Hand hangs onto tough seventh place finish in Long Beach. Heading into Sunday's 32-lap CART Toyota Atlantic Championship event at Long Beach, Joey Hand and DSTP Motorsports had rolled the dice with a late Saturday evening car switch in hopes ...
Hand hangs onto tough seventh place finish in Long Beach.
Heading into Sunday's 32-lap CART Toyota Atlantic Championship event at Long Beach, Joey Hand and DSTP Motorsports had rolled the dice with a late Saturday evening car switch in hopes giving Hand a shot at a podium finish. Although the swap did not put Hand on top, it was still good enough to collect a seventh place finish and nine valuable Championship points.
Hand entered the Long Beach weekend 15th in the Championship after falling out early in the seasoning opening race in Monterrey, Mexico. With todays nine points, which brings Hand's total to 11, Hand moved up to ninth in the overall Championship chase, 22 points back of leader, Michael Valiante.
Because DSTP chose to switch to the second car for Sunday's race, they forfeited their eighth place starting position and dropped to the tail end of the field for the drop of the green flag, but by the time the first lap was completed, Hand had already climbed up to eleventh place.
Hand settled into tenth position in the early stages of the race until Sierra Sierra Racing's Marc Devellis and Ryan Dalziel tangled eliminating both from the race. The incident also dropped Luis Diaz deep in the field improving Hand's position to seventh. Hand then set his sights on sixth which was held by Danica Patrick for the middle portion of the race. After following closely for 13 laps, Hand was finally able to earn the position when Patrick slid into the tire barrier in turn 1 which brought out the second and final caution of the race. Hand later would give the sixth position back as Luis Diaz came back through the field. Hand finally held off a late charge by Stephan C Roy to hold onto seventh place finish behind race winner, A.J. Allmendinger.
Although the result was not what the DSTP Motorsports team was looking for coming into the weekend, they were relieved to get the nine points considering how tough the weekend went. Fortunately, there is a six week lull in the CART Toyota Atlantic schedule which will give the team some much needed time to iron out the bugs that plagued them this weekend. The Milwaukee Mile will host Round 3 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship on May 30-31. Although the historic oval in Milwaukee has not been kind to Hand or DSTP Motorsports, everyone is determined to get Hand back in the Championship hunt at that point.
Hand on Sunday's Race:
"It pretty much ended like it started. For some reason, we fought the car all weekend and ran seventh and eighth in every session. No matter what we did, we ended up in the same place."
"We ended up breaking out our "T" car last night because we think we damaged the main one in Mexico and thought we would give that a go. When you do something like that, it is a risk. It didn't hurt us at all, but it takes time to get the car dialed in because every car is different. That was tough to be working on your setup during the race when we should be racing all that time."
"All I can say is that the team worked every bit as hard this weekend when we were slow as they did when we were fast and that is all you can ask for from these guys. When we get to the next race, we'll have it figured out. You have your weekends where you are really fast and you are going to have the opposite which was this weekend."
"I'm happy this one is over with and we can get on our way to do some testing before the next race. We need to get through the next one which is the oval in Milwaukee which is for obvious reasons, not one of my favorite places. We then go to some of my favorite road courses on the schedule which is Laguna and Portland. We should be fast there."
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in 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 Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.