Cleveland race report

Sunday, July 13, 1997 . Welcome to Cleveland and round six of the 12-race KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship. Today's event is presented by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and the race is sanctioned by...

Sunday, July 13, 1997

. Welcome to Cleveland and round six of the 12-race KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship. Today's event is presented by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and the race is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing. . Only one session today - THE RACE which is scheduled to provide Cleveland with its first Formula One-style "standing start" in the 17-year history of the this CART event at 11:45 p.m. ET. . #12 JOHN BROOKS, of Tucson, Ariz., will not be able to race today due to a broken "U-bin," which is a custom built oil line component. The "U-bin" broke at its base to a swivel-bolt, and pieces of the part were ingested by the engine. The part, which was described by team mechanics as a "$12 part," had only been used for 10 laps. A back-up motor was unavailable. . One of #85 STEVE KNAPP's primary sponsors, Manheim Auctions, is the largest operator of automobile auctions in North America. With 63 auctions throughout the United States and Canada, the company was originally started in 1945 with a single location in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Acquired in 1968 by Cox Communications of Atlanta, Georgia (which merged with Cox Enterprises in 1985 creating the largest private company in Georgia), the company now registers more than five million vehicles a year. . 1993 Atlantic graduate and current Formula One star JACQUES VILLENEUVE won today in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England. Villeneuve's victory, his fourth in nine races of 1997 Formula One competition, brings him to within four points of series leader Michael Schumacher, 47-43. Villeneuve also won the Brazilian Grand Prix, Argentine Grand Prix, and Spanish Grand Prix. . Today's PPG CART World Series race, the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, will feature eight former Atlantic drivers in its 28-car field. 1983 Atlantic champion Michael Andretti is starting fourth in the CART grid. Other past Atlantic champions in todayd's PPG-CART event include 1989 Pacific Division champion Hiro Matsushita, 1995 titlist Richie Hearn, 1996 champion Patrick Carpentier, defending PPG-CART champion and 1991 Toyota Atlantic series runner-up Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Paul Tracy, and Charlie Nearburg. . Lynx Racing has announced that Sara Senske, an 18-year-old college student and champion kart racer, is the latest driver to join the teams unique road scholar program of developing championship-winning racing drivers. Senske, the first female driver in the team s six-year history, is a communications major at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. She will drive in the Star Formula Mazda Championship with her first Star Formula Mazda Championship race set for Laguna Seca Raceway, July 26-27. (Peter Frey)

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"It's only rock and roll, but I like it." This lyric from The Rolling Stones could sum up the feelings of the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship drivers that toured the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum while filming a segment that will be used to open the ESPN2 broadcast of this weekend's race from Cleveland. The museum, located next to Burke Lakefront Airport, is the sponsor for round six of the 12-race Atlantic series. Drivers Robert Sollenskog, Case Montgomery, Michael David and Memo Gidley taped a lead-in segment for the race broadcast that will air Saturday, July 19, at 3:00 p.m. The drivers talked about the similarities between racing and rock and roll. However, filming the segment was a new and somewhat nerve-wracking experience for most of the drivers. "The shoot itself was pretty cool; it's the first time outside of an interview I had ever been in front of a camera," said Sollenskog. "I had my three lines memorized, but once that little red light came on, my I.Q. dropped. But the whole thing was pretty neat." "I had to say about six or seven lines," said Montgomery. "I was real nervous. I realized how easy this is out here," Montgomery said with a laugh, referring to driving a race car. The drivers also had a chance to learn about some of their favorites rock and roll stars and to see some of the memorabilia, including a variety of cars that are on display. "It takes you back to the early days of rock and roll with the pictures on the walls, the cars of different people and things from the time, especially the 60's," said Gidley. "There is a Rolls Royce painted with flowers and Janis Joplin's Porsche." "It was pretty neat; they had everything organized into the different categories of music," said David. "They had different types of music, album covers and clothing from different stars. The letters written to Rolling Stone were interesting. They had top 10 lists and you could put on headsets and listen to the music." Sollenskog was also impressed with the magazine covers, but also learned a little more about his favorite band. "The place is fantastic," said Sollenskog. "I liked looking at all the Rolling Stones pictures as well as all the covers of Rolling Stone magazine. I'm a huge U2 fan and up on the second floor they had a nice U2 display. I learned a few things that I didn't know." These new Atlantic TV stars also hoped for a special guest appearance at the race by one of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum's most famous stars. The group left race tickets for Elvis, because he is definitely in the building. "I don't think I have a career in acting, but I had a good time," said Lynx Racing driver Memo Gidley. "I look forward to seeing the spot on TV."

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(30 laps/63.18 miles/101.656 km over a 2.106-mile, 10-turn temporary road course)

12:05 p.m. - - Field pulls away for first of two scheduled "reconnaissance" laps #66 TAGLIANI loses his engine cover at the end of the pit straight during the first "reconnaissance" lap #3 DAVID returns to pit lane with his car on fire due to a broken fuel fitting line; driver out and okay; rescue team extinguishes the fire; series officials call for a "delayed start" due to a malfunction with the starting lights; TAGLIANI returns to pit lane due to gearbox problems at the end of the first reconnaissance lap.

