Denver: NTN Bearings race notes

Lady Luck smiles on Macri as he pulls out 6th place finish in Denver Denver, Colorado (August 31, 2003) - Jonathan Macri, driver of the ...

Lady Luck smiles on Macri as he pulls out 6th place finish in Denver

Denver, Colorado (August 31, 2003) - Jonathan Macri, driver of the #84 -- NTN Bearings swift, started on the grid of the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver in 10th and remained there throughout Lap 30 until driver errors allowed Macri to move ahead. Luck went Jonathan's way when Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports), Aaron Justus (#3 RuSport) and Joey Hand (#27 DSTP) all made drastic mistakes allowing Macri to move ahead, where he eventually finished in 6th.

"I really tried hard to remain consistent throughout the race and that eventually allowed me to benefit from the mistakes of others" Macri stated. "I was able to move ahead without getting caught up in the spots where we were all choked up after the yellow flags."

With all the drivers staying in their same positions from the grid through Lap 30, fans were itching for a little more excitement and they got their wish when in Lap 31, Figge caught the tire barrier with the left side of his car at drivers left exiting Turn 6, thus allowing everyone below him to move up a position. A "full course yellow" followed for Lap 32 as Figge's car was moved off track.

The green flag waved again at the beginning of Lap 34 when shortly thereafter Justus spun into the outside wall on the exit of Turn 1 as he tried to prevent Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx) from overtaking his 2nd position. After another "full course yellow", green and white flags waved at the beginning of Lap 37. Again luck allowed Macri to move ahead as Hand attempted to pass Danica Patrick (#24 Team Rahal) for the 5th position in Turn 6, which caused Hand to slide into the tire barrier at the exit of the turn. Macri was able to finish in 6th with a lap time of 1:08.345.

"I am disappointed that we didn't do better from the start", Macri commented. "I am glad we were able to end up in 6th, but overall the weekend was not the best showing we could have had."

A busy weekend for Macri, he and his team played host to Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Colin Fleming for the "Atlantic's Mentorship Program." "I hope Colin was able to learn something this weekend by spending time with us. I was able to shadow Alex Tagliani and the Rocketsports Champ Car team this year, and it was a great experience for me. I hope we were able to give some insight into our world to Colin as well", Macri stated.

Fleming, who obtained the prestigious title "Rookie of the Year" in his series was given the opportunity to shadow Jonathan and the team throughout the weekend by attending driver meetings, crew/team evaluative sessions and by listening in on team radios in the pit for each session. "I really want to thank the team and Jonathan for opening everything up to me", Fleming commented. "Jonathan and I have similar driving styles so it was nice to be able to speak to him about different things. Being from the driving school, we never get to work directly with an engineer, so I enjoyed listening to the conversations between engineer and driver throughout the weekend. I really am thankful for the opportunity."

The 37 lap race in Denver was televised with a 90 minute same day tape delay on the Speed Channel on Sunday, August 31. It will be re-aired throughout next week. Check local listings for times. Round 12 of the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship takes place in Miami, Florida for the Grand Prix Americas on September 28 at 10:30 a.m. The inaugural 1.314 mile temporary street circuit will be the final event of the Toyota Atlantic season.

"I am really looking forward to getting to Miami", commented Macri. "It is the last race of the season and we are looking to really push to finish well. We will take a look at the schedule and hopefully be able to get a test day in there somewhere. It is going to be a good time for all of us."

With today's finish, Macri moves into 4th place with 134 overall points in the Toyota Atlantic Championship standings. Macri is currently six points behind third place fellow Canadian Michael Valiante of Burnaby, B.C., Canada.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Michael Valiante , Jonathan Macri , Colin Fleming , Aaron Justus , Danica Patrick