THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 9, Target Grand Prix Weekend, at the Chicago Motor Speedway Aug. 19-22, 1999, Cicero, Ill.
Round 9 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the new Chicago Motor Speedway circuit, as the Saturday feature race at the Target Grand Prix. Saturday's 3 p.m. race will be the fourth and final oval course event for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.
THE SERIES: The CART-sanctioned KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship is a key rung on CART's "Ladder System" and is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron, and Memo Gidley, former Champ Car stars Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
ATLANTIC SCHEDULE AT CHICAGO: Thursday, Aug. 19: Practice 8 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Practice 12:30 p.m. - 1 p.m. Practice 4:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20: Practice 8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Practice 1:45 p.m. - 2:15 pm. Qualifying 5:05 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21: Warm-up 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. RACE 3:00 p.m. 60 laps
SEASON RECAP: Anthony Lazzaro (PPI-MCI WorldCom) has taken control of the Atlantic drivers' championship, following his sixth podium finish last Sunday at Mid-Ohio, placing third last Sunday, and maintaining his points lead with just four races left. Lazzaro, a three-time winner this year (Nazareth, Gateway, Trois-Rivieries) has built a 134-100 points margin over Alex Tagliani (Player's-Forsythe), who has won twice this year (Long Beach, Montreal). Kenny Wilden (Shank Racing-Newcourt/Trizec-Hahn), on the strength of his second career Atlantic victory last Sunday at Mid-Ohio, is just four points behind Tagliani at 96. Buddy Rice (Lynx Racing) remains in fourth with 74. Lazzaro and Rice both appeared headed to victory at Mid-Ohio, but Wilden drove a sensational race, passing both Lazzaro and Rice late in the race to take his first victory of the year.
LOCAL DRIVERS/TEAMS: Tom Wieringa, of Oak Brook, Ill., will be racing in front of hometown fans when he steps into his Atlantic race car, sponsored by Chicago-based Hollander Distribution, for Saturday's 3 p.m. Atlantic race at the Chicago Motor Speedway. Wieringa, a local business man with an avocation - and passion - for auto racing, races for Chicago-area based Olsson Engineering, of Lake Forest.
Also, the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, now in its 26th year, is based in Highland Park (Ill.), where series president Vicki O'Connor and the Pro-Motion Agency have operated the Atlantic series since 1985.
1999 ATLANTIC RACE WINNERS: Rnd 1, Long Beach: Alex Tagliani Rnd 5, Montreal: Alex Tagliani Rnd 2, Nazareth: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 6, Road America: Andrew Bordin Rnd 3, Gateway: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 7, Trois-Rivieres: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 4, Milwaukee: Lee Bentham Rnd 8, Mid-Ohio: Kenny Wilden
1999 TOYOTA POLE AWARDS: Rnd 1, Long Beach: Kenny Wilden Rnd 5, Montreal: Alex Tagliani Rnd 2, Nazareth: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 6, Road America: Alex Tagliani Rnd 3, Gateway: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 7, Trois-Rivieres: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 4, Milwaukee: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 8, Mid-Ohio: Kenny Wilden
MORE ATLANTIC NOTES: Wilden became the fifth driver in eight races to win in Atlantics this year. Wilden won previously at Cleveland in 1998 ... Lynx Racing's Buddy Rice has been knocking on the door to victory for the last three races, but mechanical woes have plagued him late in each race. At Road America, he was leading the race but suspension problems eventually slowed him and he finished second. At Trois-Rivieres, he led for part of the race and was running second when a mechanical break-down forced him off course, ending his day. Last Sunday at Mid-Ohio, Rice was leading on the second-to-last lap, got passed by Wilden, then pulled off course on the final lap with a failed alternator ... Nicolas Rondet (World Speed Motorsports) leads the rookie standings with 40 points .. ... Saturday's race will be the final oval course on the 1999 Atlantic schedule, which is an even mix of four ovals, four road courses and four street circuits. The remaining races are on a street course (Vancouver), a road course (Laguna Seca), with the season finale on a road course (Houston).
TOP-10 POINTS STANDINGS: Anthony Lazzaro, 134; Alex Tagliani, 100; Kenny Wilden, 96; Buddy Rice, 74; Andrew Bordin, 63; Lee Bentham 49; David Rutledge, 49; Nicolas Rondet, 40; J.-F. Veilleux, 36; and Sam Hornish, Jr., 33.
TELEVISION BROADCASTS: ESPN2 will televise Saturday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Chicago on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 10:30 a.m., with repeat broadcasts on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 2:30 a.m., and on Friday, Sept. 3, at 2:30 p.m. The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race on Sunday, Sept. 5. Check local listing for the RDS time. ESPN International will televise the Chicago race on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 10:30 a.m. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV SportsNet is airing the race on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 8 p.m., in all local markets.
NEXT ATLANTIC RACE: Round 10 of the 12-race 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held Sunday, Sept. 5, at the Molson Indy Vancouver, in Vancouver, British Columbia. k