#1 Draft Pick Clocked At 140 Mph
Fast Facts: Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Sara Senske in the CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series support races at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by FirStar, June 29 - July 1
- With the Cleveland Cavaliers due to choose their new hope for the future on Thursday, Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge is the #1 draft pick in this weekend's CART Toyota Atlantic support race at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by FirStar with two wins in four races - both from the pole. Teammate Sara Senske is the fastest-rising young female driver in open-wheel racing today.
- The Atlantic series where Rutledge competes is the college team to CART's major leagues, a place for the stars of tomorrow to hone their skills under the watchful eye of both teachers and potential employers. Senske, in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, is high school varsity, with top drivers hoping for a scholarship to the next level.
- Lynx Racing is the most unique organization in the Atlantic series, a championship-winning racing team and driver development program owned by women that places as much emphasis on a driver's mental development as their on-track skills. Lynx graduates racing in the main event this weekend include Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Forsythe) and Memo Gidley (Target Chip Ganassi).
At speeds approaching 140 miles an hour, Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Sara Senske are on a mission to retain their status as the #1 draft picks in the up-and-coming crop of young racing drivers competing in the CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series support races at this weekend's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by FirStar, June 29 - July 1.
After four rounds of a 12-race season, Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver, B.C., is the points leader in the CART Toyota Atlantic series, and arrives at Cleveland having won 50% of the races from the pole, including the season-opener through the streets at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. His most recent victory, at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 9, was an embellishment on his victory in the same event last year; a flag-to-flag domination instead of a dramatic last-turn pass on the last lap to win. In doing so, Rutledge became the first driver in the history of the Atlantic series at Montreal to win back-to-back races from the pole.
"Our success at Montreal gives the team a lot of motivation and momentum coming to Cleveland," says Rutledge, who drives the turquoise and yellow #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a. "We have confidence in our ability to field a top-finishing car on a road course. My engineer Rick Cameron and I are working very well together, and when you have as little on-track time as we do this weekend, the ability to put together a good setup quickly is very important. Cleveland is a very fast, wide track full of fourth and fifth-gear turns where you want to carry a lot of speed, so we've been working on a low-downforce setup similar to what you'd use at a track like Road Atlanta. The track is also very bumpy and there are compound turns, so it's a very technical challenge for both engineers and drivers. I'm very much looking forward to the race because when a team is working as smoothly as the group at Lynx you get a car that's a driver's dream -- fast out of the box and just gets quicker."
Rutledge's Lynx Racing teammate, Sara Senske, 21, lives in Sonoma, California and drives the black/turquoise/yellow #19 Lynx Racing Reynard 98E in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Metaphor best explains the place the Atlantic and BDPS series occupy on the open-wheel racing ladder - BDPS is the high school varsity and Atlantic are the college all-stars. Both series are comprised of the fastest young drivers from around the world who are honing their skills in front of both teachers (team managers and driving coaches) and potential employers.
Senske has been finishing in the top-10 of the ultra-competitive BDPS this season, and finished 6th in the rain at Lime Rock. And she added considerably to her overall fund of racing experience earlier this year when she was invited to drive in the 'Pro' division of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
"It's been a very educational season, both on and off the track," says Senske. "This is my fifth year with the Lynx team, my second season in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, and they've been very patient with allowing me to progress up the ladder at my own speed. But at some point you just have to put the pedal to the metal and go for it, which is what I'll be doing at Cleveland. I'm stronger physically and mentally than I've every been, and this is a track with plenty of room for aggressive driving, so if we can get a setup on the car that allows me to push it, I'll push it to the limit." On-track activity begins Friday, June 29, with the 40-minute BDPS race scheduled to take the green flag at 3:50 pm, Saturday, June 20. The 32-lap Atlantic race is scheduled to begin at 10:15 am Sunday, July 1. The BDPS race will air on ESPN2, Friday, July 21 at 6:30 pm EST. The CART Toyota Atlantic race airs on ESPN2, Saturday, July 7 at 4:30 pm EST.
2001 marks the 11th anniversary of Lynx Racing, one of the most unique organizations in auto racing today. Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx is both a championship winning racing team and a uniquely successful driver development program that focuses on a driver's mental, psychological and spiritual growth in addition to their on-track skills.
The Lynx mission is to seek out young drivers with the desire and potential to become champions at the highest levels of the sport and provide them with the funding, equipment and training to take the last step toward realizing that potential, a process the team calls 'Destiny by Design.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley.
For further information on Lynx Racing and its drivers, please contact the team's public relations manager, Peter Frey, at (818) 906-6997 or visit the team's web site at www.LynxRacing.com. Information about Michael Valiante can be found at www.ItalianMotors.com. For more information about the CART Toyota Atlantic series, visit www.ToyotaAtlantic.com, and the Barber Dodge Pro Series web site is located at www.BarberDodge.com
David Rutledge has a personal sponsorship from The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, a group of 82 casual, contemporary steakhouses spanning from Victoria across to Halifax in Canada, and into the United States in Washington, Oregon and Texas. Further information can be found at www.kegsteakhouse.com.