Toyota Atlantic leader Dorricott Racing at Toronto: Jon Fogarty seeks to keep lead, Alex Gurney and Luis Diaz are close behind. TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 5, 2002) - It is becoming clear that the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship is still...
Toyota Atlantic leader Dorricott Racing at Toronto: Jon Fogarty seeks to keep lead, Alex Gurney and Luis Diaz are close behind.
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 5, 2002) - It is becoming clear that the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship is still wide open as it begins the second half of its season, Saturday, July 6, at the Molson Indy Toronto. However, after escaping from a muggy Chicago Motor Speedway last Sunday still leading in the Atlantic championship, Dorricott Racing welcomes its return to the familiar downtown Toronto street circuit and looks to plead a new case for its Atlantic championship pursuit.
The 35-lap (61.425 mile) Atlantic race around the 1.755- mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit of Toronto's Exhibition Place will be round seven of the 12-race series and is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will mark the 12th time since 1990 the Atlantic series has competed at Toronto, and is the featured support race for Sunday's CART FedEx Championship Molson Indy Toronto. Atlantic did not run in Toronto in 1999.
The top seven drivers in the Atlantic driver standings are separated by a mere 19 points along with 30 points covering the top 10. Leading the field is Dorricott Racing's Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., who holds a one point lead over Canadian Michael Valiante, 74-73.
Among those who could close on or pass Fogarty at Toronto are teammates Luis Diaz, of Mexico, and Alex Gurney, of Newport Beach, Calif.. Diaz is in fourth place but only fourteen points out of first place with 60 points.
Gurney, meanwhile, has kept in the title hunt through consistent high finishes but he is definitely "due" for another podium visit and quite possibly his first career Atlantic win. Gurney, who is in seventh place with 55 points, has a season-best second place finish at Long Beach, but has qualified four times this season in row two and has been in a position to win nearly every race to date.
"'I'll be working very hard to get a good result in Toronto for Dorricott Racing," said Gurney. "I loved racing there in 2000. The atmosphere is awesome and the fans love it. I've had a good feeling about this race for awhile and after a couple of rough weekends, I'll be going all out for a win. Fortunately, the championship is still wide open."
The one point championship advantage Fogarty holds is directly attributed to winning the pole at Chicago and claiming one bonus point. However, Dorricott Racing has more or less ruled Atlantic Qualifying this season in capturing three of the six pole positions to date. Diaz has earned two pole positions at Monterrey, Mexico, and Portland.
Fogarty leads the Atlantic Rookie-of-the-Year battle over Roger Yasukawa, 74-67. Moreover, Fogarty is attempting to become the first driver to win the season opening race and go on to win a Championship since Mark Dismore did it in 1990.
Fogarty and Valiante are tied at 50 in road course Championship points. Fogarty leads the oval points by one via his pole in Chicago. Next highest in road course points is Rocky Moran Jr. with 48.
Dorricott Racing's return to Toronto is steeped in success and lore from its days of dominating the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. In last year's Indy Lights race, current CART FedEx and former Dorricott Racing star, Townsend Bell, literally "swept" through the downtown street circuit to claim his third victory Indy Lights win in 2001.
Dorricott Racing's years of experience at Toronto greatly aided Bell in completing the 43-lap (75.465-mile) race in a track record time of 51:18.593 minutes despite three yellow flags that totaled six laps. Bell set an Indy Lights race record average speed of 88.246 mph in breaking teammate Geoff Boss's 1999 track record of 76.441 mph (59:14.033). After starting from the pole and leading every lap, Bell also managed to run the fastest race lap on lap 13 (1:05.124 = 97.015 mph).
Bell's teammates, Damien Faulkner, of Moville, Ireland, and Geoff Boss, of Narragansett, R.I., also had outstanding finishes. Faulkner finished third and Boss scored sixth place as a substitute for Fogarty, who was sidelined with a neck injury.
Speed Channel will provide a LIVE telecast of the Toyota Atlantic Championship from Toronto beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT), Saturday, July 6. Check http://www.toyotaatlantic.com for updated series information.
Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization with its race shop located in Bakersfield, Calif. Detailed race results, team,and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site,www.dorricottracing.com.