DESTINY'S FOOTSTEPS - Patrick Carpentier Won The Grand Prix Player's du Canada with Lynx Racing in 1996; Lynx Drivers Alex Barron and Memo Gidley Finished 2-3 in 1997... - Lynx Racing Won The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship in 1996 ...
- Patrick Carpentier Won The Grand Prix Player's du Canada with Lynx Racing in 1996; Lynx Drivers Alex Barron and Memo Gidley Finished 2-3 in 1997... - Lynx Racing Won The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship in 1996 with Carpentier And 1997 With Barron; Both Are Now Driving In The CART/FedEx Championship... - Lynx Racing Has Won The First Four KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Races Of The 1998 Season; Three For Memo Gidley And One For Rookie Buddy Rice... - The Car Memo Gidley Will Drive This Weekend Is The Exact Same One Carpentier Used To Win His Championship... - Lynx Racing, one of the top ‘driver development’ programs in auto racing today, is owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty...
When Patrick Carpentier drove his #19 Lynx Racing Ralt RT-41 (the exact same car Lynx driver Memo Gidley will use this weekend...) to victory in the Toyota Atlantic race at the 1996 Grand Prix Player's du Canada, he was justifiably overjoyed to finally win a big race in front of his home-town crowd... but he was also walking in destiny's footsteps, blazing a trail into the future along which others would soon follow.
Montreal was the start of a winning streak unprecedented in Atlantic racing; eight wins in a row, all from the pole position, for a total of nine victories in 12 races. That remarkable run broke virtually every record in the long and stellar history of a series populated with such names as Andretti, Rahal, Sullivan and, of course, Villeneuve.
Carpentier, who went on to win the 1997 CART Rookie of the Year award with the Bettenhausen/Alumax team, has scored two pole positions in so far this year and will be driving in Detroit this weekend with teammate Greg Moore for the Player's/Forsythe team.
The next set of Lynx drivers to follow in Carpentier’s footsteps were Atlantic rookies Alex Barron and Memo Gidley in 1997. Lynx Racing came to Montreal with Barron's back-to-back wins on the ovals at Nazareth and Milwaukee under its belt. The weekend started well, with Gidley's win in the Player’s Pit Stop Competition, and ended with Barron finishing second and Gidley third. It was an emotional moment on the Podium when Carpentier presented the trophies to a new generation of Lynx drivers.
The 1997 race was won by Bertrand Godin, but Lynx went on to win seven of 12 races in 1997 (five for Barron and two for Gidley). Barron won the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic "Rookie of the Year" award and the series championship and was quickly signed by Dan Gurney's All-American Racers to compete in the CART/FedEx Championship. Barron will be racing Detroit with Carpentier this weekend. Gidley finished second in the championship, won the Player's Challenge and signed to do a second year of Atlantic with Lynx Racing.
And now we come to 1998, with Lynx Racing still leading the way down the path defined by destiny's footsteps.
The team, owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, has won each of the four KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship races so far this year. Gidley, now in his second year with the team and still driving Carpentier's 1996 championship car, won in the rain at Long Beach. He was leading when rain stopped the Gateway race just past the halfway point, and dominated every lap in a Carpentier-like performance at Milwaukee.
Gidley leads the championship battle with 74 points, followed by Andrew Bordin with 59 points and Lynx Racing teammate Buddy Rice in third with 42 points. In the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, a win is worth 20 points, with an additional point awarded for the pole position and one for leading the most laps during the race.
"So far we're having the kind of season I've worked for and dreamed about all my life," says Gidley, 28, of Novato, California. "With Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron having led the way, the path I need to take to realize my ambition to drive in CART is clear... a dominant season with a championship at the end. It's not an easy thing to do in a series full of fast, hungry drivers, but that's the same sort of environment there is in CART, and if you can succeed here, then you can succeed there."
Lynx Racing's remarkable rookie, Buddy Rice, was on the pole in his first-ever Atlantic race... Long Beach... and won his second-ever race... Nazareth, in a performance that saw him lap all but the top three cars. He finished 14th at Long Beach due to a pair of off-course excursions, and fourth at Gateway in a race where there were only eight laps of green-flag racing. He finished 10th at Milwaukee after stopping to replace a shredded right-front tire and working his way back up from the back of the 23-car field.
"I've had some good luck and some bad luck so far, but I've always had a good car when the green flag drops," says Rice, 22, of Phoenix, Arizona. "It's both an advantage and a responsibility being with a team as good as Lynx Racing in the middle of a winning streak, even if it is my teammate doing most of the winning so far. Everyone's expectations are high, but they're also bending over backwards to make sure both Memo and I get equally good cars every time we go out. And I'm getting a real education about car setup, track strategy and how much work it is to be competitive at the top levels of auto racing."
Both Gidley and Rice, as well as last year's champion, Alex Barron, are graduates of Lynx Racing's 'junior team', DSTP Motorsports, which competes in the U.S. F2000 Championship. That team, like Lynx Racing, is owned by a woman, Dede Rushton.
The Player's Challenge for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship begins with a one-hour practice session from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, June 5. Qualifying will take place from 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday afternoon.
The Atlantic cars will take the grid at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, June 6, with the 27-lap/75 mile race scheduled to take the green flag at 2:30 p.m. The traditional Atlantic standing start will be used.
The race will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN International on Saturday, June 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. In Canada, the race will air on CTV the same day from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.
For further information, please visit the team's web site at www.LynxRacing.com.