Accident takes out polesitter DSTP/Hand at Long Beach. First turn melee hampers start of race. Long Beach, Calif. (April 14, 2002) - Polesitter Joey Hand fell victim to contact with the turn one tire wall while battling for position with ...
Accident takes out polesitter DSTP/Hand at Long Beach. First turn melee hampers start of race.
Long Beach, Calif. (April 14, 2002) - Polesitter Joey Hand fell victim to contact with the turn one tire wall while battling for position with Rocky Moran, Jr. while working lap eleven of today's CART Toyota Atlantic race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The start of the race was also hampered by a multi-car pile-up when the Dorricott Racing's Jon Fogarty charged into the first turn and made contact with Hand, which subsequently sent the Hylton Motorsports' car of Ryan Hunter-Reay into the tire wall. While the track was completely blocked for a moment, the course went to a full-course yellow. No drivers were injured in the first lap incident.
"At the start, it was a drag race into the first turn," said Hand, who had the fastest time in this morning's warm-up session. "I looked in my mirrors and there was nobody there, then the guys came on the radio and said there was somebody coming up the inside. I was already on the brakes and Fogarty came flying inside and pushed me into Hunter-Reay. I went up the escape route to avoid getting hit from behind. Then the track was completely blocked and I couldn't believe they didn't re-start the race. I came back out in eighth and was working on getting around Rocky for sixth. I had him pretty deep into the first turn, got into the gray and just barely clipped the tires. I didn't hit that hard, but it was enough to take off the right front pick-up points and end our day. It was a shame. We really wanted to do well here and once again the DSTP car was the one to beat. Unfortunately, today didn't go our way, and it's going to be a long six weeks until our shot at redemption."
Today's race marked Hand's first-ever Atlantic DNF because of an accident. Michael Valiante won today's race, followed by Alex Gurney and Fogarty. Hand collected one championship point for winning the pole position, however, falls to eighth overall with 15 points in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship standings.
Round three of the 12-race 2002 Atlantic series is scheduled for Sunday, June 2, at the Miller Lite 225 CART FedEx Championship weekend on the Milwaukee Mile oval in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.