Kool\Toyota Atlantic Championship Returns to Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Presents Saturday Feature Race CLEVELAND, Ohio, July 9, 1998 - Round Six of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic...
Kool\Toyota Atlantic Championship Returns to Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Presents Saturday Feature Race
CLEVELAND, Ohio, July 9, 1998 - Round Six of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship at Cleveland will serve as a "re-start" for drivers and teams after a five-week rest period that started in early June. The "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Presents the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship" on Saturday at the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Star Bank will be the first series race since June 6 at Montreal, and just the second-ever race at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport course. Saturday's 30-lap/71.01-mile Atlantic race is set to start at 3 p.m., immediately following the CART FedEx Championship Series qualifying. The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will practice on Friday at 5:05 p.m., with qualifying in two sessions on Saturday. The first qualifying session will begin at 8 a.m., with final qualifying at 11:25 a.m. on Saturday.
One of the drivers who is well-rested and prepared for Saturday's race is John Rutherford, son of three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford. With sponsorship from Cleveland-based Parker-Hannifin, John Rutherford has focused a little more on this event, although he said he isn't feeling any undue pressure here.
"It's definitely exciting to be racing for the 'home team,' so to speak," Rutherford said. "Having Parker-Hannifin based in Cleveland will be nice because we'll be competing for our usual set of fans, plus all of the people at Parker-Hannifin coming out to the race. But, competitively, we won't be racing much differently at Cleveland. We're going to put our best foot forward. We're aiming to finish up front, but we'll run the best we can and hopefully that's good enough when it's all said and done."
Memo Gidley, of Novato, Calif., heads this year's Atlantic cast at Cleveland, winning three of the first five races to lead the drivers' points with 74, piloting the Lynx Racing #19 Swift 008.a. Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., is in second place in his B.D.J.S. - Millennium Data Systems #2 Swift 008a., just four points behind Gidley at 70. For local flair, Cleveland's Ted Sahley will be racing in front of friends and family, in the Olsson Engineering - Comfort Inn #71 Swift 008.a.
Last year at Cleveland, Player's-Forsythe driver Bertrand Godin led all 22 laps to record his second victory of the season. Case Montgomery finished second while Lynx Racing's Alex Barron, who has graduated to CART and will compete in Sunday's Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, was third.
The $1.3 million KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship is the richest open-wheel development series in North America, noted for its long history of graduating its stars directly into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART stars Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier and Barron, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
Saturday's Atlantic race will be broadcast the following Sunday, July 19, on ESPN2 and ESPN International at 3:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on ESPN2 on August 9, August 13 and November 23. CTV will broadcast the race in Canada on Saturday, July 18, at 4 p.m. All times are Eastern. Round 7 of the 1998 KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship is scheduled for Saturday, July 18, at the Molson Indy Toronto.