Diaz shortchanged by "Other Drivers Problems" at Denver DENVER, Colorado (Sept. 1, 2003) - - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, once again was afflicted with "ODP" (Other Drivers Problems) through no fault of his or Dorricott Racing in Argent Mortgage...
Diaz shortchanged by "Other Drivers Problems" at Denver
DENVER, Colorado (Sept. 1, 2003) - - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, once again was afflicted with "ODP" (Other Drivers Problems) through no fault of his or Dorricott Racing in Argent Mortgage Challenge at the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, Sunday, Aug. 31. When it was said and done, Diaz's bottom line calculated to another disappointing Toyota Atlantic race finish due to another driver's error.
Diaz started eighth on the starting grid for the 37-lap Atlantic sprint. The race start was clean and the field evenly spread out. As such, Diaz was more or less relegated to a "follow the car in front of you" race like the other drivers. Things changed on Lap 32. Alex Figge, of Santa Barbara, Calif., spun into a tire barrier on Lap 31. A full course caution was issued by Atlantic officials for removal of Figge's car. A green flag re-start was issued on Lap 34, but it didn't last but a couple of turns.
Aaron Justus, of Crestline, Calif., looked for an aggressive re-start in trying to prevent Canadian Michael Valiante from snatching second place from him. Justus's approach failed, and he ended up piling into an outside tire wall at the exit of Turn Seven.
This set the stage for Diaz's streak of bad luck to continue. The green flag was issued along with the "white" flag on lap 37. The front of the pack made it cleanly through the first couple of corners. Diaz wasn't as fortunate. As Diaz began to exit Turn Five, Venezuelan driver Alex Garcia was ill positioned on the inside of the corner and stubbornly sitting in the middle of Diaz's line of drive. Garcia's car contacted Diaz's Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014a and sent Diaz flying across the circuit. Both cars continued after a brief delay but the incident cost Diaz one and possibly two positions as he officially finished eighth.
"I didn't see it coming when Garcia and I collided," said Diaz. "We entered the corner at about the same time but our drive lines conflicted. Dorricott Racing and I have had more bad luck this season than any other team or driver in Atlantic. I was racing hard and we could have had a better finish. Denver kept our streak of bad luck alive. We have one more chance to make things right so we will go to Miami looking to end the season with some good luck coming our way."
Diaz remains one of Atlantic's most consistent finishers, in part, because Dorricott Racing's cars have not suffered any mechanical breakdowns during races. Atlantic has recorded 403 race laps through Denver and Diaz has completed the second most of any driver with 394 laps. Only Jonathan Macri has completed more laps than Diaz but only by nine, 403-394.
Diaz remains 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 Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger and Ryan Dalziel have won poles in 2003. Diaz recorded the eighth fastest lap of the race at 1:07.854 (87.382 mph) around the nine-turn, 1.65-mile temporary downtown street circuit. Eighth place also added eight more points in the driver standings for Diaz as he improved to eighth place in the Toyota Atlantic Championship with 81 points.
Allmendinger, who won the race, scored 23 points for the weekend and, in turn, clinched the Toyota Atlantic Championship with 195 points. Allmendinger's teammate, Justus, finished 13th in the race.
Speed Channel has scheduled an encore telecast of the Denver Atlantic race for Friday, Sept. 5, at 2:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).
Round 12 and the season finale for the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be Sunday, Sept. 28, at the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100K and the CART Grand Prix Americas in Miami, Fla.