West Allis, WI -- Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge, 21, of Vancouver BC and Mike Conte 31, of Seattle, Washington, improved from their 8th and 10th-place qualifying positions, respectively, to finish 4th and 7th, respectively in the...
West Allis, WI -- Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge, 21, of Vancouver BC and Mike Conte 31, of Seattle, Washington, improved from their 8th and 10th-place qualifying positions, respectively, to finish 4th and 7th, respectively in the 60-lap fourth round of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Miller Lite 225 at the Milwaukee Mile this afternoon. As a result, Rutledge, who has now scored top-five finishes in the last three races - including a second in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15 - moved up from 5th in the championship points battle to a tie for fourth. Both he and Rocky Moran Jr. have 39 points. Mike Conte is in 10th with 15 points. Two-time winner Buddy Rice (a Lynx Racing graduate now driving for DSTP Motorsports), who did not finish today, continues to lead with 61 points, and pole-sitter PPI Racing driver Daniel Wheldon is second with 51 points. PPI driver Andrew Bordin is in third with 50 points. In the CART Toyota Atlantic series, 20 points are awarded for a win. In perfect racing weather, clear and cool with only a light breeze, Rutledge and Conte moved up quickly when the green flag dropped at 3:17 pm this afternoon. By lap 9 they had moved up to 6th and 8th when a two-car accident in turn four of the historic 1.023-mile oval at Milwaukee bought out a lengthy yellow flag and bunched the field. On lap 35, Rice and Wheldon, who had been conducting a fierce battle at the front of the field, touched wheels and both spun at high speed on the front straight. Both had to pit multiple times to repair damage, and Rice was ultimately not able to continue, while Wheldon was able to re-join the event, finishing two laps down in 13th. "The team gave me a pretty good race car, and we did about as well as we could considering where we qualified," said Rutledge. "I was working like mad to get a podium finish for the team, and the car was very well balanced, but I just couldn't get the speed I needed off the corners and down the straight. This is a problem we've been battling, and we're starting to get a handle on it. The next oval isn't until St. Louis near the end of the season, so we're all looking forward to the next race at Montreal because we've got a really good road course setup that Buddy Rice almost won with last year. And I finished about 6th, as I recall, so it's a race at which we should do very well." Mike Conte lost touch with the lead group early, but enjoyed several ferocious battles of his own in the second group, battling wheel to wheel with Hoover Orsi, Alex Gurney and Rocky Moran Jr. for most of the race. "Traffic was the biggest problem because Milwaukee is a momentum track and it's so short that just about the time you build up a good head of steam you come up on some slower traffic that destroys your rhythm," says Conte. "It was pretty busy back where I was, and I was like a one-armed paper hanger in the cockpit fiddling with the anti-roll bars and weight jackers several times each lap. The car was good, but I had contact with several people and got sideways several times as a result, so I'm not unhappy with the results, I just wish the race were a few laps longer because I'm sure I could have finished a couple of places closer to the front." Martin Basso, of Argentina, scored his first ever CART Toyota Atlantic victory today at the Milwaukee Mile. Andrew Bordin, of Canada, finished in second place, 3.036 seconds behind Basso, while Hoover Orsi of Brazil was third. The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship continues Saturday, June 17, at the Grand Prix Air Canada in Montreal.
<pre> 1. (2), Martin Basso (R), 60, Running. 2. (3), Andrew Bordin, 60, Running. 3. (6), Hoover Orsi (R), 60, Running. 4. (8), David Rutledge, 60, Running. 5. (5), Alex Gurney,60, Running. 6. (7), Rocky Moran Jr., 60, Running. 7. (10), Mike Conte, 60, Running. 8. (9), David Cutler,60, Running. 9. (12), William Langhorne, 60, Running. 10.(13), Bob Perona, 60, Running. 11.(16), Stephen C. Roy (R), 60, Running. 12.(11), T.J. Bell (R), 59, Running. 13.(1), Daniel Wheldon (R), 58, Running. 14.(14), Masaoki Nagashima, 58, Running. 15.(15), Akihiro Asai (R), 58, Running. 16.(17), Christophe Beauvais, 58, Running. 17.(4), Buddy Rice, 38, Mechanical. 18.(19), Pete Mercier (R), 7, Contact. 19.(18), Joey Scarallo (R) 7, Contact.
</pre> The race will be televised via espn2 on Sunday, June 11 at 10:00 am (EDT) with an encore presentation on Wednesday, June 14 at 5:00 am (EDT). Round 5 of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic season takes place on June 17 in Montreal, Canada, as the primary support event to the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. 2000 marks the 10th anniversary of Lynx Racing, one of the most unique organizations in auto racing today. Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx is both a championship winning racing team and a uniquely successful driver development program that focuses on a driver's spiritual and psychological growth in addition to their on-track skills. The Lynx mission is to seek out young drivers with the desire and potential to become champions at the highest levels of the sport and provide them with the funding, equipment and training to take the last step toward realizing that potential, a process the team calls 'destiny by design.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley.