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THE CART TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP Round 12 September 29 - October 1, 2000 Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston Houston, Texas (September 27, 2000) -- The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship moves to Texas for the season finale this...

THE CART TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 12
September 29 - October 1,
2000 Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston
Houston, Texas

(September 27, 2000) -- The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship moves to Texas for the season finale this weekend, part of the Texaco Havoline Grand Prix being held on the 1.527 mile temporary street course in downtown Houston. Sunday's 43-lap Atlantic sprint race is one of two CART ladder system support races on the weekend schedule, and is slated to begin at 9:40 a.m. local time.

Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports/Swift 008.a) clinched this season's Championship two weeks ago, and is looking at Houston as an opportunity to add a sixth season race win to his title. Rice secured the 2000 title after marking a second place finish at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, and earning enough points to edge out his nearest competitor, rookie Daniel Wheldon (PPI Motorsports/Jayhard Products/Swift 008.a). Rice heads into Houston with 171 points -- five wins, nine podiums, two poles and six fastest race laps. He has led a total of 17 times for 222 of the 428 race laps run in 2000.

Rice's Championship thrill was perhaps hardest felt by top Rookie of the Year contender Wheldon, who had hoped for a strong enough showing at Gateway to challenge Rice through Round 12. However a series of difficulties plagued the young Brit through the Gateway race, and he was forced to settle for a seventh place finish, a mere two positions short of staying in the championship race through this weekend.

Wheldon is expected to secure Rookie of the Year honors this weekend. Mathematically however, there are just 18 points between him and Argentinean Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valve/Swift 008.a) and, should Basso win the race and Wheldon finish out of the points, Basso would claim the rookie prize.

<pre> TOP TEN

Pos.  Driver Pts
1     Buddy Rice                171*
2     Daniel Wheldon (R)        147
3     Martin Basso (R)          129
4     Andrew Bordin             111
5     Rocky Moran Jr.           105
6     David Rutledge            77
7     Hoover Orsi (R)           68
8     Alex Gurney               57
9     William Langhorne         51
10    Mike Conte                40

*clinched championship at Gateway on September 16

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Friday, September 29:  
Practice       1:00 p.m. -- 1:30 p.m.  
Qualifying     4:45 p.m. -- 5:15 p.m.
Saturday, September 30:  
Practice       8:15 a.m. -- 8:45 a.m.  
Qualifying     3:15 p.m. -- 3:45 p.m.
Sunday, October 1:  
Warm-up        8:00 a.m. -- 8:15 a.m 
RACE           9:40 a.m. (43 laps)

TRACK RECORDS

Qualifying Record Buddy Rice 1 min, 07.968 s 80.879 mph 09/25/1999

Race Record (avg. speed) Andrew Bordin 57 min, 57.000 s 67.286 mph 09/26/1999

Fastest Race Lap Buddy Rice 1 min, 07.822 s 81.053 mph 09/26/1999

Past Winners

1998:      Anthony Lazzaro (USA), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y) *      
1999:      Andrew Bordin (CDN), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)  

* Race shortened from 38 to 30 laps due to rain

Past Polesitters

1998:      Alexandre Tagliani (CDN), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)
1999:      Buddy Rice (USA), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)

TELEVISION COVERAGE

ESPN2 Sun., October 8, 7:00p Repeat Tues., October 10, 5:00 a.m.

ESPN Int'l Sun., October 8, 7:00 p.m.

RDS Sat., October 21, 10:30 a.m.

CTV Mon., October 9, 7:00 p.m. Ontario, East, West & Pacific Regions

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Gurney , Martin Basso , Hoover Orsi , David Rutledge , Rocky Moran Jr. , Anthony Lazzaro , Buddy Rice , Andrew Bordin , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing