Lynx Racing Houston race report

Lynx Racing David Rutledge, 23, of Vancouver B.C. qualified fourth and finished third in this weekend's CART Toyota Atlantic support race at the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. A multi-car melee on the first lap saw him spin to...

Lynx Racing David Rutledge, 23, of Vancouver B.C. qualified fourth and finished third in this weekend's CART Toyota Atlantic support race at the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. A multi-car melee on the first lap saw him spin to avoid another car, and then get hit at high speed from behind by yet another car. The contact flattened Rutledge's left rear tire and, once he got going again, ducked into the pits where the Lynx team gave him a tire change that would have made a CART crew proud. Rejoining at the end of the pack, but still on the critical lead lap, Rutledge was a 'man on a mission.' After the green flag, he passed five cars in a single move heading into the first turn. Thereafter, he picked cars off with surgical precision until he had worked his way back up to third. At that point, the first three cars were all equally matched and running nose-to-tail, so there was no opportunity for further passing. Each driver had to hope the other made a mistake, but it was a vain hope, with Joey Hand winning his second race of the season, followed by 2001 Atlantic series champion Hoover Orsi in second and Rutledge in third. "Considering the first lap melee that gave me a flat tire and dropped me to the back of the pack when I had to pit for a new tire - I'm reasonably happy with third," says Rutledge, who drives the #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a "The top three cars were all very equal here, and it's very hard to pass under those circumstances so we all ran nose to tail for the last third of the race and tried to force the other guy into a mistake. Everybody kept a cool head, though, and so the smart thing to do bring the car home on the podium which is what I did. I had an excellent car all race long, and we've got a really good setup for Laguna Seca, so I'm really looking forward to finishing off the season next weekend with a win." Rutledge's teammate, Jason LaPoint, 24, of Woodburn, Oregon, qualified fifth and enjoyed a bit of luck in the first lap confusion. He managed to snake through it all without hitting anyone and emerged out the other side in second place. He harried the leader for half a dozen laps until yet another multi-car spinout caught him and dropped him back to fifth, where he ran until the finish. This is LaPoint's second-ever race with the Lynx team (the other being Road America where he qualified third and finished seventh with deteriorating handling), and his first-ever street circuit. 'That first-lap thing was really good for me because I avoided getting tangled up in it and came out the other side in second," says LaPoint, who drives the # 32 Lynx Racing / Infinity Racing / Regency Aviation Swift 008.a. "I was able to run easily with the leader and was hoping for a shot at a win, but there was another multi-car mess a couple of laps later that took away everything I'd gained. The Lynx team gave me a really good car, but once the field spread out a bit I didn't have anybody to race with, so I was just being careful to bring the car home in one piece. This was my first-ever street circuit, but I have quite a bit of time at Laguna so I'm looking forward to next weekend." The next, and final, race on the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic schedule is the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Northern California on October 13 - 14. The race will air on ESPN2 and ESPN International Saturday, Oct. 13 at 4:00 pm (EST). CART Toyota Atlantic highlights from the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Sunday, October 07, 2001 will be included in the following VNR (Video News Release): 5:30-6:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, October 7th, 2001 / Galaxy 10R KU20 Transponder / Downlink Frequency 12100, Audio 6.2/6.8 (Horizontal Polarization) / The Toyota Atlantic segment is approximately ½ way into the VNR.

-Lynx Racing-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Hoover Orsi , David Rutledge , Joey Hand