Trois Rivieres preview

The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship moves to Trois Rivières, Quebec, this weekend to participate in Canada's most historic street race. First run in 1967, the Grand Prix de Trois Rivières, was an innovation in North America, and the first...

The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship moves to Trois Rivières, Quebec, this weekend to participate in Canada's most historic street race. First run in 1967, the Grand Prix de Trois Rivières, was an innovation in North America, and the first motor race in Canada to take place on city streets. The 45 lap (68.43 mile) Atlantic race, held on the 1.521-mile temporary street course, is Sunday's main event on the weekend schedule and is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. The Atlantic Championship's first appearance in Trois Rivières was in 1974, when American Tom Klauser, took the checkered flag.

Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports/Swift 008.a) continues to lead this year's championship after posting his fifth podium finish of the season in Toronto two weeks ago. Rice, who finished second at the Molson Indy Toronto, has the impressive distinction of having earned a podium spot in every race he has completed so far this year.

Rice will continue to be challenged in Trois Rivières by PPI Motorsports teammates, Andrew Bordin and rookie Daniel Wheldon. Bordin, who scored his first win of the season at home in Toronto, is seven points behind Rice and has the championship very much on his mind. Besides the win, Bordin has earned one-third place finish (Long Beach) and two-second place finishes (Milwaukee and Montreal) this season.

British rookie Wheldon, who remained third in the points after earning  
a third place finish at Toronto, is four points behind Bordin and nine  
behind Rice.  He has led the rookie championship all season long.       
Wheldon has acquired points in all but one race this season, his best   
finish coming at the season opener in Miami, where he recorded his      
first ever Atlantic win, in his first ever Atlantic race.               

Also vying for top rookie honors is Argentinean, Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing / 3B Engine Valve/ Swift 008.a), who currently stands fourth in the championship. Basso has six top six finishes so far this season, including a win at Milwaukee, and trails Wheldon by 11 points.

Drivers on the fast track:

William Langhorne (Active Motorsports/findthe.com/ Swift 008.a) has recorded three top five finishes in a row and heads into Trois Rivières in eighth place. Langhorne, who qualified third in Toronto, finished fifth at Montreal and Cleveland, and recorded a season best fourth place finish at the Molson Indy.

Rocky Moran, Jr. (P-1 Racing / NTN Bearings/ Swift 008.a) continues to pull his way up the championship ladder. Moran Jr. has earned seven top-eight finishes, recording a podium at Miami (third), and is currently fifth overall in the points.

Jean-Francois Veilleux, who has not race Atlantic since the season opener, joined World Speed Motorsports for the Toronto race and posted an impressive sixth place finish. Veilleux will participate at Trois Rivières with World Speed.

Newcomers:

Canadian racer Marc-Antoine Camirand will also be driving for World Speed Motorsports at Trois Rivières. Camirand currently competes in the US Formula 2000 Championship and is in the midst of a championship battle with Aaron Justus. He will also race USFF 2000 over the weekend.

Frederic Gosparini of France will join Cobb Racing for the weekend. Gosparini, who raced Indy Lights in 1997, has most recently been competing in Spain.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:

Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports) 1st in points "Trois-Rivieres is a huge race for us. Atlantics are the headline event and the support from the fans in Quebec is just incredible. The track itself is very tricky to set-up for because it has just about every possible element to it. There's a combination of high- speed straights, sweepers, short chutes and tight hairpins, so you need to have everything working right to put down a fast lap. It's a great track to race on and certainly one of my favorite towns to come to each year."

Andrew Bordin (PPI Motorsports/ WorldCom/Thyssen/Team Player's) 2nd in points "Winning Toronto was such a great experience and now I'd like to do it all again in Trois Rivières. We're definitely in the hunt for the championship and we're going to give it everything to get there. What can I say about Trois Rivières? It's an amazing place. I've been racing there since 1995 and it is the best. The track, the really cool fans, the great restaurants. They love Atlantic racing so much there and it's so great to go there because they appreciate us so much. They paddock is wide open and you get the same people coming back to see you year after year to see how you're doing. I was really busy at Toronto with friends, family and sponsors and now going to Trois Rivières is going to be a nice change of pace. We still want the top spot on the podium though!"

Rocky Moran Jr. (P-1 Racing/ NTN Bearing Corp.) -- 5th in points "Trois Rivières was where it all began for me last year. I ran my first race there and I spent a lot of time figuring out the car. It's a very cool place with great race fans and it's fun to be the main event for the weekend. We've been working really hard this year and we are relentless. Our goal is to get a win before the end of the season, and with five races left, anything is still possible. At Toronto, I got knocked back to last place after a spin and we recovered enough to finish seventh. I think that the key is to keep pushing, keep it off the walls and bring it home. I'm looking forward to this weekend and would be just as happy if it rained. I love running in the rain."

William Langhorne (Active Motorsports/ findthe.com) 8th in points "I really love Trois Rivières, the circuit is great, the fans are great, they are ultra enthusiastic about their racing. There's nothing like racing to packed stands. We've been making improvements to the car all season long and have done some work this week after Toronto. We know what our strengths are and we are trying to use them. We really want to continue improving the way we have, and I'm confident we'll have a good weekend in Trois Rivières.

