DENVER, Colorado (Aug. 28, 2003) - Following a finish at Montreal last Saturday that was caused by no fault of Dorricott Racing or Luis Diaz, Diaz is looking for a quick rebound in this weekend's 11th round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic ...
DENVER, Colorado (Aug. 28, 2003) - Following a finish at Montreal last Saturday that was caused by no fault of Dorricott Racing or Luis Diaz, Diaz is looking for a quick rebound in this weekend's 11th round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Argent Mortgage Challenge and the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, Sunday, Aug. 31
The 37-lap (61.05 miles) Atlantic sprint around the nine-turn, 1.65-mile temporary downtown street circuit is scheduled to drop the green flag at 10:30 a.m. MT. It is the featured support event for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver CART Championship race that runs later that day.
With two races remaining including Denver, Diaz knows he is running short of time in making up points. Diaz only trails sixth-place Joey Hand by 18 points, 91-73. Furthermore, Diaz is only nine points behind seventh place Danica Patrick who has 82.
Diaz is currently tied for second place for "laps completed" with 357 recorded race laps out of a possible 366 laps. Furthermore, only Jonathan Macri has completed more road course laps than Diaz but only by three-laps, 296-293.
Diaz is one of only three drivers to start from the pole this season. His pole at Monterrey, Mexico, was his third career pole position while driving for Dorricott Racing. Only series leader A.J. Allmendinger and Ryan Dalziel have won poles in 2003.
Round 10 at Montreal was shaping into a high potential finish. Diaz provisionally qualified fourth around Montreal's 2.709-mile, 13-turn permanent road course. He followed up with another strong performance in final qualifying despite dropping a few grid positions and started the race from seventh on the grid.
Disaster struck early in the race when Diaz was forced to make a pit stop for a left rear tire change. His tire mysteriously lost fifty-percent of its pressure during the first three laps. It was discovered during a post-race investigation that the tire was improperly mounted and the seal between tire and wheel was compromised by a small rubber cut.
Toyota Atlantic teams do not mount their race tires to their race wheels during a race weekend. Tire mounting and balancing is performed by Toyota Atlantic approved and certified tire technicians that are not affiliated with any team. Occasional human error occurs in this process albeit mistakes are far and few between. Unfortunately for Dorricott Racing and Diaz, an error on their part disrupted what was arguably one of the best set cars in that Atlantic field.
Regardless, Diaz piloted the Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014a to lap times consistently among the top-seven for the race. In fact, Diaz ran the most consistent lap-by-lap quick times among the entire field for the final 18 laps of the race. He officially recorded the seventh fastest lap at 1:32.255 (105.711 mph). This was a better time than his best qualifying laps. When the checkered flag waved, Diaz had passed four cars to finish 11th place after dropping to last place during the pit stop.
Denver resurrects fond memories for Dorricott Racing as former driver, Jon Fogarty, won the Toyota Atlantic Championship in last year's 38-lap (62.586-mile) race with a time of 51:42.928 minutes and an average speed of 72.612 mph. Fogarty also led the most race laps with 26.
Speed Channel will provide a same-day delayed broadcast for the Argent Mortgage Challenge on Sunday, August 31, at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT). An encore telecast is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 5, at 2:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).