FACT SHEET THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON FINALE - Texaco Grand Prix of Houston Oct. 2-4, 1998, Houston, Texas THE RACE: The final round of the 13-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 1.68-mile temporary street ...
FACT SHEET THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON FINALE - Texaco Grand Prix of Houston Oct. 2-4, 1998, Houston, Texas
THE RACE: The final round of the 13-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 1.68-mile temporary street circuit near downtown Houston, as the Sunday prelude race to the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston.
THE SERIES: The CART-sanctioned $1.35 million KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is the richest open-wheel development series in North America and one of CART's key rungs on its ladder system, noted for its long history of graduating its stars directly into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART stars Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
ATLANTIC SCHEDULE AT HOUSTON: Friday, Oct. 2: Practice 8:25 a.m. - 8:55 a.m. Qualifying 1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3: Qualifying 11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 4: Warm-up 10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. RACE 12:30 p.m.
BENTHAM CLINCHES '98 CHAMPIONSHIP: Player's-Forsythe driver Lee Bentham, of Richmond Hill, Ont., clinched the 1998 Driver's Championship with his second-place finish at Laguna Seca on Sept. 12. Bentham's second-place finish, coupled with Andrew Bordin's seventh-place finish at round 12 at Laguna Seca gave Bentham a 22-point lead over Bordin with just the Houston race left on the schedule. Since the maximum number of points a driver can earn at one race is 22, and since Bentham holds the tie-breaker with Bordin, Bentham was crowned champion heading into the Houston finale. However, the rest of the top 10 positions are still up for grabs. Bentham leads with 149, followed by Bordin at 127 points, Memo Gidley at 123, Alex Tagliani at 113, Anthony Lazzaro at 112, Buddy Rice at 108, Matt Sielsky at 102, and Kenny Wilden at 92 points.
1998 ATLANTIC RACE WINNERS: Rnd 1, Long Beach - Memo Gidley Rnd 2, Nazareth - Buddy Rice Rnd 3, Gateway - Memo Gidley Rnd 4, Milwaukee - Memo Gidley Rnd 5, Montreal - Lee Bentham Rnd 6, Cleveland - Kenny Wilden Rnd 7, Toronto - Alex Tagliani Rnd 8, Trois-Rivieres, Alex Tagliani Rnd 9, Mid-Ohio - Lee Bentham Rnd 10, Road America - Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 11, Vancouver - Andrew Bordin Rnd 12, Laguna Seca - Anthony Lazzaro Note: Seven different drivers have won Atlantic races in 1998.
KOOL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: The battle for the KOOL Rookie of the Year has boiled down to a two-way fight between Andrew Bordin (127 pts.) and Buddy Rice (108). To win the prestigious honor, Bordin has to finish 13th or better.
NEW TO TEXAS: The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, throughout its glorious 25-year history, has never raced in Texas. But several Atlantic drivers hail from the Lone Star state, including Bob Ferstl and Scott Wood of Houston, and John Rutherford IV of Ft. Worth.
TELEVISION BROADCASTS: ESPN2 will televise Saturday's Round 13 at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 4:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 6 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 5 a.m., and on Friday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. ESPN International will telecast the race on Saturday, Oct. 10, 4:30 p.m. CTV will air it in Canada on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. All times are Eastern.