CUT TIRE SLOWS MICHAEL TODD DAVID AT LAGUNA SECA MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 13, 1998) - Sometimes turning a corner in racing brings unexpected results. That's one way to describe the type of race that Michael Todd David and the PDR-Water...
CUT TIRE SLOWS MICHAEL TODD DAVID AT LAGUNA SECA
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 13, 1998) - Sometimes turning a corner in racing brings unexpected results. That's one way to describe the type of race that Michael Todd David and the PDR-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing Team had in round 12 of the 13-race KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, Saturday, Sept. 5.
David, who qualified 22nd in the PDR Enterprises-prepared Ralt RT-41, was heading for what appeared to a solid top-15 finish at worst before an incident with Andrea Delorenzi on lap 25 of the 28-lap Atlantic sprint prematurely ended his ascent through the 25-car field.
David gained three positions on the first couple of laps and had moved to 18th by lap 10. David moved up another position to 17th on lap 14 when John Brooks fell out with mechanical problems. Series officials soon after issued a full course caution to so the CART Safety Team could retrieve Nicolas Rondet's car that had run off course and stopped in the turn six gravel.
A re-start on lap 17 was highlighted by a multiple car incident in turn one in which Memo Gidley was forced off course, and other cars near him scrambled to avoid contact. Gidley was forced to retire with suspension damage, but not before David had advanced to 14th place.
The next several laps involved dicing and dodging for David in a series of clean passes and text book maneuvers for a small pack of cars that David was engaging.
"There were a lot of us fighting for spots on the re-start and I ended up getting tied up with another car," said David. "Meanwhile, another car with a clean line shot around both of us so I lost a position or two."
Problems erupted on lap 25 when David and Delorenzi spared for position with David seeking to overtake. Rather than overtaking, Delorenzi used a variety of blocking techniques that ended with his left rear wing cutting deeply into David's right front tire.
"There were cars running three-wide in front of me on lap 25 entering turn six," said David. "The trio was too wide to make it through six with any speed so I had to slow down. I got a run on them, but as I approached Delorenzi from behind he acted as if he didn't have any mirrors. I drove to the right. He drove to the right. I veered left. He veered left. I turned back to the right and then he steered to his right and cut my right front tire and put me out of the race. That's arguably a very dangerous way to race and I'm fortunate that nothing more serious than a cut tire occurred."
Delorenzi's wing sliced deeply into the middle of David's tire nearly puncturing it at the core. David was able to safely return to pit lane where the PDR team was ready for a seldom executed pit stop and tire change in Atlantic racing.
"The crew did an awesome job on the pit stop," said David. "They must have practiced emergency pit stops in their sleep. It was flawless. They had my car in the air, the cut tire off, a new tire on, and I was back on the ground and in the race in a matter of seconds. It was like a NASCAR pit stop the way the crew worked."
David made a quick re-entry into the race but was unable to find the lines or time to make up lost positions and was forced to settle for 19th. David is 15th in the Atlantic driver standings with 37 points.
The season finale of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is next for the PDR Enterprises-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing team, Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston.
ESPN2 will telecast round 12 of the Atlantic championship from Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 20, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. PT).