DENVER, Colorado (Aug 30, 2003) - Weather was the biggest story in Denver today but the most important thing was it "held off" until final qualifying for Sunday's 11th round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship was complete. ...
DENVER, Colorado (Aug 30, 2003) - Weather was the biggest story in Denver today but the most important thing was it "held off" until final qualifying for Sunday's 11th round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship was complete.
Top-ten times were fast, furious, and competitive but Luis Diaz qualified the Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014a eighth place on the starting grid with a time of 1:07.827 (87.417 mph) around the nine-turn, 1.647-mile street circuit.
A.J. Allmendinger will start from the pole after setting a new track record on top of the record he established in Friday's provisional qualifying session by throwing down a best lap of 1:06.966 (88.540 mph).
Light rain drizzles visited the track throughout the day but a severe thunderstorm struck downtown Denver literally minutes after Atlantic qualifying concluded at 3:30 p.m. (MT). Track officials closed the circuit due to flooding while the downpour lasted nearly 90 minutes. A couple of hours of dry skies followed before thunder, lightning, and heavy rain became so severe that even the second half of the Univ. of Colorado-Colorado State football was delayed for nearly 30 minutes. Lightning strikes were reported within one mile of the track and football stadiums. Both are situated within a couple of miles of each other in downtown Denver.
Saturday's 30-minute morning practice began on schedule at 9:15 a.m. (MT) and Diaz had one of his best sessions this season. In fact, Diaz was the fastest for most of practice before a final lap spin out by Alex Figge caused a full course caution. Diaz was caught off guard as he rounded a corner and approached Figge. Diaz was forced to take evasive action to avoid striking Figge. He struck the wall and suffered minor suspension damage.
Data from the session clearly showed that Diaz was running the session's fastest lap moments before Figge's caution. He finished fourth quickest overall at 1:08.343 (86.757 mph).
Sunday begins with a 15-minute warm-up session beginning at 8:00 a.m. (MT) and concludes with Round 11 of the 12-race 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, which takes the green flag at 10:30 a.m. MT. The scheduled distance of the race is 37 laps (60.939 miles) or 50 minutes, whichever comes first.
Speed Channel will provide a same-day delayed broadcast for the Toyota Atlantic Argent Mortgage Challenge on Sunday, August 31, at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT). An encore telecast is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 5, at 2:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).