FAIRFIELD, N.J. (April 7, 1998) -- U.S. F2000 National Championship graduates had a perfect weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, April 3-4, sweeping the front row and the podium while setting new qualifying and race lap records in a rainy Round One of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.
A total of 10 former-U.S. F2000 drivers started the race, led by Lynx Racing teammates Buddy Rice, of Phoenix, and Memo Gidley, of San Rafael, Calif. Rice led the first six laps of his Atlantic career before Gidley snuck by, never looking back en route to a 0.770-second victory over Canadian Andrew Bordin and Italian Andrea De Lorenzi.
Gidley (No. 19 Lynx Racing Ralt), who finished second in the 1995 U.S. F2000 National Championship, continues the domination of Lynx Racing, which has won 17 of the last 25 Atlantic races, earning the last two series championships in the process. Gidley scored two wins en route to second place in the 1997 Atlantic Championship. Both Gidley and Rice, who won one race and finished fourth in the U.S. F2000 last year, were weaned through DSTP Motorsports, Lynxs U.S. F2000 driver development team.
Bordin, who finished third in the 1996 U.S. F2000 with six top-fives, had a disappointing season in the PPG/Dayton Indy Lights series last year, but posted a second at Long Beach. Bordin, driving the No. 2 B.D.J.S. Ralt, also set the fastest race lap.
De Lorenzi, who won a season-high three F2000 races in 1997, sliced through the soggy field to score a surprise Long Beach podium finish after starting 14th. Because he was never a series-registered driver in 1997, De Lorenzi scored no points. Had he registered, the Italian would have scored 129 points in just seven of the seasons 12 races -- good enough for seventh in the championship.
Despite an off-course excursion, Rice (No. 65 Lynx Racing Ralt) salvaged a 14th-place finish. Other former U.S. F2000 drivers included: Alexandre Tagliani, 10th; John Rutherford, 12th; Anthony Lazarro, 16th; David Rutledge, 20th; Matt Sielsky, 24th; and David Pook, 30th.
Other U.S. F2000 graduates in action at Long Beach included CART FedEx drivers Greg Moore and Alex Barron. 1992 USAC West F2000 Champion Moore finished 6th, and Barron, who won the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 1997, finished 14th.
Former F2000 Champions Chris Simmons (1992-1993 USAC East) and Mike Borkowski (1994 ACC) had rough outings in the Indy Lights segment of the weekend. Both drivers retired from competition and were classified 23rd and 25th, respectively. Another former F2000 pilot, Brian Cunningham, finished 22nd.
Alumni Report April 6, 1998
KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND ONE, LONG BEACH, CALIF., APRIL 4, 1998 Fin., St., No., Driver, Hometown, Car, Years in F2000 1, 2, 19, Memo Gidley, San Rafael, Calif., Lynx Racing/Ralt, 1995 2, 3, 2, Andrew Bordin, Woodbridge, Can., B.D.J.S.-Millenium Data Systems/Ralt, 1996 3, 14, 43, Andrea De Lorenzi, Ravenna, Italy, RDS Motorsports-AGIP/Ralt, 1997 10, 5, 66, Alexandre Tagliani, Lachenaie, Can., Forsythe-Players-Indeck/Ralt, 1994 12, 15, 22, John Rutherford, Ft. Worth, Texas, Mike Shank Racing-Pennzoil-FCG/Swift, 1993-94 14, 1, 65, Buddy Rice, Phoenix, Ariz., Lynx Racing/Ralt, 1996-97 16, 8, 25, Anthony Lazarro, Acworth, Ga., PPI-MCI Racing/Swift, 1994 20, 11, 78, David Rutledge, W. Vancouver, Can., Binder-TTF-Players-The Keg/Ralt, 1997 24, 21, 16, Matt Sielsky, Northbrook, Ill, D&L-LCI-Emerald Financial-Ralt, 1996-97 30, 12, 35, David Pook, Long Beach, Calif., Hylton Mtspt.-Budweiser-USprint/Swift, 1995-96
PPG-DAYTON INDY LIGHTS ROUND TWO, LONG BEACH, CALIF, APRIL 5, 1998 Fin., St., No., Driver, Hometown, Car, Years in F2000 22, 17, 15, Brian Cunningham, Lexington, Ky., LCI/Exide Electronics, 1992 23, 13, 78, Chris Simmons, E. Granby, Conn., Alco Capital Group/Nassi Group, 1992-94 25, 23, 41, Mike Borkowski, Dublin, Ohio, Textron Automotive, 1994
CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES ROUND THREE, LONG BEACH, CALIF., APRIL 5, 1998 Fin., St., No., Driver, Hometown, Car, Years in F2000 6, 14, 99, Greg Moore, Maple Ridge, Can., Players-Indeck/Reynard, 1992 14, 27, 36, Alex Barron, Vista, Calif., Castrol-Degree-Toyota/Reynard, 1996