Toronto race preview

THE CART TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP Round 7, Molson Indy Toronto July 14-16, Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Cleveland race winner Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports/Swift 008.a) will lead the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship to the Molson Indy ...

Round 7, Molson Indy Toronto
July 14-16, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

Cleveland race winner Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports/Swift 008.a) will lead the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship to the Molson Indy Toronto this weekend, for Round Seven of the 2000 Championship.

The 35-lap (60.235 miles) Toyota Atlantic race on the 1.721-mile temporary street course, is the main Sunday support race, for the featured FedEx Championship Series event that runs later that afternoon. The Toyota Atlantic green flag is scheduled for noon.

Rice, who led from the green flag at Cleveland on July 2, has already earned three victories and one pole position in six events, the other two wins coming on March 25, in the second leg of the Miami double header, and then on April 15, at Long Beach. Currently leading the Championship with 82 points, Rice has led all but 41 laps of the 202 he has completed so far this season. Although he is among the favorites heading into Toronto, he can expect to be challenged by this year's stellar crop of rookies and several strong veterans.

Rookies Daniel Wheldon (PPI Motorsports/Swift 008.a), Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing / 3B Engine Valves / Swift 008.a) and Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/Swift 008.a), have each made at least two podium (top-three finish) appearance this season and could realistically score the win at Toronto. England's Wheldon has stormed into the Atlantic Championship in 2000, and has earned three poles and three podiums (first at Miami #1, second at Miami #2, third at Montreal). The 1999 USFF2000 rookie of the year and series champion, currently sits second overall with 73 points, and has been the top contender for Atlantic rookie-of-the-year honors all season long.

Argentinean Basso recorded his first podium of the season at Milwaukee on June 3, claiming the win in his first ever-oval appearance. Basso went on to finish second at Cleveland, and has recorded three additional top-six finishes, enough to secure him fourth place in the drivers standings, and second in the rookie race, with 66 points. Brazil's Orsi, had earned three, third place finishes and one additional top five. He currently sits seventh overall.

Alex Gurney, (All American Racers/Swift 008.a) son of racing legend, Dan, earned his first Toyota Atlantic pole at Cleveland, and set a new track qualifying record for the effort. Although Gurney suffered mechanical failure on the 23rd race lap, the team's performance at Cleveland should keep them in the hunt for the win at Toronto.

Toronto native Andrew Bordin, (PPI Motorsports/Swift 008.a) is also looking to score his first victory of the season in his hometown. Bordin, who led the drivers into Cleveland, has recorded five top-six finishes, including three podiums in the last four races. The 24 year-old driver earned second place finishes at Milwaukee and Montreal, and was third in Long Beach, but secured only two championship points in Cleveland, finishing 11th, after a damaged tire ended his race one lap from the end. He dropped into third place in the standings, four points behind teammate Wheldon.

Fellow Canadian David Rutledge (Lynx Racing/Swift 008.a) is also hungry for another win after earning his first career Atlantic victory at Montreal. Rutledge also earned his first Atlantic pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix, and is hoping to repeat the performance on home turf.

Rocky Moran Jr. (P-1 Racing/NTN Bearing/Swift 008.a) has been consistent throughout the 2000 race season; scoring six top-10 finishes, including a season best third, during the second race at Miami. He is also among the strong and steady heading into the weekend.

Jean-Francois Veilleux returns to Atlantic racing at Toronto. The young Canadian racer will join World Speed Motorsports for the Molson Indy and the Grand Prix Player's de Trois Rivieres. Veilleux's last race was at the season openers in Miami, where he recorded ninth and tenth place finishes.

Other Canadians comfirmed for Toronto include: Christophe Beauvais, Stephane C. Roy, Bruno St. Jacques, Cam Binder and Eric Jensen.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Gurney , Martin Basso , Hoover Orsi , David Rutledge , Christophe Beauvais , Rocky Moran Jr. , Buddy Rice , Eric Jensen , Andrew Bordin , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing