Chesterland, Ohio (July 30, 2002) - Joey Hand, who has fully recovered from injuries sustained in a testing accident last May at the Milwaukee Mile, will return to CART Toyota Atlantic competition this weekend at the wheel of the ...
Chesterland, Ohio (July 30, 2002) - Joey Hand, who has fully recovered from injuries sustained in a testing accident last May at the Milwaukee Mile, will return to CART Toyota Atlantic competition this weekend at the wheel of the #27 DSTP Motorports-BG Products Swift for the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, Canada. The event marks the 9th round of the 12-race 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season. Hand last competed this year at the series' second round at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.
"It feels so good to be getting back behind the wheel," said Hand, 23, who received official clearance to race at Trois-Rivieres this morning from Dr. Terry Trammell, CART's Chief Orthopedic Consultant. "We just ran at Blackhawk to make sure I would be fit to race and everything went better than expected. I felt great and there was no pain at all. The car felt very similar to before, but it took a little bit to get used to a different seat.
"I'm real happy to be making my return at Trois-Rivieres. It's one of my favorite races and the course suits my style. It's very bumpy and you have to hustle the car quite a bit. We just missed there last year, but we'll be in much better shape this weekend. I hope to like Trois-Rivieres even more after our race, and a solid result would be good for me and the team. I really have to thank everyone at DSTP and, especially, Dede Rogers for sticking by me during these past ten weeks."
Last year at Trois-Rivieres, Hand finished sixth after starting seventh in his rookie Atlantic season. Earlier this year, Hand started second and finished third in the season-opener in Monterrey, Mexico, then captured pole position at Long Beach only to have an on-track altercation take him out of the race. 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion and former DSTP driver Buddy Rice filled-in for Hand for rounds four through eight this season. The team did not compete in round three at the Milwaukee Mile.
"We're all very happy to see Joey driving again," said Rogers, whose DSTP team won the 2000 race at Trois-Rivieres from the pole with Rice behind the wheel. "It's tough to be on the sidelines, but Joey always maintained a positive outlook and just focused on getting back in the car. He beat everyone's expectations and I think that exemplifies his desire to win. We're also very appreciative of everything that Buddy has done for us. He's one of the family and always does an outstanding job. Trois-Rivieres is one of the best stops on the Atlantic circuit and we're all very excited about this weekend."
Through DSTP, Rogers has established herself as a true patron of promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Rice swept to the 2000 Atlantic title. Hand followed up to take the 2001 Rookie-of-the-Year award by virtue of finishing third overall.
This weekend's 3-day Atlantic schedule begins with practice and qualifying on both Friday and Saturday. The race is scheduled for Sunday, August 4 and will be televised live on Speed Channel.