HOUSTON, Tx. (October 1, 2000) -- Andrew Bordin (PPI Motorsports/WorldCom/Team Player's/Swift 008.a) and teammate Daniel Wheldon (PPI Motorsports/Jayhard Products/Swift 008.a) will leave Houston knowing they gave team owner Cal Wells, the best...
HOUSTON, Tx. (October 1, 2000) -- Andrew Bordin (PPI Motorsports/WorldCom/Team Player's/Swift 008.a) and teammate Daniel Wheldon (PPI Motorsports/Jayhard Products/Swift 008.a) will leave Houston knowing they gave team owner Cal Wells, the best they had. Bordin, who led flag to flag in Sunday's Round 12 CART Toyota Atlantic finale, secured his second victory of the season on the 1.527-mile street course in Houston, while teammate Wheldon, who finished fourth, was awarded with Rookie of the Year honors. David Rutledge (Lynx Racing/Swift.008.a) finished the race second while 2000 Atlantic Series Champion, Buddy Rice (DSTP Motorsports/Swift 008.a), was third. The win allowed Bordin to edge past Argentinean rookie Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves/Swift 008.a), and claim third place in the driver's championship.
Wells announced in August he would be withdrawing his PPIM team from Toyota Atlantic competition at the end of the season to focus on other projects, and both Bordin and Wheldon were determined to finish the season on a winning note.
"I was extremely, extremely pleased," said Bordin. "For so many reasons, this race meant so much to me. I needed to win this race to finish third in the Championship, which obviously is very important. I really wanted to win this race for Cal (Wells). This is PPI's final outing and Cal has done a lot for me, the Series, and basically everyone he is associated with. And of course, for my guys, they have worked so hard for me for two years now. It has been a great experience with this team. Nick (Harvey), the team manager has given me a lot of support. Kyle, my engineer has given me great cars. My car today was amazing. It was so easy to drive that car. Kyle did such a great job. I was really hard on the gearboxes this weekend and Mike and the guys worked endlessly to help me win today. My sponsors WorldCom, Player's and Thyssen have also given me endless support which I really appreciate."
Wells was equally pleased with the victory.
"Well of course, this is a special win for us," he said. "Andrew drove a great race today, and he and Dan have done a great job all year. This program has been special to us and of course we won our first open wheel championship here. This is a great series."
Rutledge, who finishes the season in sixth place in the driver's standings was very pleased with his weekend performance.
"Our goal today, as always, was to win the race," said the West Vancouver native. "But beyond that, it was important to have a finish that ended the season on a high note and set the tone for our winter testing and next year. The car was as good as a car can be on a street circuit, and all the work we've done during the season has really started to come together. I'm going to be back with Lynx next year, and to know what I'll be doing next season for the first time in my career, is really a great feeling. Lynx is a great team, and I'm proud to be part of it."
Buddy Rice, who clinched the season Championship two weeks ago, finished third.
"Once again, we had an excellent car," remarked Rice. "I had a difficult start and hit the rev limiter while shifting into third. I fell back a few spots but was able to move back up and catch David. We could run with him, but we didn't have enough to get around. It was another great race and solid finish for the DSTP Atlantic team. It's been a terrific year and now it's time to celebrate our championship win."
Sunday's 43-lap sprint race was marred by four caution periods, the first on lap three when Frederic Gosparini (Cobb Racing/AT&T Broadband/Euroformula/Winfield/Swift 008.a) made heavy contact with the inside of the Turn 2 wall with the right side of his car. Gosparini bounced off the wall and collected Mike Conte (Lynx Racing/CHAMPS Karting/Swift 008.a). Conte would later bring out the fourth yellow of the day on Lap 31 after sliding into the tire wall at Turn 7 and damaging the left front of his car.
The second and third yellows came on Lap 8 and 24 when Basso made contact at the exit of Turn 5, losing his rear wing and right rear wheel, and finally when T.J. Bell (Michael Shank Racing/Bell Trans/Swift 008.a) spun in Turn 6 and stalled.
Bordin picked up his second Atlantic $1,000 "Toyota Pole Award" of the season for posting the fastest qualifying time of 1:06.491 (82.676 mph) and also earned the $1,000 MCI WorldCom "Fast Pace" award for recording the fastest race lap of 1:07.293 (81.691 mph).
ESPN2 will televise the race on Sunday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. eastern with a repeat broadcast on Tuesday, October 10 at 5:00 a.m. Viewers in Canada can watch the race on CTV Sportsnet on Monday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m. in all regions.