Texaco Grand Prix of Houston - KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race October 4, 1998 - Houston, Texas Mike Stucker - Motorsport News International The final race of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic season got underway under cloudy and humid conditions at 12:34...
Texaco Grand Prix of Houston - KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race October 4, 1998 - Houston, Texas Mike Stucker - Motorsport News International
The final race of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic season got underway under cloudy and humid conditions at 12:34 PM today on the streets of Houston, Texas. The scheduled 45 lap race was started on the back straight as the front straight was not considered long enough. The Atlantics also used a rolling start instead of the usual standing start.
A full course yellow was called at the start as Masaoki Nagashima and Case Montgomery make contact in the final turn before the start. Both cars pit with damage. On the green flag restart at 12:37, Anthony Lazzaro slipped past pole sitter Alex Tagliani in turn 1.
A few minutes later, Rocky Moran Jr. runs off the track but manages to get back to the pits. On lap 8, David Rutledge brushes the turn 9 wall but continues. Two laps later, Michael Conte makes contact with the turn 1 tire barriers, bringing out a full course yellow.
On lap 15, Lazzaro leads Tagliani, Lee Bentham, Kenny Wilden, and Andrew Bordin. Track is back green on lap 16 and Wilden passes Bentham for third in turn 5. Nicolas Rondet taps a wall slightly and continues.
Wilden passes Tagliani for second in turn 6 on lap 21. Four laps later Tagliani safely retakes the position but Wilden breaks his right rear suspension when he tags the turn 5 exit. Wilden slowly circulates back to the pits and retires.
Tagliani begins putting pressure on Lazzaro, spending two laps looking to make a pass but not finding a big enough hole. At 1:12 rain begins to fall very hard bringing out a full course yellow. On lap 30, the checkered flag is shown, ending the race 15 laps early because of poor weather conditions. Anthony Lazarro is the winner followed by Alex Tagliani and Lee Bentham, the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Champion.
Elapse time of the race was 41:26.827 with the winner's average speed being 66.315 mph. Andrew Bordin clinched the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year title.