LYNX 1999 -- VARIATIONS ON A THEME Lynx Racing, the unique open wheel driver development program that fielded championship-winning efforts for Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron in the 1996 and 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series, has a ...
LYNX 1999 -- VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Lynx Racing, the unique open wheel driver development program that fielded championship-winning efforts for Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron in the 1996 and 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series, has a program for 1999 that might best be titled "Variations on a Theme." The team has re-signed Buddy Rice for a second season in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona, had a standout rookie season with Lynx in 1998, qualifying on the pole in his first two races, and winning on the Nazareth oval. He also scored four podium finishes, two top-fives and finished seventh overall in the Atlantic series championship. Rice will drive the #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a in the full 12-race 1999 schedule. "I spent last year learning new tracks, new cars and a new team," says Rice. "I learned how to balance the extremes of racing, victory and defeat, daring and patience, looking at the big picture and taking care of details. It was an intense process, but I'm a much better driver for having gone through it, and Lynx has emerged as an even better, stronger team. Anybody who thinks they saw the best Lynx or I had to offer in 1998 is in for a surprise in 1999." In a departure from its previous practice of running only Lynx-sponsored drivers, the team will also field a KOOL/Toyota Atlantic effort for Mike Conte, 30, of Seattle, Washington. Conte drove last season for Worldspeed Motorsports where he finished 14th in the Atlantic championship points and scored four top-10 finishes. Conte will drive a full schedule in the #17 Swift 008.a sponsored by White-Black Design, a software development company of which he is co-founder. "I got a later start in racing than is usual for someone who's serious about making it to the top," says Conte. "But I'm very committed to reaching my goal of driving in CART and I'm delighted that a team the caliber of Lynx has enough faith in my potential to help me achieve my goal. My life philosophy has always been 'Keep Improving!,' and that fits perfectly with the way Lynx operates." Lynx driver Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington, will also be back for her second full year with the team. She finished 8th overall in 1998, her first full season of competition in the Star Formula Mazda Championship, scoring one pole and ten top-10 finishes. Senske is currently scheduled to run a second season of Formula Mazda, but she is also among the 81 female drivers currently scheduled to try out for one of the 16 available rides in the new Women's Global GT Series being developed by Don Panoz and Lyn St. James. "I'm amazed at how much I've learned and how many opportunities have opened up since I signed with Lynx," says Senske. "Lyn St. James has always been a hero of mine, and my goal in racing has always been to follow in her footsteps, competing at the very top levels of the sport and helping open doors for other women to get into the sport. And thanks to my involvement with Lynx, I feel like I'm getting a little closer to that goal every day." Lynx Racing, owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, is a unique driver development program now entering its ninth year of operation. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.' Lynx alumni include Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Richie Hearn, all of whom are currently rising stars in the CART/FedEx Championship. "Although our program is a little different this year than past years, the goal and methods of Lynx Racing remain the same," says Haas. "The Lynx program is geared to identifying young drivers who have the skills and attitude it takes to make it to the top, and utilize intensive technical training, development of interpersonal communications skills and self-empowerment techniques to help them get there. It's very rewarding when you see that look in their eyes that says 'Oh, now I get it'." Lynx has a record of accomplishments that provide eloquent testimony to the effectiveness of the team's methods. In 1996, Patrick Carpentier won the Atlantic championship with 9 wins in 12 races, eight of them in a row from the pole. He went on to win CART's "Rookie of the Year" award in 1997 with the Bettenhausen team and currently drives for Player's/Forsythe. In 1997, Alex Barron won five races, the "Rookie of the Year" award and the series championship in only his second year of racing cars after a legendary career in karting. He now drives for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers. "Lynx is like a high-tech university with a family atmosphere and a spiritual center," says co-owner Jackie Doty. "We teach the drivers about car setup and race strategy, but we also help them face and overcome those psychological barriers that they, like all of us, have buried deep in our psyche. It's not a cut-and-dried process, because every driver is different, but it's a big part of why Lynx is so successful." For further information on Lynx Racing, please visit the team's web site at www.LynxRacing.com, or telephone the team's P.R. manager, Peter Frey, at (818) 909-0985. Buddy Rice / #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a
Buddy Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona, drove a Lynx-sponsored car fielded by DSTP Motorsports in the 1997 U.S. Formula 2000 Championship where he scored one win, two poles and five podium finishes. He finished fourth overall in the championship and was awarded the Valvoline/Team USA Scholarship to race in the Nation's Cup in Europe. 1998 was his rookie year with the Lynx Atlantic team. He was on the pole in the first two races, won at Nazareth, scored four podium finishes and won more than $75,000. He also won the KOOL "Rookie Challenge" four times, the MCI "Fast Pace" award (once) and the Gilles Villeneuve Award. Rice started racing in karts at age 11 and won various state and regional championships in the Enduro, Gearbox and Sprint classes. It was while racing karts that Rice became friends with a fellow competitor, Baseball Hall of Fame member and Milwaukee Brewers coach Robin Yount, who helped sponsor his first season in the U.S. F2000 series in 1996. It was here that Rice first attracted the attention of Lynx Racing by putting his six year-old car on the pole in a hotly-contested event full of new cars.
Sara Senske / #19 Lynx Racing Star Formula Mazda
Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington, is the first female driver signed by the Lynx Racing team, and finished 8th overall in the 1998 Star Formula Mazda Championship. Now dividing her time between racing and college, Senske started racing karts in 1987 at age 7, won her first kart race at age 8 in 1988 and won her first karting championship at age 9 in 1989. In February of 1996, she competed in the Skip Barber West Coast Series and was voted 'Most Improved Driver'. She has also twice attended the Lyn St. James Driver Development Program. Senske linked up with Lynx Racing at the Indy Car race in Vancouver, B.C. in 1996, and tested with the team in a Formula Ford 2000 car in February. Her father, Chris, was the 1984 SCCA production class pro rally champion. Sara's goals are to race in the Indy 500 and use her success to open doors for other women to get into the sport.
Mike Conte / #17 Black-White Design Swift 008.a
Mike Conte, 30, of Seattle Washigton, scored four top-10 finishes and wound up 14th in the points during his rookie season as an Atlantic driver in 1998. He also competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona where he finished 2nd in the GT3 class and 7th overall and was instrumental in setting up the Team Seattle fundraising project which generated $200,000 for Children's Hospital. Born in Yonkers, New York, Conte did not drive, or even own, a car for many years before beginning his racing career in 1993. He ran two full seasons in the Skip Barber Western Series, finishing third in the championship, before moving up to the Star Formula Mazda Championship in 1996. In 1997, Conte competed in both the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, as well as another full season of Formula Mazda, where he finished second overall. As a software designer for Microsoft, Conte worked on such programs as Excel, Microsoft Office 95, Windows 95 and Internet Explorer. He is currently a co-founder of Better Neighborhoods, a real estate development firm, and co-founder of Black-White Design, a company specializing in the development of motorsports data acquisition software. He lives in Seattle with wife, Annie, and sons Nicholas (5) and Christopher (3).