Long Beach Friday notes

Friday, April 11, 1997 The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is round two of the 12-race 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship. The KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic communications staff of James Hyneman, Blair...

Friday, April 11, 1997

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is round two of the 12-race 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship. The KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic communications staff of James Hyneman, Blair Hefty and Anne Roy will be available throughout the weekend to assist in your media needs.

. Now in its 24th year, the $1.34-million 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship is the richest and longest-running open-wheel development series in North America, and a primary training ground for future Indy Car and Formula One drivers.

. SCHEDULE (PDT): Friday, April 11 practice: 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. qualifying: 5:25 p.m. to 5:55 p.m.

Saturday, April 12 qualifying: 11:10 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. RACE: 3:45 p.m. (PDT) . Long Beach is the second race of the 12 event 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship. 45 drivers are entered including Homestead race winner and current points leader Anthony Lazzaro, Homestead runner-up Memo Gidley, and Homestead pole winner Chuck West. Lazzaro leads Gidley by four points, 20-16. Case Montgomery is third with 15 points. Joe Sposato is expected to make his second appearance in 1997 and become the first Atlantic driver in history to race in 100 career Atlantic races. . LAST YEARS KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic race was the second event of the season and was won by Case Montgomery, of Salinas, Calif. Montgomery won the race by going wire-to-wire. It was his second career Atlantic pole and victory, and moved him to the top of the leader board with 31 points. Montgomery finished 0.194-seconds ahead of Patrick Carpentier. Newcomer Chuck West, of Sonoma, Calif., qualified third and finished third in his first career Atlantic start. Michael David recorded his career best Atlantic finish with fifth place out of the 35-car field.

. Long Beach is a 1.59-mile (2.56-km), eight-turn temporary street circuit; race length is 38-laps/60.42-miles/ 97.28-km. . RECORDS: Qual.: Richie Hearn 60.157-sec/95.15mph Ralt RT-41 4/9 Race Lap: Jacques Villeneuve 60.249-sec/95.01 mph Ralt RT-40 4/93 . U.S. TELEVISION: ESPN2 - - Saturday, April 19 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PDT ESPN2 - - Tuesday, April 22 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. EDT . PRIZE MONEY (US): total race purse $85,000 winner's earnings $20,000

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What is the C2 Championship in the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship?

The C2 Championship is a separate competitive class for older Atlantic cars (Swift DB-4, and Reynard 89H to 93H). It affords new and veteran drivers alike the opportunity to compete in the a highly competitive and lucrative racing series, and within a comfortable budget. Drivers of these cars are eligible for overall points and prize money with separate points that are awarded to determine the C2 champion. An additional point is also given to the highest C2 qualifier. The series contingency awards program also covers the C2 class. The top three finishers in the C2 Championship will be honored at the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship year-end banquet at Monterey, Calif., and the C2 champion will receive a year-end bonus.

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Practice Session:

9:00 a.m. - - Session starts under sunny, clear skies and temperatures in the mid 60s' 45 Atlantic cars are on course.

9:06 a.m. - - #22 SAUCE spins in the back straight-away and stops #49 LIEBENGOOD spins while trying to avoid contact with #22 SAUCE and hits the wall #49 LIEBENGOOD rebounds off the wall and makes ,contact with #5 AKASE brings out FULL COURSE CAUTION -- all drivers are out and okay #5 AKASE suffers front wing damage.

#22 SAUCE retires from the session due to an oil breather venting problem which built up pressure and blew an oil line.

SESSION CALLED with #17 CHARLES NEARBURG, of Dallas, Texas, fastest in the NRC Marketing - Nearburg Exploration/Niederhoffer-Henkel Co.-prepared Ralt RT-40 at 1:08.378 = 83.711 mph.

#4 ANTHONY LAZZARO, of Acworth, Ga., was second-fastest in the Phillips Motorsports-Platinum Sound/BG Products Ralt RT-41 at 1:10.029 = 81.737 mph.

#32 ALEX BARRON, of Vista, Calif., was third-fastest in the Lynx Racing-Victory Circle/Red Line Oil Ralt RT-41 at 1:11.089 = 80.518 mph.

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#5 YOICHI AKASE (Phillips Motorsports-Autopian Country Club) "The car in front of me spun on what looked like oil. He spun and hit the wall, and then he came back on me. We were on the back straight-away. It was unavoidable. I tried to brake as best I could but it wasn't enough. I'm feeling okay and the car only had some front wing damage."

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , Richie Hearn , Anthony Lazzaro