Atlantic News Briefs 97-09-28

BARRON TAKES HOME A CHAMPIONSHIP RIDE 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Champion Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., added to his championship coffer when he was presented with a new 1997 Toyota RAV-4 on Friday, Sept....

BARRON TAKES HOME A CHAMPIONSHIP RIDE

1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Champion Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., added to his championship coffer when he was presented with a new 1997 Toyota RAV-4 on Friday, Sept. 26, at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Toyota National Motorsports Manager Les Unger presented Barron with the vehicle as part of his Atlantic championship prize package. This is the first year that Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., has presented the Atlantic champion with a RAV-4. Barron won the championship in his rookie Atlantic season while driving for Lynx Racing. His titlist highlights included five wins (Nazareth, Milwaukee, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Laguna Seca), four pole positions (Nazareth, Milwaukee, Toronto, Laguna Seca), nine podium finishes, seven "fastest race laps", and series "Rookie of the Year" honors.

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1996 ATLANTIC CHAMPION PATRICK CARPENTIER NAMED PPG CART WORLD SERIES "ROOKIE OF THE YEAR"

1996 Atlantic champion Patrick Carpentier, of Joliette, Que., cinched 1997 PPG CART World Series "Rookie of the Year" honors following the CART World Series 500, presented by Toyota, at California Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 28. Carpentier, who drove for Team Alumax Bettenhausen Motorsports, outscored his nearest rivals, Gualter Salles and Dario Franchitti, 27-10. Ironically, Carpentier captured the $50,000 "Rookie" award from the sidelines. An accident during Friday's practice session resulted in a trip to nearby Loma Linda Medical Center where the 26-year-old French-Canadian spent the night. He was released Saturday, but team owner Tony Bettenhausen announced Saturday that the Team Alumax entry would be withdrawn from the race due to Carpentier's injuries. Carpentier returned to the track Sunday to watch the race. "I am happy to at least have won the top rookie award for the season," Carpentier said. "It was one of our goals for 1997 and when you look back and see the drivers who have won it in the past, you can see that it is obviously a nice accomplishment for a driver and his team."

Carpentier will collect his prize as CART's top rookie at the PPG CART year-end awards banquet in Century City, Calif., on Oct. 25. He becomes the second Bettenhausen Motorsports driver to win this award in the past six years. Stefan Johansson was CART's top rookie in 1992.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Gualter Salles , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Alex Barron , Tony Bettenhausen