DORRICOTT RACING CONTINUES STALK OF INDY LIGHTS TITLE AT BELLE ISLE AND THE DETROIT NEWS 75 SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Aug. 4, 1999) - Dorricott Racing is redefining the term "hot team with hot drivers" but with each race comes new challenges...
DORRICOTT RACING CONTINUES STALK OF INDY LIGHTS TITLE AT BELLE ISLE AND THE DETROIT NEWS 75
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Aug. 4, 1999) - Dorricott Racing is redefining the term "hot team with hot drivers" but with each race comes new challenges and Belle Isle should be no exception when CART's "Official Development Series" makes its 11th annual visit to the Grand Prix of Detroit, Sunday, Aug. 8
The Detroit News 75 - round nine of the 12-race 1999 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship - is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. (ET) for a 32 lap/75.07 mile sprint around Belle Isle's 2.346-mile temporary road course. It is the primary weekend support race to the CART FedEx Championship Series Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit later that day.
The background entering Detroit is fairly simple - Dorricott Racing's driver trio of Oriol Servia, Casey Mears, and Philipp Peter are first, second, and third place, respectively, in the Indy Lights championship. Servia leads with 95 points, but Mears is only seven markers off with 88 points and Peter has 87 points.
The nearest challengers to the Dorricott contingent are Airton Dare and Felipe Giaffone, who rank fourth and fifth with 61 and 63 points, respectively. Regardless of this weekend's outcome, Dorricott Racing will leave Detroit with the top-three points leaders. Dorricott Racing last won at Detroit in 1995 with hometown favorite Robbie Buhl.
Dorricott Racing is the only team in series history to have three drivers first, second, and third place in the championship for more than one week. The previous record was set by the Tasman Motorsports Group after round eight (Mid-Ohio) of the 1994 Indy Lights Championship. 1994 Indy Lights champion Steve Robertson, and teammates Eddie Lawson and Andre Ribeiro were first, second, and third place, respectively. If any potential irony lurks on Belle Isle, it is worth noting that the winner of the 1994 Detroit Indy Lights race was polesitter Robertson. Lawson was close behind in second place, while Ribeiro narrowly missed the podium in fourth place. Detroit was round four of a 12-race season in 1994.
Peter and Mears return to Detroit after engaging in one of the most exciting and historic races in PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship history. Peter and Mears literally battled nose-to-tail for more than 96 miles before Peter prevailed over Mears by an imperceptible 0.002-seconds - the closest race finish in the history of Indy Lights and CART-sanctioned events - two weeks ago in round eight on Michigan Speedway's two-mile oval in the Detroit News 100.
The previous closest victory in Indy Lights history was when Calvin Fish defeated Mike Groff by 0.028-seconds at Nazareth Speedway in 1988. The former record for the closest victory in CART-sanctioned history was Mark Blundell's 0.027-second victory over Gil de Ferran at Portland in 1997.
Series leader Servia, of Pals, Catalonia, Spain, is arguably atop the leader board because he has mastered the art of scoring points. He has six consecutive top-five showings coming to Detroit behind four second-place and two fifth place finishes. He has only finished out of the top-10 once this season (Long Beach, 12th). A veteran European F-3 driver, Servia is Indy Light's third most consistent finisher this season having completed 466 of 472 laps, and 685.281 miles out of a possible 696.225 miles. Servia started 10th and finished sixth place at Belle Isle last year.
Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., is a definition of consistency. The son of legendary Off-Road World Champion and Dorricott Racing team manager Roger Mears, Mears is the only driver in the series who has completed every Indy Lights race lap (472 laps) and every mile (696.225 miles) run to date.
Besides runner-up at Michigan, Mears' podium visits have included third place at Nazareth in round three and second place at Milwaukee in round four. After scoring season opening back-to-back fifth place finishes at Homestead and Long Beach, Mears added fourth place at Portland in round five. His Sooner Trailer/American Racing Wheels Lola has scored top-10 finishes in each race and hasn't finished lower than eighth place.
Peter's electrifying victory at Michigan in combination with his second and fifth round victories at Long Beach and Portland distinguish him as the only Indy Lights driver who has won three races in 1999. Moreover, Peter's success can also be attributed to consistent finishes. He has recorded the second most miles completed (693.221) this season, and is tied with 12th place Chris Menninga for second most laps completed (470).
A veteran European road racer, the Monte Carlo, Monaco, resident returns to Belle Isle seeking redemption for a win he conceivably could have scored last year. Peter, who drives the Red Bull/ Remus/ESTEBE/Chicco d' Oro Lola, started eighth in last year's event, but was forced to temporarily drop to last place (23rd) on the opening lap after being blocked by another car in turn one. Peter masterfully maneuvered back through the field to finish a remarkable 10th.
Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization based at Sears Point International Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Race results, team and sponsor information may be viewed on Dorricott Racing's web site, http://www.dorricottracing.com.
ESPN2 will provide same-day coverage of the Detroit News 75, Sunday, Aug. 8, from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET (8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT).