World Speed Motorsports Laguna Seca preview

Palm Springs, Calif. (September 6, 2000) -- Case Montgomery will join the World Speed Motorsports team as the driver for the ...

Palm Springs, Calif. (September 6, 2000) -- Case Montgomery will join the World Speed Motorsports team as the driver for the #14 World Speed Motorsports/Northwest SpeedWerx swift, through the twists and turns of the famed road course in Monterey, California for round ten of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series September 8 -- 10, part of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey featuring Shell 300, CART FedEx Championship weekend.

Montgomery, a native Californian considers Laguna Seca to be his favorite track on the Atlantic circuit. "I'm really excited to be back at Laguna Seca with World Speed Motorsports. Engineer Mike Doyle and the guys put together a competitive car everywhere they go and I just hope I can do them justice," said Montgomery, "this is a greatly appreciated opportunity and we're happy to be here."

Montgomery, who first started racing in the Toyota Atlantic series in 1995, captured his first career pole and first career win at Laguna Seca. The following year in 1996, Montgomery again found himself on the Laguna Seca podium with a 2nd place finish.

Montgomery began his career in 1994 at the Jim Russell Driving School where he won the graduate run-offs during his first year at the school. In 1995, Montgomery turned his attention to an opportunity to run in the Toyota Atlantic series, coming into the series with great success. His first ever Atlantic race found Montgomery finishing 4th on the streets of Long Beach. Over the course of the next few years, he went on to collect nine podiums in his 37 Atlantic appearances.

Teammate Akihiro Asai, driver of the #15 World Speed Motorsports swift, is looking for a solid run this weekend after finishing 13th at Road America a couple of weeks ago.

"I have never driven at Laguna Seca, but I heard it's a very aggressive track. Road courses seem to suit my driving style and I imagine that in some areas of the track it's very smooth, almost similar to Road America in a sense," said Asai.

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Asai began his career racing go-karts at age 15, when he raced in the Japanese National Kart Championship, winning at Sugo. After a few years in karts, Asai traveled to the states to attend a five-day course at the Skip Barber Formula Dodge racing school, where he became hooked on formula cars. "My first real formula car experience was at Skip Barber. It was a great feeling, the car felt so solid," said Asai. It was at that time that he began racing professionally. In 1994, Asai participated in the ESSO/Formula Toyota Championship where he earned top honors as the highest-ranking rookie (eighth). From there Asai competed in the Japanese Formula 3 and Formula 4 Championships, scoring the victory from the pole while making his Formula 4 racing debut. Asai continued to break records and earn victories, winning two and claiming six of 12 wins and six pole positions in the Eastern Formula 4. He was also the first driver, in the Formula 4 to win on the Motegi road course, after the track opened in 1998.

Last year, Asai completed a full season in Australia with the Formula Holden Australian series, where he finished fifth in the championship. His most memorable moment in Australia was at the Adelaide Street Course where he finished fourth after starting 18th on the grid while setting the fastest lap.

World Speed Motorsports is considered one of America's most dynamic racing organizations, featuring entries in CART's Toyota Atlantic Championship, as well as the Star Mazda Pro Series. Founded in 1991 by West, World Speed initially focused on the Formula Mazda series where West finished third overall and won the Rookie-of-the-Year title in his first season as an owner/driver. 1992 resulted in the series championship by virtue of West's five wins, ten podiums and three track records.

Since then, World Speed has captured six Formula Mazda championship and five pro series Rookie-of-the-Year titles under West's guidance and Doyle's engineering expertise, featuring such drivers as Ben Massey, Pete Wise, Mike Conte, Mike Miller, Jeff Bucknum and Grant Ryley. Last year in Atlantic, World Speed campaigned French-born Brazilian Nicolas Rondet, who averaged a top five running position at every race and captured a podium finish in Trois-Rivieres.

This weekend's CART Toyota Atlantic activities begin Friday, September  
8, with Atlantic practice at 9:40 a.m., followed by the first           
qualifying session at 1:45 p.m.  Saturday, September 9 commences with   
the second qualifying session at 9:10 a.m., followed by the 30-lap      
Atlantic race at                                                        
4:00 p.m.  All times are Pacific.

The Laguna Seca race will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN International, Sunday, September 24 at 10:00 a.m. and on RDS, Saturday September 23 at 8:30 a.m. All times are Eastern.

Round eleven of the 12-race CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season takes place at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, Sunday, September 17, part of the Motorola 300 CART FedEx Championship weekend.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Grant Ryley , Skip Barber , Jeff Bucknum , Mike Miller , Akihiro Asai