Cleveland: Friday qualifying notes

Joey Hand ...

Joey Hand #27 DSTP Motorsports Toyota Swift 014.a

Friday Practice 3rd 1:07.120 112.956
Friday Qualifying 7th 1:06.712 113.647
Saturday Practice 7th 1:06.969 113.211
Combined Practice 7th 1:06.969 113.211
Saturday Qualifying 3rd 1:05.233 116.223
Best Lap

While most of the country was busy celebrating the United States birthday, Joey Hand and the DSTP Motorsports team sweated out a hard earned third place performance in Friday's final qualifying for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race in Cleveland. Hand's time of 1:05.233 seconds (116.223 mph) around the 2.106-mile temporary street circuit at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport was just shy of A.J. Allmendinger's record pole run of 1:04.927 seconds (116.771 mph).

After fighting engine problems during the earlier practice session that saw Hand seventh quickest, the DSPT crew bolted into the paddock from the track and changed engines between the practice and final qualifying session. With just three hours between the sessions, there was no time to waste. Hand estimated the change was close to 45 minutes leaving just enough time to work on setup changes as well.

Like in Portland two weeks ago, Hand will again start from the inside of the second row and hope to cash in the good starting position into his second straight podium finish. Hand will need another good run in tomorrow afternoon's 5:30 p.m. EST race to remain in the hunt for Championship title.

Michael Valiante will start tomorrow's race beside Allmendinger in the front row with Ryan Dalziel starting on the outside of Hand in what proves to be an always exciting start in Cleveland's sharp right hand first turn.

Hand on Friday Practice:

"We basically used that session for testing and working on the setup. We have an engine issue that we have known about since yesterday, but we just had to live with it for now. The DSTP boys are hustling now putting in a new engine before qualifying. We should have a top three car this afternoon."

Hand on Friday Qualifying:

"The car was a lot better than what it looked like yesterday because of getting held up on my last lap by car that had run out of gas. We had a motor failure in practice and had to do a quick motor swap right between the practice and the qualifying. The DSTP boys did a great job--a world record engine change and got it back in there. It was much better in qualifying and it kind of showed what we really had. The car was good in the middle of the run, but I didn't get it done and then the car went away in the end and that was when I was at my best. I just could not get the lap in that Michael (Valiante) and A.J. (Allmendinger) did. I'm pretty happy with third. You can race very well from third at this race track so we'll make a run at them tomorrow."

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.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jerry Nadeau , Memo Gidley , Michael Valiante , Joey Hand , Alex Barron , A.J. Allmendinger , Buddy Rice , Sam Hornish Jr.