Cleveland, OH. (July 1, 2000) - Amid sunny skies and warm temperatures today at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, Chardon-based DSTP Atlantic along with driver Buddy Rice qualified third for tomorrow's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race,...
Cleveland, OH. (July 1, 2000) - Amid sunny skies and warm temperatures today at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, Chardon-based DSTP Atlantic along with driver Buddy Rice qualified third for tomorrow's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race, the featured support event of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland CART FedEx Championship weekend. Rice, who captured the provisional pole on yesterday, fell to third behind Alex Gurney (1:08.484) and Martin Basso (1:08.638) with a time of 1:08.664 during this afternoon's final round of qualifying.
"Overall, we're real happy with the car," said Rice, who was over a half-a-second faster than his closest competitor in this morning's practice session with a fast time of 1:08.219. "We made some adjustments prior to qualifying that didn't work as well as we had hoped, and it would have taken too long to change it back during the session. Then, just as we were ready to go out on new tires, the course went red and we lost a few minutes of track time. We weren't that far off. With one more lap we could have been pretty close to Alex's time. We'll make some changes for tomorrow and see where we're at in the warm-up. I'm glad that we're starting the race near the front. Cleveland is notorious for its first turn, so it's particularly important to stay out of trouble at the start."
"We actually found out what the problem was after we had a chance to look at the car," said long-time Chardon resident Jim Griffith, who serves as DSTP's vice president of operations as well as Rice's engineer. "It was just one of those minor things that can have a dramatic impact on the car. Naturally, we'll make the fix, fine tune a few things, and I think we'll have a strong race car."
"I think we're set for a good race tomorrow," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "We're starting from a good spot, so I hope that everyone keeps it clean on the first lap. So far, it's been a great weekend, and it's terrific to see so many people coming out to watch the races."
Chardon, Ohio-based DSTP Atlantic has captured two victories out of five races thus far, in only its first season of CART Toyota Atlantic competition. Rice is currently third in the drivers' championship standings by virtue of two wins, one second-place finish and one pole position. He also has led the most laps in each of four of this year's races. In 1998, his last year racing at Cleveland, Rice finished third after starting fifth while driving for Lynx Racing.
The DSTP Atlantic team also features Chardon-area residents Pam Griffith, Bruce Potter, Marc Armstrong, Jason Robb, Richard Jones, Charlie Cornish, and Ohio native Jeremy Fox. Sunday's 32-lap, 67.392-mile race is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am.