12:14 - - #66 TAGLIANI rejoins the field on the reformed grid after being pushed into place by his crew; field pulls away once more for one "reconnaissance" lap, but #66 TAGLIANI is unable to continue and retires with a broken gearbox.

12:17 - - #33 GODIN takes advantage of polesitter #66 TAGLIANI s absence and takes the lead from #19 GIDLEY at turn one following a "standing start"; 28 cars took the "standing start" and made it cleanly through turn one.

12:18 Lap 2 #32 BARRON spins in turn eight.

12:19 Lap 3 #35 POOK loses control, spins through turn one, and comes to a rest in the adjacent run-off area.

12:20 Lap 3 #8 SOLLENSKOG makes heavy left side contact with the turn eight wall; brings out a YELLOW FLAG; driver is extricated from the car after a long delay and transported to Cleveland’s Metro Hospital; car suffers extensive suspension, left front wheel, and tub damage.

12:24 Lap 5 The top-five are #33 GODIN, #19 GIDLEY, #43 BARBOSA, #4 LAZZARO and #29 MONTGOMERY . . . #4 LAZZARO spins in turn one during the continuing caution period and loses five places, but sprints past the cars that passed him to reassume his original position before the spin.

12:38 Lap 11 GREEN FLAG - #33 GODIN holds onto his lead through turn one, but furious dicing behind him reshuffles the running order; at the end of the lap #19 GIDLEY remains in second place followed by #29 MONTGOMERY, #4 LAZZARO, #32 BARRON, #25 AVE, and #43 BARBOSA.

12:43 Lap 15 The top-five are #33 GODIN, #29 MONTGOMERY, #32 BARRON, #19 GIDLEY, and #4 LAZZARO.

12:46 Lap 17 #96 SCHROEDER passes #4 LAZZARO for fifth place.

12:48 Lap 19 #19 GIDLEY takes over second place ahead of #29 MONTGOMERY and #32 BARRON.

12:49 Lap 20 Lynx Racing teammates #19 GIDLEY and #32 BARRON make contact at turn one while disputing second place; #19 GIDLEY flies off course; #32 BARRON continues unimpeded; #19 GIDLEY continues after a brief delay; #29 MONTGOMERY takes advantage of the altercation and moves into second place; #19 GIDLEY falls to 11th.

12:51 Lap 22 Race is called short due to television imposed time limitations.

#33 BERTRAND GODIN, of St. Hyacinthe, Que., takes the checkered flag and wins his second consecutive and SECOND CAREER KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race in only his sixth career Atlantic start in the Player’s Forsythe Racing Team Ralt RT-41.

#29 CASE MONTGOMERY, of Salinas, Calif., finishes in second place in the Binder Racing-Microsoft/Wall Data/Tandem/Compaq Ralt RT-41.

#32 MEMO GIDLEY, of San Rafael steps to the podium in third place for the Lynx Racing-prepared Ralt RT-41.

MARGIN OF VICTORY: 5.519-seconds WINNER S AVERAGE SPEED: 82.570 mph TIME OF RACE: 33 minutes, 40.036 seconds LAP LEADERS: 1-22 Godin

FASTEST RACE LAP: Tony Ave at 1:10.162 = 108.058 mph

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By virtue of today’s victory, BERTRAND GODIN collects a total winner’s purse of $20,000 from the posted purse of $85,000. GODIN also wins a $1,000 bonus as the "KOOL Rookie Challenge" winner for being the highest finishing Atlantic rookie driver.

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CASE MONTGOMERY will collect a second place purse of $13,000 and $2,000 in bonus awards including $1,000 for being named the "KOOL Move Of The Race" award winner, and $1,000 for winning the "Yokohama Now You’ve Got Control" award for moving from a starting grid position of ninth to race runner-up.

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ALEX BARRON maintained his lead in the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship by improving to 74 points following his third place finish today. BERTRAND GODIN jumped from fifth to second place in the point standings with 69 points, but ANTHONY LAZZARO dropped from second to third place by virtue of his 11th place finish with 62 points. MEMO GIDLEY remained hot in the title chase despite finishing ninth place in the race and stands fourth on the leader board with 60 points. CASE MONTGOMERY rounds out the top five with 54 points.

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C2 Race and Championship Update

Five C2 entries entered and took the green flag for the start of today s race.

JOAQUIN DeSOTO, of Miami, Fla., won in the C2 class and finished 19thth overall. DeSOTO increases his C2 lead to 36 points over his next closest challenger, JAMES IRVIN, of South Miami, Fla., 88-52. GREG HARRINGTON, who finished third in today’s C2 competition, is in third place with 44 points. HOWIE LIEBEGOOD and FRANK ALLERS round out the top five with 41 and 33 points, respectively.

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DAVE HALL, of Elmsford, N.Y., and rookie Atlantic driver GEORGE FRAZIER, Prospect, KY., distinguished themselves for improving the most positions during the race. HALL, who started a disappointing 28th, made an incredible dash past 11 other cars enroute to a 17th place finish. Meanwhile, FRAZIER put on his own racing clinic as he flew from 30th on the starting grid to 20th place.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Richie Hearn , Tony Ave