THE GEOMETRY OF DREAMS Fast Facts: Lynx Racing at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston 1. Lynx Racing, owned by Texas native Jackie Doty and her partner, Peggy Haas, is one of the top teams in auto racing today.... 2. Lynx has won the ...
THE GEOMETRY OF DREAMS
Fast Facts: Lynx Racing at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston
1. Lynx Racing, owned by Texas native Jackie Doty and her partner, Peggy Haas, is one of the top teams in auto racing today....
2. Lynx has won the stepping-stone KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship the last two years in a row, 1996 with Patrick Carpentier and 1997 with Alex Barron; both drivers have graduated to CART and will be driving in the big race on Sunday...
3. Between them, current Lynx drivers Memo Gidley and Buddy Rice have scored four wins, three poles, four podium and ten ‘top 10’ finishes so far this year; both are widely regarded as rising stars and Gidley is __________________________________________
Dreams have their own special geometry, most often a circle, drawn carefully over time, that ultimately returns to the place it began.
And so it is with Texas native Jackie Doty, who dreamed a dream neither common nor encouraged among girls in the place and time of her youth; to become a successful auto racing driver.
So when drivers Memo Gidley and Buddy Rice take the green flag for the start of this weekend's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic support race at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Doty's dream will have come full circle.
For the first time in almost a decade, she will return to her home state, not as the driver of her dreams, but rather as the co-owner (with partner Peggy Haas) of one of the most unique and successful teams in auto racing today, Lynx Racing.
Now in its eighth year of operation, Lynx has won the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic championship the last two years in a row, and both drivers, Patrick Carpentier in 1996 and Alex Barron in 1997, have graduated to CART and will be racing in the main event on Sunday. Gidley and Rice won the first four races of the 1998 season, and are on the fast track to become the next generation of Lynx drivers to make the jump to CART.
"I've always had it in my heart to be a driver, and since I grew up with no contact with racing other than what was on TV, I really can't say why," says Doty, who was born and raised in Abilene and now lives in Pacific Grove, California. "Just once, when I was very, very young, my mother took me to an oval track race in Buffalo Gap, and I can still remember the cars, and the flames painted on the sides. I grew up wanting to drive in the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500, but in Texas at that time, girls weren’t even allowed in the pits, much less in the cockpit. So I went to California to go to the Bob Bondurant Racing school in 1987 and drove various kinds of cars for five years before I finally came to the understanding that driving race cars may have been my dream, it was not my destiny. So Peggy and I formed Lynx Racing in 1991, I retired from driving in 1992, and since then we've dedicated ourselves to helping young champions fulfill their dreams."
The two women met when Doty and Haas' husband (at the time) were competing in the same racing series. They became friends, and when Doty proposed the idea that would become the basis of Lynx Racing, Haas immediately agreed.
"It seemed like the young drivers at the time who were coming into the sport and rising to the top were either from wealthy families or the sons of famous drivers," says Haas. "Lynx Racing's mission is to seek out young drivers with the potential to become champions, but who have neither money nor connections. We provide them with funding, the best equipment, grooming in the social and corporate skills and instill in them a humanist, grounded attitude. The challenge of actively assisting a few extraordinary individuals to achieve their full potential is something we both find irresistible."
In addition to the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, Lynx Racing has a 'junior team', DSTP Motorsports (also owned by a woman, Dede Rushton), operating one step down on the ladder in the U.S. F2000 series. Memo Gidley, Buddy Rice and Alex Barron are all graduates of the DSTP program, which shares team manager/driving coach Steve Cameron and engineer Jim Griffith with the Lynx Atlantic team.
"Driving for race teams owned by women has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career," says Gidley. "These teams have been competitive at the highest level, but the basic attitude is different.
"The emphasis at DSTP and Lynx has been on education rather than winning, which really takes a lot of pressure off and allows you to learn how to race and how to set your car up rather than all the time driving on the ragged edge and crashing while trying to make a bad-handling car go fast. Of course, you have to win eventually, but by the time you learn the lessons they have to teach, it's something that comes naturally."
Lynx is also into the second year of sponsoring the first female driver in the team's history, Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington. She competes in the Star Formula Mazda Championship, driving a Lynx-liveried car prepared by one of the top teams in the series, Kent Stacy's S3 Racing.
Senske started from the pole in her first-ever oval track race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and consistently finishes in the top five in this intensely-competitive series that regularly features starting fields of 40 cars or more. As she moves up through the Lynx program, she will drive for DSTP in the U.S. F2000 series in 2000, and move up to the Lynx Atlantic team a year or two after that.
"I'm driving for one of the best teams in auto racing, I'm learning like mad and having a blast," says Senske. "It's always been my goal to succeed in auto racing at a level that would help open the doors for other women to get into the sport and I'm very grateful to Peggy and Jackie for helping make my dream come true."