CORONA, Calif. (July 7, 1998) - Looking to ride a wave of momentum following a seventh place finish at Montreal one race ago, the PDR/Water Joe Racing team and driver Michael Todd David are looking to continue a string of top-10 road...
CORONA, Calif. (July 7, 1998) - Looking to ride a wave of momentum following a seventh place finish at Montreal one race ago, the PDR/Water Joe Racing team and driver Michael Todd David are looking to continue a string of top-10 road racing successes when round six of the 13-race KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship unfolds in the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, Saturday, July 11.
The 30-lap/63.18-mile Atlantic race around Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport's 2.106-mile, 10-turn temporary road circuit is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. ET. This is the second appearance of the Atlantic series at Cleveland, and is a featured support event for the CART FedEx Champ car race the following day.
David has scored top-10 finishes in each of his last three road course events including fourth place at last year's season finale at Laguna Seca, and sixth place at Long Beach this year.
At Montreal, David craftily maneuvered the Water Joe Racing Ralt RT-41 through the 35-car field from its 18th place starting position. After disappointing races at St. Louis and Milwaukee in which incidents initiated by other drivers forced early retirements for David, Montreal provided a confidence building finish to preface Cleveland.
"Cleveland is a crucial race for us," David explained. "The changes penalizing the Ralt have proven to be a major factor in the last few races. Adding the plank really effected the way the car handled. It's taken time adjusting to the new aerodynamics or lack of them. It's important that I feel comfortable in the car and have a high level of confidence in how it responds to me as a driver. The car suffered serious damage in May's two oval events. I'm glad we had a few weeks off so we could do a major overhaul on the car."
The PDR/Water Joe Racing Team also took full advantage of the break in the schedule to test their new Swift 008.a chassis, but have no immediate plans to compete with it.
"I'd expect to see more teams switching to the Swift as the season progresses," crew chief Scott Gelvin noted. "More teams and drivers are getting the test time needed to make the change. We've had time to work and test both cars now. Michael is still finding the Ralt a little quicker and more responsive than the Swift. You also have to consider he is one of the bigger guys so he feels a lot more comfortable in the Ralt."
"We had a successful test with the Swift last week and didn't encounter any problems with the car." David added. "I found the cockpit a little more confined than what I'm used to, there's more room for my legs and hips but it's much tighter on the shoulders giving me less room to move my arms. "
"It's tough to justify running the Swift," team manager Mike David Sr. said. "There are still reliability, safety and cost issues to resolve. Getting Michael more seat time in the car takes time and also puts a strain on our budget. From an economic standpoint, were going to run the Ralt as long as it makes sense to do so."
ESPN2 will telecast the Cleveland Atlantic race on Saturday, July 19, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.. PT).