Billy Asaro will compete in this weekend's Toyota-Atlantic (Formula Atlantic) race at the Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway in California. The nineteen-year-old from Markham, Ontario, will drive the number 33 Western Union / Bellville Rodair International car fielded by Duesenberg Brothers Racing.
"I'm very excited about this," remarked Asaro. "Atlantic cars are pretty high-tech, very nimble and, from what I've heard, a lot of fun to drive. I'm looking forward to the experience."
Duesenberg Brothers Racing, based in Denver, Colorado, has been watching Billy closely, primarily due to the interest of Team Manager Dave McMillan. Formerly the manager of a Toyota-Atlantic effort for Forsythe Racing, McMillan was introduced to Asaro last year when the young racer was involved with Forsythe's Driver Development Program. Although both of those Forsythe programs have since been cancelled, McMillan stayed in touch with Asaro, leading to an introduction to the Duesenberg team.
Keith Duesenberg, Head of Duesenberg Brothers Racing, is pleased to have Billy driving his car at Laguna Seca and said, "We've had our eye on Billy and think he's a driver with a lot of potential. We're ecstatic to have him with us this weekend."
Racing in the Atlantic series marks a significant step in Asaro's graduation through the ranks of racing. He started racing karts at the age of ten and won a Canadian Grand National Karting Championship when he was fifteen. The following year he moved on to cars and began to pursue a career in a premier open-wheel racing series. The Toyota-Atlantic series is just one step away from the big league of CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Champ Cars.
In addition to it's significance as a step on his ladder, this weekend's race will also serve as a satisfying reward for Billy's successful season in the US Formula 2000 series which concluded on September 30. He won three races and scored seven top-three finishes en route to becoming the series' Oval Crown Champion and National Championship runner up.
"This is a great way to end the year," said Billy. "I'm very thankful to Duesenberg Brothers Racing for this opportunity and I'm hopeful I'll be able to race in the Atlantic series next year."
Having never driven an Atlantic car or visited the Laguna Seca track, Asaro will have to learn fast this weekend as the Toyota-Atlantic drivers have just 30 minutes to practice on Friday morning. Half-hour qualifying sessions will be held Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, setting the stage for a 30-lap race on Saturday afternoon at 3:15 local time.