Cleveland, OH (July 2, 2000) -- Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports / Swift 008.a) jumped back in the points lead in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship after earning his third victory of the season at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland. Rice who ...
Cleveland, OH (July 2, 2000) -- Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports / Swift 008.a) jumped back in the points lead in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship after earning his third victory of the season at the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland. Rice who started third, moved into the lead on the first green flag lap, after passing polesitter Alex Gurney (All American Racers / Swift 008.a) and Michael Shank Racing's, Martin Basso (3B Engine Valve / Swift 008.a). Basso, earned his second podium of the season by finishing in second place, while Hoover Orsi, (Hylton Motorsports --u.s. print/Swift 008.a) was third.
Rice, who broke the track qualifying record on Friday, also broke the record for fastest race lap, recording a 1:08.019 (111.463 mph). The previous race lap record was held by Kenny Wilden, who set a 1:09.736 (108.710 mph) in 1998.
"We knew we were going to have a great car for the race today," said Rice. "During this morning's warm up, we were on full tanks and still set the second quickest time. The race was perfect. By the second or third lap, we pulled out a pretty good lead so I just kept my head down and focused on not making any mistakes. In the process, we also set the fastest lap of the race. It's great to win in DSTP's hometown, and even better to get back the lead in the championship."
Basso moved into second place in the rookie race and fourth overall, after recording his second podium of the season. The Argentinean recorded his first ever Atlantic win at Milwaukee earlier this year.
"It feels pretty good to finish second and move up to fourth in the points," says Basso. The team worked really hard on the set-up of the car this weekend. We started out with 98 settings, but we changed the gears, we changed the springs, we changed the dampers. The car was very good in the beginning and the middle of the race, but after I had contact with Dan Wheldon towards the end, the car was very nervous, especially in the last chicane. I was just happy to hang onto second for the team. We're only one point behind Andrew Bordin in the championship, so I'm looking forward to Toronto and racing there for the first time."
Hoover Orsi held onto seventh place in the standings after recording his third, third place finish of the season. The Brazilian finished third in the season opener at Homestead, and repeated the performance at Milwaukee.
"It was my first time on this track, but we did a good job because every session, we were going quicker and quicker," says Orsi. "The first five laps, the car had a lot of oversteer but after that, the car started getting better. I just tried to stay out of trouble and keep my mind in the race and tried to be as quick as possible. I did not expect to finish third but I'll take it."
Andrew Bordin, who led the Championship into Cleveland, earned two points after being forced to retire from the race with one lap to go. The young Canadian reported right front tire damage after a contact incident with Lynx Racing's, Mike Conte.
Polesitter Alex Gurney, who set a new track qualifying record of 108.484 (110.706) on Saturday, ran behind Rice until a mechanical failure forced him to retire on lap 23.
"Something let go in the engine," said a disappointed Gurney. "It was a great weekend up until then. Being on the pole was a big boost to the team so we are really happy. The race was going okay. I was running identical times to Rice but I didn't get a good start. I was able to get back by Basso, and then I was working on catching Rice for awhile. I guess that's racing! I will get them in Toronto."
Rice regains the championship lead and now has 82 points. Daniel Wheldon is second with 73, while Andrew Bordin is third with 69.
Round 7 of the 12-race Atlantic Championship will be held in two weeks at the Molson Indy Toronto, in Toronto Canada.