FACT SHEET THE CART TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP Round 3, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 14-15, 2000, Long Beach, Calif. EVENT: Round 3 of the 12-event CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 1.97-mile Long Beach street ...
THE CART TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 3, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
April 14-15, 2000, Long Beach, Calif.
Round 3 of the 12-event CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 1.97-mile Long Beach street circuit, as the Saturday feature race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Saturday's race will mark the 18th time since 1978 the Atlantic series has competed at Long Beach.
The CART-sanctioned Toyota Atlantic Championship is a key rung on CART's "Ladder System" and is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, former Champ Car stars Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
ATLANTIC SCHEDULE AT LONG BEACH:
Friday, April 14:
Practice 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Qualifying 4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday, April 15:
Qualifying 8:55 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
RACE 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
(35 laps/68.95 miles)
DSTP Racing's Buddy Rice has jumped out to a two-point lead over PPI Motorsports' rookie Dan Wheldon following the season-opening double-header at Homestead, Fla. Rice started on the pole for the first of two races at the Homestead track, but it was Wheldon who took the victory in the opener. In the second race, Wheldon started on the pole but Rice took the victory. By collecting two points for leading the most laps during both races, Rice holds a slim 39-37 points lead on Wheldon, who became one of just a handful of Atlantic drivers to win in his first series outing.
Rice and Wheldon took the spotlight at the first two races, but P-1 Racing's Rocky Moran Jr. was fast and consistent as well, earning a fourth place and a third place and sits third in the points with 26. Wheldon's teammate, Andrew Bordin, is fourth in the points with 20, following his fourth-place finish in the second Homestead race. Rookie Martin Basso, of Michael Shank Racing, is fifth in the points with 18.
Hylton Motorsports' newcomer Hoover Orsi surprised the field in the opener, passing Moran on the last lap to finish third. Orsi started second in the second race and even led for several laps before mechanical problems ended his day. Orsi's third-place finish in the opener was enough to put him sixth in the points with 14 after the double-header.
ATLANTIC HISTORY AT LONG BEACH:
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced at Long Beach 17 times, dating back to the 1978 season. The previous Atlantic winners at Long Beach were: Howdy Holmes (1978), Tom Gloy (1979, 1980), Geoff Brabham (1981, 1982), Hiro Matsushita (1989), Jim Vasser (1991), Mark Dismore (1992), Claude Bourbonnais (1993), Richie Hearn (1994), David Empringham (1995), Case Montgomery (1996), Alex Tagliani (1997), Memo Gidley (1998), and Alex Tagliani (1999).
LAST YEAR AT LONG BEACH:
In 1999, Michael Shank Racing's Kenny Wilden kicked off the season by starting on the pole but fell back on the first lap and Alexandre Tagliani (now in Champ Cars) eventually went on to the victory - his second victory at Long Beach in three years. Anthony Lazzaro finished second with Tagliani's teammate Lee Bentham completing the podium. Tagliani's average speed was slowed to 73.607 mph by four full course cautions. The 37-lap race was a one-lap dash to the checker following a late-race caution, with Tagliani crossing the finish line 2.894 seconds ahead of Lazzaro. Wilden dropped four positions on the opening lap but was still in contention until lap 20 when he ran into a tire dislodged from the Turn 5 barrier by Andrew Bordin. The contact damaged Wilden's front wing, forcing him to pit for repairs and dropping him to 18th at the finish.
Two years ago, Lynx Racing rookie Buddy Rice (now with DSTP) surprised the field, taking the pole position and leading early, but it was teammate Memo Gidley who went on to win the 1998 Atlantic season opener under overcast skies and unusual threatening rains. Andrew Bordin placed second. Rice slid while leading and finished 14th.
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Saturday's Round 3 race from Long Beach on Saturday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on Monday, April 24, at 7 p.m. in each of the regional time zones. ESPN2 will replay the race on Thursday, April 27, at 5 a.m. ET
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship continues with Round 4 on Saturday, June 3, at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.