Lending a Hand: DSTP driver turns coach for upcoming race weekend in St. Petersburg. Chesterland, Ohio (February 19, 2003) -- Joey Hand, one of the most talented up and coming open wheel racers in North America will lend his expertise to one of...
Lending a Hand:
DSTP driver turns coach for upcoming race weekend in St. Petersburg.
Chesterland, Ohio (February 19, 2003) -- Joey Hand, one of the most talented up and coming open wheel racers in North America will lend his expertise to one of the most famous family names in all motorsports this weekend at the inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Al Unser, who is the son of two-time Champcar Champion, Al Unser Jr., will make his debut in the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series this weekend on the 1.806-mile street course in central Florida. Before Unser Jr. nabbed titles in 1990 and 1994 along with 31 career victories in Champcars, his father, Al Unser Sr., had earned Championships in 1983 and 1985. The youngest Unser has plotted a career path through the CART ladder system to continue the Unser tradition in open wheel racing.
Hand, who will kick off his third season in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship next month in Mexico, will coach the youngest Unser in his first race in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Since this is the first race on the new St. Petersburg temporary street circuit, Hand was a natural selection to help a young driver learn a new car and course. During his rookie season in 2001, Hand finished third on his first trip to Long Beach as well as grabbing wins on his maiden visits to city circuits in Houston and Vancouver.
"I have done a little coaching at my own karting school as well as some in Formula Mazdas, but this will be the first time I have actually gone to a race to coach only," said Hand, who won the 2001 Rookie of the Year award with DSTP Motorsports. "It will be a little different, but it should still be fun. I grew up watching Al Unser Jr. race in Champcars, so it is kind of bizarre in a cool way that I'm coaching his son."
With an eye on the future of her team, DSTP Motorsports owner, Dede Rogers, will take in the weekend with Hand as well.
"We are very excited to be working with Al this weekend in St. Petersburg and also hopefully working with him in the future as he moves up the ladder system to the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship," quoted Rogers. "To be working with a family like the Unsers is truly an honor for Joey and me."
After the St. Petersburg event, Rogers, Hand, and the rest of the DSTP Motorsports team will begin final preparations for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season opener at the Tecate Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey on March 23.
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.