MADISON, ILL. (September 16, 2000) -- Case Montgomery won his third career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race Saturday, while Buddy Rice clinched the 2000 championship on the 1.270 mile oval at Gateway International Raceway in Madison,...
MADISON, ILL. (September 16, 2000) -- Case Montgomery won his third career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race Saturday, while Buddy Rice clinched the 2000 championship on the 1.270 mile oval at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Montgomery, who has been filling in at World Speed Motorsports since Laguna Seca last weekend, started from the pole and led for 36 of the 50 green flag lap thriller, setting a new track race lap record of 30.086 (151.964 mph), bettering the 30.320 (150.792 mph) set here by Anthony Lazzaro and David Rutledge last year.
"There is absolutely no feeling like winning," exclaimed an exuberant Montgomery. "My car was tremendous and Mike Doyle and the boys at World Speed Motorsports did a perfect job. It was great dicing with Buddy Rice in the early laps. He would pass me in the turn one and I'd pass him back in turn three. After that, I was just hoping for a green race so I wouldn't lose my lead. I have so many people to thank, especially those that believed in me and never gave up on me."
Rice, who finished second, needed to earn just eight points more than rookie Daniel Wheldon in order to secure the championship prior to the season finale in Houston. He scored 10 more than Wheldon, enough to win his first Atlantic championship. Wheldon finished the race seventh.
"This is definitely the highlight of my career so far," said Rice. "To clinch the championship with one race to go shows just how strong the DSTP team has been all year. We came here with every intention of winning the race, but it feels just as good to win the championship with a solid second place today. We had a small intermittent electrical problem that acted like a rev limiter every now and then. It eventually wasn't as bad as at the start, but by then it had allowed Case to open up a lead and Rocky and Martin to catch up. I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to make it through the race. We had an awesome set up, though. The last eight laps I took completely flat out and got back by Rocky and Martin. This was one of the best races all year and it seemed like we were swapping positions every lap. Rocky, Martin and Case all ran clean and did a great job. It's been a terrific season. We've finished on the podium in every race we've completed and I think that was the key to the championship. Now, we can go to Houston with the championship behind us and focus on winning the season finale."
Argentinean Martin Basso finished third, and now trails Wheldon for rookie of the year honors 147 - 129.
"At the start, Case (Montgomery) pushed me out between Turns One and Two and I lost a few positions," said Basso. "But I came back and got Rocky (Moran) and Buddy (Rice) in Turn three. The car felt good. It was good in traffic, but slower when I was alone. I was happy to finish third. I'll try to win in Houston."
Montgomery picked up his first Atlantic $1,000 "Toyota Pole Award" of the season for posting the fastest qualifying time of 30.764 (148.615 mph) and also earned the $1,000 MCI WorldCom "Fast Pace" award for recording the fastest race lap of 30.086 (151.964 mph).
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship moves to Houston, Texas for the season finale on October 1.
MADISON ILL.-- The results from Saturday's 50-lap, 63.5 mile CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race number 11, at Gateway International Raceway, with finishing position,starting position in parentheses, driver, laps and reason out. 1. (1), Case Montgomery, 50, Running. 2. (3), Buddy Rice, 50, Running. 3. (2), Martin Basso (R), 50, Running. 4. (6), Rocky Moran Jr., 50, Running. 5. (8), Akihiro Asai (R), 50, Running. 6. (7), Andrew Bordin, 50, Running. 7. (4), Daniel Wheldon (R), 50, Running. 8. (10), Hoover Orsi (R), 50, Running. 9. (13), Frederic Gosparini (R), 50, Running. 10. (15), Bob Perona,50, Running. 11. (14), T.J. Bell (R), 49, Running. 12. (5), David Rutledge, 49, Running. 13. (16), William Langhorne, 49, Running. 14. (11), Mike Conte, 49, Running. 15. (12), David Cutler, 49, Running. 16. (9), Masaoki Nagashima, 49, Running. 17. (17), Christophe Beauvais, 48, Running. 18. (18), Alex Gurney, 9, Mech.
Total Laps: 50 Race Distance: 63.5 miles Time of Race: 25:38.83 Average Speed: 148.554 Margin of Victory: 8.965 Seconds Fast Lap By: # 14 Case Montgomery 30.086 New Race Lap Record
Leader Laps Car From To Total 27 1 5 5 14 6 12 7 27 13 14 2 14 15 50 36
Caution Periods - 0