Diaz is incredible at Cleveland but shortchanged again Kyle Krisiloff solid for a seventh place finish CLEVELAND, Ohio (July 5, 2003) - - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, showed again that he is one of the fastest and most talented drivers in this ...
Diaz is incredible at Cleveland but shortchanged again
Kyle Krisiloff solid for a seventh place finish
CLEVELAND, Ohio (July 5, 2003) - - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, showed again that he is one of the fastest and most talented drivers in this year's Toyota Atlantic Championship. Unfortunately, another outstanding race came to a disappointing end due to another driver's inexplicable error in the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, Saturday, July 5.
Diaz started the 32-lap race at a disadvantage because he had to begin in the rear of the 14-car field due to switching to his back-up No. 33 Telmex Swift after final qualifying. Diaz's crew uncovered a crack in the car tub during a routine post-qualifying inspection on Friday evening. CART rules specify that a driver must start from the back of the grid if the car he races is different than the car he qualified.
When the green flag dropped, Diaz immediately passed one car before he reached turn one. He continued to pass six more cars over the next 19 laps and then moved into sixth place on Lap 19 when he passed Danica Patrick. His next target was Canadian Stephan C. Roy. Diaz was nearly two-seconds behind Roy by the time he passed Patrick. Within eight laps he was breathing down Roy's tail. Then trouble resurfaced.
Diaz had just completed his fastest lap of the race and seventh fastest overall race lap on Lap 28 (1:06.387=114.203 mph) around the 10-turn, 2.106-mile circuit when he closed on Roy to make the pass. Roy lost control of his car in turn eight and slammed against the outside wall. Diaz was unable to negotiate around Roy's carnage. Diaz's split-second choices were to either ram into Roy's car and probably severely injure him, or seek a way around Roy and strike the wall if space wasn't available. Diaz chose to evade Roy but there wasn't any room to slip past and Diaz rammed into the wall too. Diaz's left front tire, wheel, suspension, and left front part of the chassis were destroyed albeit he was able to limp back to pit lane.
"I was catching up to Roy since lap 19 after I passed Danica Patrick," said Diaz. "I guess there were about four laps to go when we drove through turn eight. That's where Roy got loose. Roy's car started to spin out and I couldn't avoid it. I had to go one way or another. I looked outside then inside but I didn't have any room to avoid his mess so I was stuck taking the hit."
"It's a shame how this race ended because a cracked tub from an earlier practice session forced us to go to the back-up Telmex Swift," continued Diaz. "That meant I had to start in the rear but we knew we had a good set-up. Then I pass all those cars and it looks like I'm going to finish fifth place. I know we have a fast car but I also believe that I'm due for some good racer's luck and let's hope it first comes next race at Toronto."
Meanwhile, Kyle Krisiloff, of Indianapolis, Ind., was overcoming another set of obstacles that started during the race afternoon warm-up. With two minutes remaining in the warm-up, Krisiloff nearly went airborne in the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One Swift on the front straight-away. The cause of his off-track flight was never determined but Krisloff's car landed hard and square before going off the track and across the grass in front of pit lane. He came to a sliding stop after only striking a television cable that was strung along the grass. The resulting damage from the off-road detour was a "totaled" undertray and heavy suspension damage that required a near complete overall of the car. His crew feverishly worked for the next three hours in tearing apart and rebuilding Krisiloff's car. They completed repairs with literally only minutes to spare before all cars had to be on the starting grid.
Krisiloff started 11th and looked strong early. His set-up was better than previous sessions and it showed in his decreasing lap times. A crash by Alex Figge early in the race helped move Krisiloff from 11th to 10th. Krisiloff gained more ground when contact between Jonathan Macri and Aaron Justus sent Justice to the sidelines. He gained more positions by mid-race and then benefited from the Diaz and Roy crashes.
"After qualifying 12th and finishing seventh I have to be happy," said Krisiloff. "Going off-course in the warm-up set the crew back. They didn't have much time to get the car back in its best working order. It was my fault. I put my crew in that position. They busted their butts to get the car put together in time for the race. The set-up was good early. I was able to battle with those who finished fourth or fifth early in the race, but the car went away late. We didn't have the speed to stay up front."
Race winner A.J. Allmendinger scored 23 points for the weekend and extended his Series lead to 15 points over third-place finisher Ryan Dalziel, 102-87. Krisiloff moved into ninth pace with 45 points. Diaz is 10th place with 42 points.
Speed Channel will provide a delayed telecast of the Toyota Atlantic Championship at Cleveland on Sunday, July 6, 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT). An encore telecast will be Monday, July 7, at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).
Round seven of the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be this Saturday, July 12, at the Molson Indy Toronto, in Toronto, Ont., Canada.