<pre> TOP TEN

Pos.  Driver Pts
1       Buddy Rice                  98
2       Andrew Bordin               91
3       Daniel Wheldon (R)          87
4       Martin Basso (R)            76
5       Rocky Moran Jr.             65
6       David Rutledge              60
7       Hoover Orsi (R)             52
8       William Langhorne           48
9       Mike Conte                  29
10     Alex Gurney                 25

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Friday, July 28:

Practice 9:25 a.m. -- 9:55 a Qualifying 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p .m.

Saturday, July 29:

Practice 9:25 a.m. -- 9:55 a Qualifying 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p .m.

Sunday, July 30:

Warm Up 8:05 a.m. -- 8:15 a.m RACE 1:45 p.m. (45 laps -- 68.43 miles)

</pre> LAST YEAR AT TROIS RIVIÈRES:

1999 -- Pole-sitter Anthony Lazzaro gave up the lead twice, then stormed back to earn his third straight Atlantic victory of the season at Trois Rivieres. Lazzaro took the lead for the final time, slipping past Alex Tagliani on lap 39 of the 45 lap race. Lazzaro went on to win by 1.516 seconds over second place Kenny Wilden. Nicolas Rondet earned his first podium finish of the season, finishing third.

TRACK RECORDS

Qualifying Record Anthony Lazzaro 1 min, 01.616 s 88.866 mph 07/31/1999

Race Record (avg. speed) Chris Smith 54 min, 08.428 s * 84.280 mph 08/16/1992

Fastest Race Lap Anthony Lazzaro 1 min, 01.726 s 88.708 mph 08/01/1999

(* Average speed of records recalculated according to CART's 1998 track measurement of 1.521 mile)

Track Type: 1.521-mile temporary street course

Past Winners

1974:   Tom Klausler (USA), Lola T360-Ford (G)  
1975:   Vittorio Brambilla (I), March 75B-Ford (G)      
1976:   Gilles Villeneuve (CDN), March 76B-Ford (G)     
1977:   Price Cobb (USA), March 77B-Ford (G)    
1978:   Bill Brack (CDN), March 78B-Ford (G)    
1979:   Howdy Holmes (USA), March 79B-Ford (G)  
1980:   Price Cobb (USA), March 80A-Ford (G)    
1981:   Jacques Villeneuve* (CDN), March 81A-Ford (G)   
1982:   Roberto Moreno (BR), Ralt RT-4-Ford (G) 
1983:   Michael Andretti (USA), Ralt RT-4-Ford (G)      
1985:   Dan Marvin (USA), Ralt RT-4-Ford (G)    
1989:   Jacques Villeneuve* (CDN), Swift DB-4-Ford (G)  
1990:   Brian Till (USA), Swift DB-4-Toyota (Y) 
1991:   Jacques Villeneuve* (CDN), Swift DB-4-Toyota (Y)        
1992:   Chris Smith (USA), Swift DB-4-Toyota (Y)        
1993:   David Empringham (CDN), Ralt RT-40-Toyota (Y)   
1994:   David Empringham (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)   
1995:   David Empringham (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)   
1995:   Richie Hearn (USA), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)       
1996:   Patrick Carpentier (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y) 
1996:   Patrick Carpentier (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y) 
1997:   Alexandre Tagliani (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y) 
1998:   Alexandre Tagliani (CDN), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)        
1999:   Anthony Lazzaro (USA), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)   

Past Polesitters

1974:   Patrick Depailler (F), March 74B-Ford (G)
1975:   Patrick Depailler (F), March 75B-Ford (G)
1976:   Gilles Villeneuve (CDN), March 76B-Ford (G)
1977:   Gilles Villeneuve (CDN), March 77B-Ford (G)
1978:   Jeff Wood (USA), March 78B-Ford (G)
1979:   Howdy Holmes (USA), March 79B-Ford (G)
1980:   Price Cobb (USA), March 80A-Ford (G)
1981:   Jacques Villeneuve* (CDN), March 81A-Ford (G)
1982:   Roberto Moreno (BR), Ralt RT-4-Ford (G)
1983:   Michael Andretti (USA), Ralt RT-4-Ford (G)
1985:   Michael Angus (USA), Ralt RT-4-Ford (G)
1989:   Jacques Villeneuve* (CDN), Swift DB-4-Ford (G)
1990:   Jacques Villeneuve* (CDN), Reynard 90H-Toyota (Y)
1991:   Claude Bourbonnais (CDN), Swift DB-4-Toyota (Y)
1992:   Stuart Crow (USA), Ralt RT-40-Toyota (Y)
1993:   Jacques Villeneuve** (CDN) ,Ralt RT-40-Toyota (Y)
1994:   David Empringham (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y) 
1995:   Richie Hearn (USA), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)
1995:   Richie Hearn (USA), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)
1996:   Patrick Carpentier (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)
1996:   Patrick Carpentier (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y) 
1997:   Alexandre Tagliani (CDN), Ralt RT-41-Toyota (Y)
1998:   Alexandre Tagliani (CDN), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)
1999:   Anthony Lazzaro (USA), Swift 008.a-Toyota (Y)

* Brother * Son of Gilles Villeneuve

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Alex Gurney , Michael Andretti , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Richie Hearn , Martin Basso , Marc-Antoine Camirand , Hoover Orsi , David Rutledge , Rocky Moran Jr. , Anthony Lazzaro , Gilles Villeneuve , David Empringham , Buddy Rice , Price Cobb , Andrew Bordin , Aaron Justus , Howdy Holmes , Claude Bourbonnais , Chris Smith , Jeff Wood , Rocky Moran , Patrick Depailler , Vittorio Brambilla , Michael An