Michael Valiante and Jon Fogarty will face off this weekend at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver for the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Fogarty, of Portola Valley, California is hoping to overcome a six-point deficit to Vancouver, B.C.'s Valiante.
Michael Valiante and Jon Fogarty will face off this weekend at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver for the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Fogarty, of Portola Valley, California is hoping to overcome a six-point deficit to Vancouver, B.C.'s Valiante. Fogarty races with Dorricott racing, who is competing in its first season of Atlanics competition after switching from the now-defunct Dayton Indy Lights series while Valiante is in his second season of Atlantics with Lynx Racing.
Valiante competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 1999 and 2000, coming in tenth in the season championship standings his first season in the category with two podium finishes during the season. Valiante improved to sixth in the season standings in 2000 and again had two podium appearances. Valiante took two pole positions in 2000, at the season opening race at Sebring International Raceway and at Road America, where he was able to win his first and only Barber Dodge Pro Series race in September, 2000.
In 1999, Fogarty had three top five finishes, two of them resulting in a podium position. The 2000 season proved to be a breakout one as Fogarty took three wins and seven podium finishes on his way to second in the season championship. Wins at Lime Rock Park, Detroit, and Mid-Ohio showed that Fogarty's pace and racecraft were improving. Fogarty also improved his qualifying form, taking poles at Lime Rock Park and Detroit.
This season, Fogarty won the opening round of the Toyota Atlantic season at Monterrey, Mexico in the rain and has finished in the top five nine times this season. Valiante has wins at Long Beach, Toronto and Trois-Rivieres and has completed every lap in Atlantic competition this season. Fogarty will need to score seven more points than Valiante this weekend in order to win the championship. If the two were to tie, the title would go to Valiante on the strength of his three wins to Fogarty's one.