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Friday, June 13, 1997 . The Player's Challenge for the 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is the fifth race of the 12-race SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned Atlantic championship. The KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic ...

Friday, June 13, 1997

. The Player's Challenge for the 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is the fifth race of the 12-race SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned Atlantic championship. The KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic communications staff of James Hyneman, Blair Hefty, and Anne Roy will be available throughout this Formula One race weekend to assist in your media needs.

. Now in its 24th year, the $1.38-million 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship is the richest and longest-running open-wheel development series in North America, and a primary training ground for future Indy Car and Formula One drivers. . 39 drivers are entered including Long Beach race winner and current points leader Alexandre Tagliani; Homestead race winner Anthony Lazzaro; and Alex Barron, who has won the last two consecutive Atlantic races at Nazareth and Milwaukee. Tagliani holds a slim three-point margin over his closest challenger Lazzaro, 49-46. Barron is only five points off the championship pace with 44 points, followed by Lynx Racing teammate Memo Gidley with 39 points. Case Montgomery rounds out the top-five points leaders with 38. . TRACK: 2.747-miles / 4.421-km road course (Ile Notre-Dame Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit) . RECORDS: Qual.: Patrick Carpentier 1:40.373-sec/96.480 mph Ralt RT-41 6/96 Race Lap: Patrick Carpentier 1.38.184-sec/98.631 mph Ralt RT-41 6/96

. SCHEDULE (ET):Fri. June 13 practice : 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. qualifying: 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sat. June 14 RACE: 2:30 p.m. (ET) 27 laps =74.169 mi. . PAST MONTREAL RACE WINNERS: 1978 Jeff Wood 1989 Scott Goodyear 1979 Howdy Holmes 1990 J.O. Cunningham 1980 Jacques Villeneuve 1991 Jimmy Vasser 1981 Kevin Cogan 1992 Chris Smith 1982 Tim Coconis 1993 Jacques Villeneuve 1983 Roberto Moreno 1994 Richie Hearn 1986 Scott Goodyear 1995 David Empringham 1996 Patrick Carpentier

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. LAST YEAR: Patrick Carpentier, of Joliette, Que., claimed victory in round five at Montreal. It was Carpentiers fifth career Players/Toyota Atlantic Championship triumph and his second victory of the year. Carpentier started from the pole of the 34-car grid, while Jeret Schroeder started on the outside pole. Both Carpentier and Schroeder were slow at the trademark standing start, but Carpentier kept his lead and won the race flag-to-flag. Carpentier completed the 27-lap sprint in 44 minutes, 55.555 seconds at an average speed of 96.999 mph (156.07 km/h) around the 2.74-mile (4.41-kilometre) Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road course. Carpentier improved his Atlantic Championship lead to 15 points over Lee Bentham, 85-70. Montgomery stayed at third place with 57 points. . PRIZE MONEY (US): total race purse $85,000 winner's earnings $20,000

. LAP/MILE LEADERS: Position Driver Laps Led Miles Led

1 Alex Barron (R) 120 120.000 2 Case Montgomery 37 52.750 3 Alexandre Tagliani 24 38.160 4 Chuck West 9 12.600 5 Memo Gidley (R) 6 8.400 6 Anthony Lazzaro 4 5.790 TOTALS 140 237.700

. JOE SPOSATO, of Arcadia, Calif., will officially cross the "century mark" for Atlantic races when Saturdays green lights are lit. Sposato, who successfully completed his 100th career Atlantic race with an 11th-place finish after starting 17th at Long Beach, first started racing in the Atlantic championship in July, 1975, at Mosport Park, Ont., Canada.

. This year's event is round one of the Player's Challenge for the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship. The Player's Challenge will recognize the efforts of the 15 highest placing Atlantic drivers who earn the most points in the series' Canadian Atlantic events. A total prize fund of $70,000 (US) has been set aside solely for the 1997 Player's Challenge for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. . The Player's Challenge prize fund consists of $60,000, which will be distributed among the top-15 points leaders in the four Canadian Atlantic events run at Montreal, Toronto, Trois-Rivieres, and Vancouver, and includes $10,000 to the winner of the Players Challenge. . An additional $10,000 has been set aside for the top three finishing Canadian drivers competing in Canadian races, and includes $5,000 being awarded to the Canadian driver who scores the most points among fellow Canadian drivers.

* * * . Bio Addendum - - Carol Soucy, Sept-Iles, Quebec, Canada, (R) birthdate: Aug. 29, 1995, Rimouski, Quebec

background: former F-1 and F-3 snowmobile racer - former factory driver for snowmobile power Bombardier -competed in F-1 snowmobiles between 1980 and 1983 - moved to snowmobile drag racing between 1984 and 1989 - competed in F-3 snowmobile racing 1990 to 1992 - attended Spenard racing school in 1991 - first ran in a "Formula" style car in Sept. 1996 in FF1600 - competed in 125cc karting competitions throughout Canada in 1995-1996

1996 season: ran a limited schedule in FF 1600

1997 season: ran three SCCA-sanctioned national Formula Atlantic races at Chandler, Ariz.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Blackhawk Farm, Ill., in a Ralt RT-41 - won the pole position at Corpus Christi, set a new track record for "fastest lap, and finished second place in the race

personal: married (Monique Duguay) - children (Caroline, 18; Jean-Francois, 16) - owner of Heli-Excel, a commercial helicopter operation - commercial pilot licenses for airplanes and helicopters - enjoys snowmobiles and outdoor sports

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. Bio Addendum - - Stephane Roy, Saint-Sauveur, Que. (R) birthdate: May 30, 1970, Saint-Sauveur, Que.

background: named Russell School Championship "Rookie-of-the-Year" and finished third place in the Jim Russell North American championship in 1992 - finished fourth place in 1993 Jim Russell Formula 2000 Championship - scored three top-eight finishes in the 1994 National Esso Protec Series, including two second place showings in the Provincial championship - finished 12th in the Canadian Formula 1600 behind two victories, one second place and one third place at the provincial level - also drive for the Jim Russell Racing Team at the national level

1996 season: test driver for Team Raven in Formula Atlantic

personal: single - started downhill skiing at age three and was into competitive downhill racing at age five - enjoys water skiing, mountain biking, and snowboarding.

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PRACTICE SESSION

8:49 a.m. - - Session begins for a scheduled 60-minutes under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60s -- a total of 39 cars will officially attempt single-car qualifying this afternoon

8:55 - - #21 CAMIRAND makes side-side contact with #66 TAGLIANI, forcing #66 TAGLIANI into the turn 14 run-off -- brings out a local YELLOW -- a crane is required to lift #66 TAGLIANI and return it to pit lane.

9:27 - - #32 BARRON stops off course after contacting the turn eight guard rail -- driver out and okay -- brings out a local YELLOW -- car is towed back to pit lane.

9:36 - - SESSION ENDS with:

#33 BERTRAND GODIN, of St. Hyacinthe, Que., fastest in Player's Forsythe Racing Ralt RT-40 at 1:40.033 = 98.859 mph.

#25 TONY AVE, of Indianapolis, Ind., is second fastest in the Olsson Engineering-Fisher Dynamics/Schuler Design Ralt RT-41 at 1:40.20 = 98.185 mph.

#96 JERET SCHROEDER, of Vineland, N.J., is third fastest in the PPI-MCI Telecommunications Ralt RT-41 at 1:40.827 = 98.080 mph.

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#66 ALEXANDRE TAGLIANI (Player's Forsythe Racing Team-Player's/Indeck) "At the beginning of the warm-up, I was really surprised at how well my car was handling. As soon as my tires were warmed up, I thought I'd try to do a fast lap. I tried to pass a rookie (#21 Camirand) on the inside of the last chicane. He never saw me and touched my left rear tire. Maybe I was too aggressive at the beginning, and I ended up missing the practice session because of that. Theres damage to the left wishbone and the tunnel, but it should all be repaired in time for this afternoons qualifying session."

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#35 DAVID POOK (BDJS-HYPE ENERGY Drink/Budweiser/Atomic Clothing) "We thought we had made some positive changes to the car, but things did not feel right with the brakes. It made the corners difficult. This is a great circuit to drive and I want the opportunity to enjoy the qualities this track has to offer. I intend on improving my position this afternoon. Oh yeah, I learned a new French phrase, Plus vite, plus vite (faster, faster)." (Nicole Lascelle)

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#32 ALEX BARRON (Lynx Racing-Lynx Racing/Victory Circle/Red Line Oil) "In the second chicane on the back side of the corner, I was setting up to pass a slower car and he missed a shift. It was like he went into first and the car suddenly slowed. I ran over his rear wheel. My car is pretty thoroughly bent, but its repairable and Im sure the crew will have it in top shape for qualifying." (Peter Frey)

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#95 LEO PARENTE (PPI-MCI Telecommunications) "It has been a working session for myself and the team. We have a couple of minor challenges to work through for qualifying and we'll be ready. We're all excited with Jeret's great performance." (Sharon Villanueva)

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#96 JERET SCHROEDER (PPI-MCI Telecommunications) "I'm excited to be back in Montreal. It a very energetic city. The track and facility is well taken care of, and it's always nice to run with Formula One. Being third quickest in the practice session is a good starting point. Through the direction of Carroll Smith and the entire team, the car is definitely better. A couple of more races and I know we'll be consistently where we are today. Last year, I did very well with a second place position, so Im ready for the race and battling for a win" (Sharon Villanueva)

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Scott Goodyear , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Jeret Schroeder , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Richie Hearn , Alex Barron , Anthony Lazzaro , David Empringham , Howdy Holmes , Chris Smith , Jeff Wood , Kevin Cogan , Lee Bentham