Lynx Racing, with drivers Buddy Rice and Mike Conte are prime contenders to hit the bulls-eye in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic support race at the Target Grand Prix, August 21. Atlantic is the premier stepping-stone series to the CART FedEx Championship, and Lynx Racing - the only championship-winning, woman-owned team in a major auto racing series - is one of the top teams. The past three Lynx drivers have graduated to CART: Patrick Carpentier to Player's/Forsythe, Alex Barron to Dan Gurney's All-American Racers and Marlboro Penske and Memo Gidley to Walker/Alpine Racing and Payton-Coyne/Herdez. Lynx driver Buddy Rice and Lynx graduate Memo Gidley teamed to win every oval track race on the Atlantic circuit in 1998, and Rice, with new teammate Mike Conte, has led the last four Atlantic races and scored three podium finishes in a row in 1999. "Lynx is used to winning, and we're planning to do just that at Chicago," says Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona. "Since this is the first race ever held on this track, it's a level playing field for drivers and teams. We won every Atlantic oval track race last year, and we've been the most consistently competitive team this season. There are a lot of good, experienced drivers and teams in the Atlantic series this year, but not one of them wants a win in Chicago more than we do." Mike Conte, 30, of Seattle, Washington, is new to the Lynx team this year. He is a software designer who formerly worked for Microsoft and was a major force in creating several of their most popular programs, including Windows 95 and Internet Explorer. He now drives full-time with Lynx and also runs his own Porsche-based sports cars team - Contemporary Motorsports - that scored a podium finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year. "Oval track racing is as much black art as science," says Conte. "So it's a big help that at Lynx we have both wizards and computer wonks to help us figure out the setup. And getting the car right is absolutely essential on an oval, particularly this oval, because with long straights and tight, constant radius turns, it looks we'll need to brake, and possibly downshift, going into the turns. You'll really have to drive it, not just circulate around with the gas pedal flat on the floor like some ovals. So this weekend will be a race of engineers and computers as much as drivers... until the green flag drops on Sunday, anyway." Lynx Racing is the only championship-winning racing team and driver development program owned by women that competes in a major auto racing series. Created by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx Racing is now in its ninth year of seeking out young drivers with championship potential and providing them with the funds, training and equipment to make it to the top levels of the sport. Lynx alumni include Patrick Carpentier, who won the 1996 Atlantic championship, was the 1997 CART Rookie of the Year, and now drives for Player's/Forsythe. Lynx's 1997 graduate, Alex Barron, won the Atlantic championship in his first and only year with the team, and was quickly signed by Dan Gurney's All-American Racers for the 1998 season. This year he also drove for Marlboro Penske in the U.S. 500 at Michigan, and will drive for them again in the season-ending race at Fontana. Lynx Racing's 1998, Memo Gidley, impressed CART insiders with four races as a substitute for the injured Naoki Hattori on the Alpine/Walker Racing team, and has now moved over to run in a second Herdez-backded car with Payton-Coyne. ______________________________
Target Grand Prix Schedule of Events:
Thursday, August 19 8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Atlantic practice 12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Atlantic practice 4:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Atlantic practice
Friday, August 20 8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Atlantic practice 1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Atlantic practice 5:05 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Atlantic single-car qualifying
Saturday, August 21 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Atlantic warm-up 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Atlantic race / 60 laps
ESPN2 Sunday, August 29 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Tuesday, August 31 2:30 a.m. - 3:30 a.m. (repeat) ESPN2 Friday, Sept. 3 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (repeat) CTV (Canada) Tuesday, August 31 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. RDS (Canada) Sunday, Sept. 9 Check local listings ESPN Intl. Sunday, August 29 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Next Event on Atlantic Schedule:
Molson Indy Vancouver / September 4