THIRD VICTORY FOR EMPRINGHAM WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 1995) David Empringham of Toronto increased his lead in the Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship standings with his third win in five races, this time at the Milwaukee Mile. Patrick...
THIRD VICTORY FOR EMPRINGHAM
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 3, 1995) David Empringham of Toronto increased his lead in the Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship standings with his third win in five races, this time at the Milwaukee Mile. Patrick Carpentier of Jolliette, Quebec finished a half-second behind Empringham after starting at the back of the grid. Rookie Jim Guthrie of Albuquerque, New Mexico continued to display strong oval ability with a third-place finish.
"We were running real strong," said Empringham. "Halfway through the race when I had a considerable lead, I decided to pull it back a fair bit and try to cool the tires off. Knowing that Patrick was going as hard as he could to catch up, if there was a yellow, I wanted to have an advantage in that I hadn't worked my car too hard."
Canadians Empringham and Carpentier split the first four races of the 1995 Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship between them, making them the obvious favorites for race five at the Milwaukee Mile. But while Empringham cruised effortlessly and quickly through testing and practice sessions, his championship competition struggled horrendously.
Nevertheless, Carpentier's lot was better than that of Richie Hearn. Hearn's Della Penna Motorsports/Food-4-Less Ralt RT-41 suddenly veered into the wall only minutes before the end of testing on Thursday afternoon. Hearn suffered a broken third metacarpal on his right hand and a facial laceration lateral to his right eye and originally was not expected to be cleared to race. After further examination by Dr. Terry Trammell (Indy Car Director of Medical Services) he was cleared. Not so his car, however. The damage too severe for overnight repairs, the Della Penna team had to rent an older Ralt RT-40 from Stan Wattles' Metro Racing Systems.
Persistent rains on Friday eliminated the scheduled single-car qualifying session. The grid was set based on the times from Friday morning's practice, giving Empringham his first pole of the year but costing him the point he would have earned for winning the pole in a scheduled qualifying session. Case Montgomery put the Microsoft-sponsored Sandy Dells Racing Ralt RT-41 alongside Empringham on the front row.
The start was delayed one lap when Montgomery's engine cover blew off as the field approached the starter's stand at the end of the final pace lap. The debris was cleared quickly, the green came out at the end of lap one and Empringham quickly showed his heels to the front of the field.
Montgomery's problems had just begun, though. Three laps later he slowed, pitted and retired with a broken component in the right rear suspension.
While Empringham cruised easily in front of Felipe Giaffone and Clint Mears, Carpentier and Hearn began slicing through the rear of the field. Hearn, not comfortable in Wattles' older RT-40 and with his injured wrist, moved up to seventh then began holding place.
Carpentier continued moving. By lap 20 he was in fourth and closing on the leaders. On lap 39 he took over third. Two laps later he challenged Giaffone for second, running side-by-side all the way from Turn One to Turn Three and finally taking the position at the exit of Turn Four.
Carpentier turned the wick up yet another notch and began reeling in the leader. But Empringham was nearly half a lap in front and seemed unassailable despite being on cruise control -- until the final lap. Empringham slowed as he came up an ailing Colin Trueman entering Turn Three. Carpentier charged, closing rapidly but still half a second short at the checker.
Carpentier started 12th after struggling with an ill-handling car earlier in the weekend. He moved steadily through the field, but was unable to catch Empringham.
"During the race, the car got better and better towards the end, the more the gas tank got empty," Carpentier said. "It was very good, because I could go down and up and everywhere on the race track with the car and I could pass guys entering the corners. I was trying to go as hard as I could. I knew David slowed down a little bit toward the end to conserve his position. I was hoping the checkered flag would have been further down but it was not."
Empringham leads the Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship standings with 88 points. Carpentier is second (72), Richie Hearn of Newhall, Calif. third (70), Felipe and Zeca Giaffone of Sao Paulo, Brazil are fourth and fifth (48 and 42, respectively).
