he added. "Before the problem with the lapped car, I was catching the cars ahead of me.
"The whole team is doing better," he noted. "Qualifying was better, and being able to run in the top five gives us all added confidence going into Mont-Tremblant."
The next race is coming right up June 30-July 1 in picturesque Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. That race will be shown on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, July 6.
Sunday's race at Cleveland will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Wednesday, July 4 at 6 p.m. ET. The race was shown live on ESPN360.com.