Vancouver KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Race Report

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, Sept. 5, 1999 -- Rookie William Langhorne overcame a series of 'firsts' Sunday at the Molson Indy Vancouver, driving his Active Motorsports-MS Society Swift to his first career KOOL/Toyota Atlantic ...

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, Sept. 5, 1999 -- Rookie William Langhorne overcame a series of 'firsts' Sunday at the Molson Indy Vancouver, driving his Active Motorsports-MS Society Swift to his first career KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship victory. Langhorne's improbable victory in the rain made him the seventh Atlantic driver to win in 10 races this year, and second straight rookie driver to win his first Atlantic race. Langhorne, of Washington, D.C., jumped from fifth to first on the opening lap under rainy conditions as many cars spun or drove into runoff areas. Langhorne led the first 20 laps of the 33-lap, rain-shortened race. Canadian Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., passed Langhorne for the lead on lap 21, but slid on lap 28, falling back to third. From there, Langhorne navigated his way to the victory, leading by over 14 seconds before final full-course caution was thrown with three laps left. The race ended under yellow. Canadian Kenny Wilden, of Burlington, Ont., finished second in his Michael Shank Racing-Newcourt/TrizecHahn Swift, and remained in the championship race with points leader Anthony Lazzaro, who finished sixth and now leads the championship over Wilden by a 32-point margin with two races left. Bordin finished third. Only Lazzaro and Wilden remain in the championship hunt, heading into the penultimate race next Saturday at Laguna Seca Raceway. Besides Langhorne earning his first victory and leading for the first time in his six-race Atlantic career, it also was the first rain race ever for Active Motorsports, and his first experience with rain tires in Atlantics. Langhorne has focused on road courses his rookie season, eschewing the four oval course dates on the 1999 Atlantic schedule. "First, I need to thank my team. Active Motorsports has done a fantastic job in giving me a race car," said Langhorne, who drove steadily despite the consistent rain and having never led in an Atlantic race before. "This was my first time ever on rain tires in an Atlantic car. I was on slicks this morning, and those rain tires are two years old. We didn't have the budget to get rain tires, so we're pretty proud. The guys were pushing pretty hard and I got a few gifts in the opening laps. I just wanted to be patient and stay out of trouble, and work from there. I give Andrew a lot of credit for holding a good pace. Then he got around me - it was a good, clean pass. I was ready to settle for second. I just got lucky when he had problems with his brakes. We were very fortunate." Lazzaro, who started third and ran a cautious race, usually giving way to position if seriously threatened, now has 158 points, to Wilden's 126. Polesitter Alex Tagliani was eliminated from the points chase after sliding on the opening turn and tapping a tire wall, eventually finishing 11th. For Wilden, it was his second straight third-place finish and fourth consecutive podium, and showed he's not ready to let Lazzaro walk away with the title, just yet. "It came down to conserving your equipment and avoiding the big puddles on the main straight," said Wilden, who also netted his eighth top-five finish in 10 outings. "Right now I'm just happy to still be in the hunt for the championship. I was pretty confident in my driving. I just tried to run a steady race and not risk the car. We picked up some more points toward the championship on Lazzaro, so we're pleased with our trip to Vancouver. We're looking to see if we can gain a little more in Monterey. It's still not over." Bordin appeared to have the best car from the mid-way point onward, running second behind Langhorne from laps 14-20, and taking the lead for seven laps until sliding at turn one on lap 28, before brake problems led to his eventual third podium of the year. Buddy Rice's race was anything but routine, despite starting second and finishing fourth. Starting on the outside front row - his best starting position of the year - Rice spun his Lynx Racing Swift twice during the race, charging back each time, passing 20 cars for position during race. Langhorne's early-race move to the front netted him the $1,000 "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. Tagliani, in the Player's-Forsythe Swift, earned $1,000 for his third Toyota Pole Award, and also posted the fastest race lap at 1:29.651/71.517 mph, to win the $1,000 "MCI WorldCom Fast Pace" award. Bordin, in the PPI-Player's/Thyssen Swift, crossed the finish line in second place, ahead of Wilden, but series chief steward John Bornholdt ruled that Bordin had passed Wilden during the final full-course yellow caution, and reversed their finishing order. PPI filed a protest with respect to Bornholdt's decision. The finishing order for Wilden and Bordin will be provisional until the protest judges rule on PPI's protest. ESPN2 will televise Sunday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Vancouver on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 10 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 5 a.m., and on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 2 a.m. The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race on Saturday, Sept. 11. Check local listing for the RDS time. ESPN International will televise the Vancouver race on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 10 p.m. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV SportsNet is airing the race on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. in all local markets. The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship continues Saturday, Sept. 11, at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Anthony Lazzaro , Buddy Rice , Andrew Bordin , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing