Joey Hand ...
Joey Hand #27 DSTP Motorsports Toyota Swift 014.a
Just two weeks ago in Portland, it appeared that Joey Hand and his DSTP Motorsports team had shaken the monkey off of their back that had hounded them for well over a year. That monkey proved to be more stubborn than thought as the string of bad luck appeared again for DSTP Motorsports in Saturday's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race in Cleveland.
>From his inside second row starting position, Hand had to fight off an aggressive pass to the inside in Turn 1 which placed him in between two cars in the tricky right hander. Before Hand had a chance to settle in, he felt something was wrong with the handling of the car. Alex Figge made contact with the wall on the opening lap which brought out the first yellow of the race. The slower pace gave Hand a chance to look in his mirror and discover that the right rear wheel had come loose.
Hand would pit and the crew discovered that something had broken on the right rear wheel. After exiting the pit, the wheel came loose again and Hand returned to the pits to put on another wheel. The second pit stop would cost Hand a lap to the field. Hand would pit one more time to make final adjustments to the wheel; but the chance for a second straight podium was over by that point.
Another yellow flag allowed Hand to rejoin the tail end of the field and when the green flew, Hand came through the pack trying to get back on the lead lap. Despite the trouble and having to work his way through traffic, Hand still turned the fifth fastest lap of the race. Hand would stay on track to salvage a tenth place finish after four other cars exited the race due to contact.
The tenth place showing dropped Hand back from seventh in the Championship to eighth at the halfway point of the 2003 season. Hand's total of 46 points trails leader, A.J. Allmendinger, by 56 points. Allmendinger would go on to win the Cleveland race.
DSTP Motorsports heads north to kick off the second half of the season in Toronto next weekend. The trip to Toronto marks the first of three races north of the border and the team hopes that the change of country might bring a change of fortune as well.
Hand on Saturday's Race: "The car has been pretty good all weekend long. We just have not caught the breaks and had a lot of things go wrong that are unexplainable. The race was no different. We had a wheel come loose at the start of the race and we are not sure why at this point. We are not sure if a wheel nut was bad or something was wrong with the air gun, but whatever it was, it sure cost us today."
"In the long run, we were just out there racing a lap down the whole time. We had a car that could run up front. I was right there with the leader's times throughout the race and that was with an old tire that we changed to when the right wheel broke. That tire made the car hard to drive in the left handers. It was just too bad that it happened because I think we had a car that could contend today and it didn't get a chance."
"We'll try and figure out what the problem was and get it fixed for Toronto and go racing again."
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.