Mid-Ohio Race Summary

WILDEN TAKES WILD RIDE EN ROUTE TO ATLANTIC VICTORY AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 15, 1999 -- Pole-sitter Kenny Wilden overcame an off-course excursion, dropping him to fourth early in the race, then steadily made his way back to...

WILDEN TAKES WILD RIDE EN ROUTE TO ATLANTIC VICTORY AT MID-OHIO

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 15, 1999 -- Pole-sitter Kenny Wilden overcame an off-course excursion, dropping him to fourth early in the race, then steadily made his way back to the front to take the lead with one lap to go to earn his second career KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship victory Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, part of the Miller Lite 200 weekend. Wilden, of Burlington, Ont., Canada, started on the pole for the second time this season, only to overshoot turn one on the third lap, handing over the lead to points leader Anthony Lazzaro. From there, Lazzaro appeared headed to his fourth victory, building a four-second lead before Buddy Rice worked his way up to Lazzaro, passing him for the lead on lap 21. Wilden, in the Michael Shank Racing-Newcourt/TrizecHahn Swift, passed Lazzaro for second on lap 23, then slipped past Rice on lap 29 of the 30-lap race. The alternator on Rice's Lynx Racing Swift gave way on the next-to-last lap, and Rice was forced to park the race car on the front straight on the final lap. Wilden went on to beat runner-up Alex Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., Canada, by .767 second, and averaged 101.06 miles per hour in the race not slowed by a full-course caution. Lazzaro, in the PPI-MCI WorldCom car, finished third. "I made a really big mistake at turn one, and am very fortunate," Wilden said of his third-lap blunder. "My initial thought was 'survival'. I couldn't let my emotions get the best of me. But I was fairly confident of the car, and the car was working so well. After the Trois-Rivieres race, we were very confident and we learned a lot and made some changes for this race. I felt I had enough to catch Buddy. I just tried to be patient, and the car was handling like it was on rails." Lazzaro's sixth podium finish kept him atop the championship standings with 134 points, 34 ahead of Tagliani with four races left. Wilden, who earned his first Atlantic victory last year at Cleveland, narrowed the gap with Talgiani but remained in third place in the championship with 96 points. Rice, who suffered his second straight mechanical ailment while battling for the lead, holds fourth with 74 points. Lost in all this was Tagliani's steady race, battling Wilden, Lazzaro and Andrew Bordin, who finished fourth. Tagliani's second-place finish was his fifth podium of the season. "My car was very good in the keyhole, but it was a little bit too late with Kenny," said Tagliani, the Player's-Forsythe driver who won at Long Beach and Montreal. "My car was not perfect and Kenny seemed to have a really good car, and drove a great race. It was a tough race, but we're glad to get the podium." Lazzaro looked fast after inheriting the lead on the third lap, but said that the lack of time in the car this weekend due to Saturday's rain kept the team from testing the set-up for long term. "Obviously, the first priority is to gain championship points, and with a 34-point lead left, hey, I can work with that," said Lazzaro, who had fallen to fourth before Rice dropped out late. "I kind of felt bad for Buddy. It's too bad about his car. But we've had good luck this year, and I've had many years when I had bad luck." Bordin, in the PPI-Thyssen/Player's/Millennium Data Swift, started second and battled with the Wilden-Rice-Lazzaro-Tagliani group throughout the contest, finishing fourth, for his fourth top-five finish of the year. William Langhorne continued to impress on road courses, starting 11th in his Active Motorsports-Joshua Homes/M.A.G. of Dublin/MS Society Swift, and finishing an Atlantic career-high fifth. Rocky Moran, Jr., in only his second-ever Atlantic race, was impressive as well, starting ninth in the P-1 Racing-Compaq/Epigram Swift, and finishing sixth. Matt Sielsky, one of the top rookies from last year, made his 1999 Atlantic debut, subbing for John Brooks in the BBGP Racing-Port-A-Cool/Dyno Overlays Swift. Sielsky started 25th after failing to qualify, but went on place 14th. Nicolas Rondet, in the World Speed Motorsports Harmony School/Martini Sunglasses Swift, started fourth, but had contact with Lee Bentham on the opening lap, forcing Rondet to retire at that point. Bentham, in the Player's-Forsythe Swift, pitted and returned to the field, but one lap down. After the race, Rondet was penalized two championship points and $1,000 for the "unjustifiable risk" that resulted in his contact with Bentham. Wilden won the $1,000 "MCI WorldCom Fast Pace Award" for posting the race's fastest lap at 1:17.714. Wilden also earned the $1,000 "Toyota Pole Award." Rice's pass on Lazzaro for the lead garnered Rice the $1,000 "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. ESPN2 will televise Sunday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 5 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Monday, Aug. 23, at 2:00 a.m., and on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 5:00 a.m. The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race on Saturday, Aug. 21. Check local listing for the RDS time. ESPN International will televise the Mid-Ohio race on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 5 p.m. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV SportsNet is airing the race on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. in all local markets. The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship continues Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Target Grand Prix in Cicero, Ill.

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Series ATLANTIC