The next race will be in conjunction with the Grand Prix Molson du Canada Formula One race weekend in Montreal June 10. TELECAST INFORMATION: The fifth race of the 1995 Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship, held at the Milwaukee Mile on June 3, will be telecast as follows: ESPN, June 20, 1:00 a.m.; ESPN2 June 18, 5:00 p.m. and June 19, 2:30 p.m.; CTV (Canada), June 17, 3:00 p.m. The race was also broadcast in French on RDS (Canada) on a same-day delay basis.
CARPENTIER TO TALK TO PACIFIC, ELF: Lynx Racing driver Patrick Carpentier will be busy next week during the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. In addition to his duties driving the Lynx Racing Ralt RT-41 in the Atlantic series, Carpentier has discussions scheduled with representatives from Elf Petroleum and from the Pacific Formula team.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity," said Carpentier. "We are just beginning discussions. We will be having other talks as the season progresses. I would like very much to become a test driver for one of the Formula One teams."
VAN NIMAN IN CAST: Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship Chief Steward K.C. Van Niman was in a walking cast at Milwaukee after breaking his ankle in a post-race accident at Nazareth.
CAMERON TO DRIVE IN MONTREAL: Lynx Racing team manager Steve Cameron will return to active duty as a driver at the Montreal race. Cameron will drive a Reynard 92H for the new Prototype Atlantic Racing team. Prototype is a printed circuit board manufacturer with offices in New Hampshire and in Montreal. The effort will be based out of the Cameron/McGee garage along with Lynx Racing's entry for Patrick Carpentier.
"It will be fun to get back into a car in a racing situation," said Cameron. "I still drive quite a lot but all in testing. Peggy Haas (Lynx Racing principal) is quite supportive. My duties as team manager for Lynx Racing are really mostly administrative. Jimmy Griffith engineers the car and the crew is self-sufficient. Most of what I do on a race weekend is helping Patrick understand what he is feeling in the car and helping him communicate that to the crew. I'll be running in C2 class so it's not like I'm competing against Patrick. In reality driving myself should help because I'll have more direct information on how the track is."
"The last time I ran in Montreal was in 1992, also in a Reynard. I finished second and Patrick actually finished right behind me. He spent the entire race trying to figure out a way by me. I think I'll let him by a little bit easier this time around!"
PIT STOP COMPETITION HEATS UP: Once again this year several teams from the Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship will compete in two pit-stop competitions on the streets of Quebec and Trois- Rivieres. In Montreal the teams for David Empringham, Patrick Carpentier, Jonathan Clues, Felipe and Zeca Giaffone, Tony Nabico and Bernie Schuchmann will be competing. Since Atlantic races are springs, high-speed pit stops are not common for the Atlantic teams so the Giaffone/Phillips Motorsports team of Felipe and Zeca Giaffone will stop at Grattan Raceway in Michigan on their way from Milwaukee to Montreal to practice their pit lane ballet.
SORRY GUYS, I'M BUSY: Bernie Schuchmann is a former Canadian parachuting champion, attended Harvard Business School as the first step toward building a business that would support his racing career. Schuchmann declined an invitation to attend this year's reunion, however. Not that he was upset with his classmates, mind you. It was just that the reunion conflicted with Schuchmann's appearance in the Milwaukee race. As penance Schuchmann carried Harvard Business School Reunion signage on his Sandy Dells Racing-prepared Swift DB-4 and sent a videotape greeting to the attendees from the track.
ATLANTIC ALUMNI NEWS: 1993 Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic rookie of the year Jacques Villeneuve won the Indianapolis 500. Former Atlantic standout Bobby Rahal finished third. Eight former Atlantic regulars (Villeneuve, Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Hiro Matsushita, Scott Goodyear, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti) and one other Atlantic winner (Davey Jones) started the 500. Five of these drivers combined to lead 123 of the 200 laps.
Also on the Memorial Day weekend, Bill Auberlen (who may return as early as next week in Montreal) won the GTS2 class in the IMSA race at Lime Rock Park.
Arley Dealey Media Officer, Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship