Hometown DSTP team seeks another Cleveland Atlantic victory with championship-winning driver Buddy Rice. Chesterland, Ohio (July 9, 2002) - Cleveland has always served Chesterland's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship-winning DSTP Motorsports team...
Hometown DSTP team seeks another Cleveland Atlantic victory with championship-winning driver Buddy Rice.
Chesterland, Ohio (July 9, 2002) - Cleveland has always served Chesterland's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship-winning DSTP Motorsports team well. In 2000, the team took a dominant victory en route to the series championship with driver Buddy Rice, who notched his third win of the season at Cleveland. And last year, DSTP's Joey Hand provided one of the most memorable last-lap dashes for the win in Atlantic history, just narrowly missing victory and finishing second. This weekend, Rice is back in the driver's seat as he continues to fill-in for Hand, who is recuperating from injuries sustained from a testing accident at the Milwaukee Mile in mid-May.
"Cleveland has always been a great race for us," said Rice, who took Dede Rogers' DSTP team to the 2000 championship title in its rookie Atlantic season. "Not only is it DSTP's hometown race, but I won it in 2000 and Joey finished second last year. We're also coming off of what was a really good race for us in Toronto. We didn't win, but we had the speed and were closing on the leaders in the final laps. More importantly, we're all starting to work very well together. Without any testing time with me in the car, we've basically had to use the last few races as test sessions. It always takes a little time for a driver and a team to understand how each other works and, now, we really seem to be narrowing that gap. We've also made a lot of progress with the car that will be to our benefit for the rest of the season. We're looking forward to a solid run this weekend."
This weekend's Atlantic race, part of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland CART FedEx Championship race, marks the 8th round of the 12-race Atlantic season. This will be Rice's fifth Atlantic race this year after beginning his substitute driver role for Hand at Laguna Seca. Hand anticipates returning to the cockpit of a DSTP Atlantic car for the final three races of the season beginning with the 10th round at Road America on August 18.
Rice also raced at Cleveland in 1998. He started sixth and finished third in his first Cleveland Atlantic appearance while driving for Lynx Racing. Since winning the 2000 Atlantic title (with five wins, ten podiums and six fastest race laps out of 12 races with DSTP), Rice was under contract as a driver with CART's Team Rahal for the 2001 season and tested with Target Chip Ganassi Racing as well as the IRL's Red Bull Cheever Racing team. He's also been a regular fixture with the Miracle Motorsports Grand-Am sports car racing team in the SRP class (most recently finishing second in class at Watkins Glen several weeks ago), and has served as a team advisor to DSTP on car set-up and race strategy since the Atlantic series' third round at Milwaukee last year.
Through DSTP, Rogers has established herself as a true patron 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 Rice swept to the 2000 Atlantic title, followed by Hand taking the 2001 Rookie-of-the-Year award by finishing third overall.
This weekend's 3-day Atlantic schedule begins with practice and qualifying on both Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13. The 32-lap Atlantic race is scheduled for 10:55 am ET on Sunday, July 14, and will be televised later that day at 5:00 pm ET on Speed Channel.