Chesterland, Ohio (August 29, 2001) - As the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic rookie points leader, Joey Hand hopes to capture his first victory of the season at this weekend's Molson Indy Vancouver, the 10th round of the 12-race Atlantic championship ...
Chesterland, Ohio (August 29, 2001) - As the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic rookie points leader, Joey Hand hopes to capture his first victory of the season at this weekend's Molson Indy Vancouver, the 10th round of the 12-race Atlantic championship series. Hand, who drives for the 2000 Atlantic championship-winning DSTP Motorsports team, mounted a charge for the lead at Road America just two weeks ago, until a broken fourth gear relegated him to a third place finish.
Coming into the fourth street race of the season, Hand and the DSTP team have qualified in the top-3 on two street courses thus far (2nd - Long Beach, 3rd - Toronto). On the strength of three podium finishes out of nine races (3rd - Long Beach, 2nd - Cleveland, 3rd - Road America), one fastest race lap (Cleveland) and 14 race laps led, Hand sits fourth overall in the championship standings and has been the leading rookie since round five at Cleveland.
"We're feeling good coming into Vancouver," said Hand, who pilots the #27 DSTP Motorsports - BG Products Swift. "We had a great run at Road America and I think the next three races should be just as good for us. The car has been strong, and I really enjoy street courses. I've never been to Vancouver, but I've been playing it on the Playstation, so at least I have an idea of where the track goes. It's also exciting to have another race in Canada. The turnout at all of the Canadian races this year has been incredible and they always get excited about the Atlantic races. I'm sure we'll put on another good show this weekend and, with a little luck, it will be us on top."
"It's great to be coming back to Vancouver," said Dede Rogers, whose DSTP team won the 2000 Atlantic title in its rookie season with driver Buddy Rice. "Not only is it one of the most beautiful cities we visit, but the racing is always action-packed. Since the Atlantic series didn't compete here last year, I hope we can make up for it by winning this weekend."
Hand, 22, is no stranger to race victories or championship-winning seasons. As one of America's most recognized kart racers, he most recently captured the 1999 Star Mazda Pro Series before being selected to represent the United States in England's Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series last year.
As a factory pilot for Emmick Enterprises, Hand won seven national karting championships ranging from Junior Piston Port to shifter karts. In addition, he founded a kart racing school in conjunction with Emmick and continues to consult with the kart manufacturer on motor and chassis development. Hand's first taste of full size racecars came in 1996, when he entered two regional Formula Mazda races, and won both from pole position. In 1997, he was selected to attend the Team Green Academy and was awarded with second overall out of 150 candidates.
Hand, along with his father and several friends, started a Formula Mazda team for the 1998 Star Formula Mazda Pro Series, where he finished fourth overall with one win. In 1999, he moved to Kent Stacy's S3 Racing team and took both the Star Mazda Series West Division and the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship titles with eight wins and eight poles out of 14 races. Stacy now serves as Hand's engineer at DSTP.
DSTP captured the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic championship with series veteran Rice by virtue of five wins, three second-place finishes, two thirds, two pole positions and six fastest race laps in the team's first season of Atlantic competition. In fact, Rice relinquished the championship lead only once since he took over at round two in Homestead, Florida, and led the most laps in seven of the year's 12 races (222 out of 422 completed).
Through DSTP, 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 Rice swept to last year's Atlantic title. Rogers also recently announced that Hand will be back to challenge for the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title with DSTP.
This weekend's Atlantic schedule begins with a 30-minute practice session at 8:45 am PT, followed by a 30-minute qualifying session at 3:15 pm on Friday, August 31. Saturday resumes with practice at 9:10 am, followed by the final qualifying session at 1:00 pm. The 38-lap race is scheduled for 11:15 am on Sunday, September 2, and will be televised via espn2 on Saturday, September 9, at 10:00 am ET with an encore presentation on Friday, September 21, at 5:00 am ET.