FACT SHEET THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP Round 7, Grand Prix Player's de Trois-Rivieres July 30-Aug. 1, 1999, Trois-Rivieres, Que., Canada EVENT: Round 7 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 1.5207-mile ...
THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 7, Grand Prix Player's de Trois-Rivieres July 30-Aug. 1, 1999, Trois-Rivieres, Que., Canada
EVENT: Round 7 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 1.5207-mile temporary street circuit, as the featured race at the Grand Prix Player's de Trois-Rivieres.
RACE 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: Friday, July 30: Practice 9:25 a.m. - 9:55 a.m. Qualifying 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 31: Practice 9:25 a.m. - 9:55 a.m. Qualifying 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 1: Warm-up 8:20 a.m. - 8:35 a.m. RACE 1:45 p.m. 45 laps/68.43 miles
LAZZARO MOVING UP .. TAGLIANI ON THE MOVE: Anthony Lazzaro (PPI-MCI WorldCom) continues to lead the championship with 97 points, with victories at Nazareth (round 2) and Gateway (round 3) and four other top-five finishes, heading into round 7 at Trois-Rivieres. At the previous race at Road America, CART stewards ruled following the race that Lazzaro passed Quebec driver Alex Tagliani under a stationary yellow caution flag on the front straight during the race. Lazzaro finished third at the checkered flag followed by Tagliani, but the ruling reversed their finishing position. With the ruling, Lazzaro still leads all drivers with 97 championship points. Buddy Rice (Lynx Racing) holds a slim 74-72 points lead over Tagliani (Player's-Forsythe) for second place behind Lazzaro. Rice's recent success (3rd at Milwaukee, 2nd at Montreal, 2nd at Road America) has put him in the championship hunt, while Tagliani has fought for the lead at all six events, including two victories (Long Beach, Montreal).
Tagliani is clearly on the rise heading into the Trois-Rivieres event, having won round 5 at Montreal and taking the pole positions at the last two events (Montreal, Road America). Tagliani also heads into this weekend having won the last two Trois-Rivieres events, in 1997 and 1998.
Kenny Wilden (Shank Racing-Newcourt/Trizec-Hahn) and reigning series champion Lee Bentham also remain serious title-contenders, running at the front for most of the events. Wilden is fourth in the points with 59, while Bentham, who won at Milwaukee, is fifth with 49. David Rutledge (Forsythe Racing-The Keg/Fleming Financial) is sixth in the points with 45. Andrew Bordin (PPI-Player's/Thyssen) drove his best race yet at Road America, winning his second Atlantic race, which moved him up to seventh in the championship with 41 points. Rookie Nicolas Rondet (World Speed Motorsports/ Harmony Schools) is eighth in the championship and leads all first-year drivers with 28.
1999 RACE WINNERS: Rnd 1, Long Beach: Alex Tagliani Rnd 4, Milwaukee: Lee Bentham Rnd 2, Nazareth: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 5, Montreal: Alex Tagliani Rnd 3, Gateway: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 6, Road America: Andrew Bordin
1999 TOYOTA POLE WINNERS: Rnd 1, Long Beach: Kenny Wilden Rnd 4, Milwaukee: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 2, Nazareth: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 5, Montreal: Alex Tagliani Rnd 3, Gateway: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 6, Road America: Alex Tagliani
LAST YEAR AT TROIS-RIVIERES: Alex Tagliani led from start to finish for his second straight victory during the 1998 season, and second-straight victory at Trois-Rivieres, also having won the 1997 contest. Tagliani's teammate, Lee Bentham, finished third last year at Trois-Rivieres, but more importantly, passed Memo Gidley for the lead in the championship, with five races left. Bentham never lost control of the championship from that point, eventually winning the 1998 series' title. Anthony Lazzaro pushed Tagliani for nearly the entire race, but could not pass him and finished second.
ATLANTIC HISTORY AT TROIS-RIVIERES: The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced at Trois-Rivieres 23 times since 1974, including double races in 1995 and 1996. The list of previous winners at Trois-Rivieres is a "Who's Who" list of Atlantic and road racing greats: Tom Klausler (1974), Vittorio Brambilla (1975), Gilles Villeneuve (1976), Price Cobb (1977), Bill Brack (1978), Howdy Holmes (1979), Price Cobb (1980), Jacques Villeneuve (1981), Roberto Moreno (1982), Michael Andretti (1983), Dan Marvin (1985), Jacques Villeneuve (1989), Brian Till (1990), Jacques Villeneuve (1991), Chris Smith (1992), David Empringham (1993), David Empringham (1994), David Empringham (1995), Richie Hearn (1995), Patrick Carpentier (1996), Patrick Carpentier (1996), Alex Tagliani (1997), Alex Tagliani (1998).
TELEVISION BROADCASTS: ESPN2 will televise Sunday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Trois-Rivieres on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 12 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 2:30 a.m., and on Thursday, Aug. 12, at 4:30 a.m. The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race live at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, and again on Monday, Aug. 2, at 9 a.m. ESPN International will televise the Trois-Rivieres race on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 12 p.m. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV SportsNet is airing the race on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m. in all local markets.
NEXT ATLANTIC RACE: Round 8 of the 12-race 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington, Ohio.