FACT SHEET THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP Round 3, Motorola 300 Weekend May 27-29, 1999, Madison, Ill. EVENT: Round 3 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the oval circuit at Gateway International Raceway.
THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 3, Motorola 300 Weekend May 27-29, 1999, Madison, Ill.
EVENT: Round 3 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the oval circuit at Gateway International Raceway. Saturday's KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Motorola 300 will mark the second straight year the series has competed here.
RACING 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 and Alex Barron, former Champ Car stars Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
ATLANTIC SCHEDULE AT GATEWAY: Thursday, May 27: Practice 9:30 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Practice 1:00 p.m. - 1:40 p.m. Friday, May 28: Practice 12:20 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Qualifying 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Exhibition 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29: Warm-up 12:00 p.m.- 12:15 p.m. RACE 5:30 p.m. 50 laps
UNDER THE LIGHTS: The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will hold an exhibition under the lights at Gateway on Friday night at 7 p.m., as a prelude to the Champ Car exhibition under the lights at 8 p.m.
TOP DRIVERS: Reigning KOOL/Toyota Atlantic champion Lee Bentham (Player's-Forsythe Racing), of Newmarket, Ont., leads one of the series' all-time strongest line-ups, and is looking to become the first repeat Atlantic champion since David Empringham took back-to-back titles in 1993-94. Some of the top drivers looking to unseat Bentham are his teammate Alex Tagliani of Lachenaie, Que., Anthony Lazzaro (PPI-MCI WorldCom) of Acworth, Ga., Buddy Rice (Lynx Racing) of Phoenix, Ariz., Andrew Bordin (PPI) of Woodbridge, Ont., Kenny Wilden (Shank Racing) of Burlington, Ont., and David Rutledge (Forsythe Racing) of W. Vancouver, B.C.
CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS: Anthony Lazzaro's victory at Round 2 at Nazareth (and second-place finish at the season opener) moved him into the early lead in the drivers' championship with 38 points. Alex Tagliani won the Long Beach opener but contact with another driver at Round 2 dropped him into second place in the points with 21. Buddy Rice is third with 20 points, followed by Lee Bentham at 18, Kenny Wilden at 17 and top rookie Jean-Francois Veilleux at 16. TOP ROOKIES: One of the best rookie crops in Atlantic history takes the course at Gateway, including Nicolas Rondet (WorldSpeed Motorsports) of San Diego, Calif., Jean-Francois Veilleux (P-1 Racing) of Boucherville, Que., Alex Gurney (Team KOOL Green) of Newport Beach, Calif., David Besnard (Hylton Motorsports) of Sydney, Australia, and Sam Hornish, Jr. (Mike Shank Racing) of Defiance, Ohio.
LAST YEAR AT GATEWAY: The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship made its debut at Gateway last year, with Memo Gidley, of Novato, Calif., slipping by polesitter Anthony Lazzaro on lap 18 of the rain-shortened race to record his second victory of the season. Rainfall and regional storms plagued the weekend, postponing Round 3 of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship from Friday until Saturday. Though the race started under clouds, it eventually was shortened from the scheduled 50 laps to 27 when the first rain of the day hit the 1.27-mile oval just one lap after the half-way point. Three full-course cautions slowed the pace for most of the race, but when it was green, it was the finest racing in the series last year.
TELEVISION BROADCASTS: ESPN2 will televise Saturday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Gateway the following Saturday, June 5, at 3 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Tuesday, June 8, at 5 a.m., and Friday, June 11, at 4 a.m. ESPN International will telecast the race on Saturday, June 5, at 3 p.m. The Canadian French-speaking RDS network will broadcast the Gateway race on Saturday, June 5. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV is airing the race on Tuesday, June 8, at 8 p.m. in all local markets.
NEXT RACE: Round 4 of the 12-race 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is set for Saturday, June 5, at the Milwaukee Mile, part of the Miller Lite 225 weekend.