Fogarty Holds Off Late Charge for First Career Atlantic Win Dorricott Racing Wins in Maiden Event MONTERREY, Mexico--Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a) earned his first career CART Toyota ...
Fogarty Holds Off Late Charge for First Career Atlantic Win Dorricott Racing Wins in Maiden Event
MONTERREY, Mexico--Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a) earned his first career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship victory on a rain-soaked track today in Monterrey, Mexico. Fogarty seized the lead on the sixth lap from his teammate, Luis Diaz (Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014.a) of Mexico, and held off a late charge from Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (Michael Shank Racing Swift 008.a) to win by 0.884 seconds.
It was the first Atlantic race for Fogarty and the 2001 CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship team, Dorricott Racing. Although both Fogarty and Diaz, along with Dorricott Racing are new to the Atlantic Championship this year, they had experience on the 2.1-mile Fundidora Park track which they raced on last year while competing in the Indy Lights Championship. They made use of the experience all weekend long as Diaz won the $1000 Toyota Pole Award earlier in the day and Fogarty cashed in this afternoon.
"I enjoyed the wetness," said Dorricott's Fogarty. "It's kind of an improvisational game in wet weather with looking for grip and adapting to changing conditions. You have to get a feel for what is going on. You have to be able to read if you're getting a good drive coming out of the corners. You're racing more by feel than anything else at times. The track was constantly changing through the race. Early it was slippery everywhere. Once it began to dry, certain portions were better than others. Certain corners were good. Certain corners were bad. You had to be careful with each lap to see where the drive line was and avoid losing a quick pace. I don't like the big curves they installed. If you hit them, it's bad news. In passing Luis and getting to the front, it was fairly straight forward. I was along side of him before we even hit the brake zone. He didn't give me any trouble so I was able to pass him cleanly."
"I don't have much experience in the rain," said polesitter, Diaz. "I was trying to keep the car on a good line on the track and avoid mistakes. I couldn't fight Jon off. His moves were good. Then I misread some moves and he was able to slip past. Other drivers followed. I worked on keeping my position and finish the race. It worked out that I was able to move up and recapture a few more points. I am looking ahead to Long Beach to make up more points."
The start of the race was delayed for almost an hour due to heavy rain showers that soaked the track shortly before the scheduled 3:10 p.m. start time. After a wild first lap that saw Ryan Hunter-Reay (Hylton Motorsports/Medlock Ames Winery Swift 014.a) and Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift 014.a) make contact that damaged Hunter-Reay's car enough to retire from the event, the race settled down and stayed under the green flag for remainder of the show.
Dalziel (Michael Shank Racing Swift 008.a), who started the race from the tenth position, moved up through the field taking over second place from Alex Gurney (Dorricott Racing/Behr Castrol Swift 014.a) on the 15th lap in turn 6. Dalziel was 7.397 seconds behind Fogarty but whittled away at the lead and had closed it to 1.581 seconds by the time they took the white flag. Dalziel caught Fogarty midway through the final lap, but ran out of time to mount an attempt to take over the lead from Fogarty.
"The rain didn't bother me so much," said Dalziel. "It rains every day in Scotland, so maybe I had an advantage. Mike (Shank) gave me a car that was very good."
After spinning early in the race, Joey Hand also worked his way up through the field before making hard contact with Gurney on Lap 20. The damage to the rear wing of Gurney's car was severe enough to force him out of the race. Hand continued on with damage to the front left wing, but continued to close in on the top two throughout the remaining laps. Hand finished the race in third followed by Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing Swift 014.a) and Diaz.
"DSTP gave me a great race car for the rain, just like in Cleveland last year," said Hand. "In fact, we had the fastest car for most of the race. I had a run on Gurney out of the Turn 3-4 chicane. He moved outside and I couldn't stop and I hit him and went into the air. It bent the front wing and slowed me down through the long fast turns. Otherwise the car was still good."
"I had touched the wall a little at the start of lap 20 coming onto the front straightaway," said Gurney on the events that led up to the incident with Hand. "The car got a little bit loose and touched the wall with my right rear, and then my right front. I was slow through the next set of corners. Coming up to the hairpin, I protected the inside line. When it was time to hit the brakes I lined up on the right, set up for the corner and Joey Hand hit me hard in the back. He knocked a wing aside and that ended my race. I was hoping to hold on to third place. Congratulations to Jon. He ran a great race. It was a bad race for me so I'll look to get something back at Long Beach."
Alex Figge, who started and finished the race in 11th place, set the fastest race lap on his 21st tour of the wet Fundidora Park track with a time 1:38.898 seconds (76.588 mph). "This was my first time in the rain. I went off in the grass a couple times. For the first 10 laps there was no visibility. I'm just happy to be here."
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will take a month break before beginning Round 2 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14.