Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Mike Conte turned in jewel-like drives in the second round of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. Rutledge, who qualified 16th, picked his way...
Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Mike Conte turned in jewel-like drives in the second round of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. Rutledge, who qualified 16th, picked his way through the pack to finish 5th, while Conte, starting from the 15th spot, had to pit for a new nose on his car and worked his way up from the back of the pack to finish 9th. "Today's performance is a much better indication of the team's potential than what we showed in qualifying and the race yesterday," said Rutledge. "Our top speed was better, but I was still having major understeer going from the infield up onto the banking, which really hurt us on re-starts. There are still a few things we need to sort out on the car, but we're really close to returning to the form Lynx Racing is used to showing. Long Beach is next, and that's a course I like and which Lynx won on in 1998, so I think our results will keep improving as the season goes on and the team comes together." Added Conte, "I don't think I ever worked harder in a race car. I was running tenth when someone clipped my nose and broke off half my front wing, and last when I went back out after pitting for a new nose. The team did a really great job in giving me a car good enough to come from the back of the pack at mid-race to finish 9th. We go directly from here to testing for Long Beach, so we'll be ready to take the fight to a higher level for the next race." The race was won by former Lynx driver Buddy Rice and the new DSTP Motorsports team with a dominant effort that shows them to be major competitors for this year's Atlantic title. Dan Wheldon finished second, Rocky Moran was third and Andrew Bordin was fourth. In Saturday's race, the first of the weekend's Atlantic double-header, Conte and Rutledge qualified 15th and 17th and finished 8th and 12th, with Rutledge battling a sticking throttle for the entire race. The combined points from the two races leave Rutledge and Conte 6th and 7th in the championship battle, with 11 and 9 points, respectively. Buddy Rice leads with 39 points. In the Atlantic series, 20 points are awarded for a win.
Margin of victory: .228 sec. Time of race: 44:02.952. Winner's speed: 96.165 mph. Fastest race lap: Wheldon, 40.362 sec. Cautions: three, for 16 laps. Lap leaders: Rice, 1-6; Orsi, 7-11; Rice, 12-47; Wheldon, 48; Rice, 49-50. Top-10 points (after 2 of 12 rounds): Rice, 39; Wheldon, 37; Moran Jr., 26; Bordin, 20; Basso, 18; Rutledge, 11; Conte, 9; Bell, 8; Veilleux, 7; Mercier, 6.
Next race: Saturday, April 15, Long Beach, Calif.
Atlantic Race #1 ESPN2 / Saturday, April 1 / 3 - 4 pm (ET)
CTV SportsNet / Monday, April 10 /8 pm (local)
Atlantic Race #2 ESPN2 / Saturday, April 8 / 5:30 - 6:30 pm (ET)
CTV SportsNet / Monday, April 17 / 7pm (local)
Pro Series Race ESPN2 / Tuesday, April 18 / 6 - 7 pm (ET)