GALLOPING TOWARD GATEWAY AN INCH AT A TIME Fast Facts: Lynx Racing and the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Support Race at the Motorola 300 at Gateway Â· Lynx Racing driver Memo Gidley won the Atlantic race at Gateway last year and has...
GALLOPING TOWARD GATEWAY AN INCH AT A TIME
Fast Facts: Lynx Racing and the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Support Race at the Motorola 300 at Gateway
· Lynx Racing driver Memo Gidley won the Atlantic race at Gateway last year and has now signed with Walker Racing to run in the CART Fed Ex Championship beginning June 20 at Portland. · Gidley is the third Lynx driver in three years to move up to CART; others include Lynx Atlantic Champions Patrick Carpentier (1996) and Alex Barron (1997), both of whom will be racing in the Motorola 300 on Saturday. · Next up in the Lynx pipeline of young 'phenoms' are current Atlantic drivers Buddy Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona, a likely first round draft pick for the year 2000 CART FedEx season… and Mike Conte, 30, of Seattle, Washington, who was a Microsoft computer wizard before pursuing his racing dream. · Lynx Racing is the only championship-winning driver development program owned by women. The team's mission is to seek out potential champions and give them the resources and training to make it to the top. _________________________________________
Lynx Racing, the championship-winning driver development program, is galloping toward Gateway, an inch at a time. Last year's driver, Memo Gidley, won the rain-shortened KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race here (along with victories at Long Beach and Milwaukee), and has now signed with Walker Racing in the CART FedEx series to substitute for the injured Naoki Hattori. He joins Lynx alumni Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Forsythe) and Alex Barron (Dan Gurney's All-American Racers) on the top rung of America's racing ladder beginning with the Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway on June 20. That's the galloping part. The inch-at-a-time all-work-no-glamour part of the program now falls to the current 'phenoms' in the Lynx pipeline, Buddy Rice and Mike Conte. Rice was Gidley's Lynx teammate last year, and is shaping up as everyone's number one draft pick for the 2000 CART FedEx season. He made everyone sit up and take notice in 1998, his rookie year, when he sat on the pole for his first-ever Atlantic race, at Long Beach, and won his second-ever race, from the pole, at Nazareth. And he's back for 1999, as planned, as the team's senior driver. He started 5th and finished 4th at Gateway last year. "We've been involved in an extensive testing program since well before the start of the season, and we've been making progress, but it's an inch at a time," says Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona. "Since the Atlantic series switched over to these Swift 008.a 'spec' cars mid-way through last season, we've been working hard to find anything that will give us an advantage. What it's done is force Mike and I to become better test drivers and provide our engineering staff with much more accurate feedback, so we can get the cars set up quicker on a race weekend." Mike Conte, 30 of Seattle, Washington, is the newest addition to the Lynx team. He's a Microsoft software wizard who is now a retired real estate investor and following his racing dream. He finished where he started -- 11th, -- at Gateway last year, driving for a different team. Earlier this year, Conte co-drove a Porsche to a podium finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring and plans to intermingle his 1999 Atlantic schedule with sports car races. "My car was actually running pretty well here last year, but with the yellow flags and the race being stopped for rain just after the halfway mark, I didn't have a chance to move up," says Conte. "With all the testing we've done at Lynx, I'm finally feeling comfortable in the car, which is critical if you're going to go fast on an oval. If the weather and the yellow flags will cooperate, I'm confident of a better finish than last year."