Long Beach Race Notes/Driver Quotes

1998 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH, APRIL 3 - 4 Saturday, April 4, 1998 The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will take the course twice today. Final qualifying is set for 12 p.m., with Round One of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota ...


Saturday, April 4, 1998 The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will take the course twice today. Final qualifying is set for 12 p.m., with Round One of the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Championship scheduled to get underway at 4 p.m. * * * KOOL, the co-title sponsor of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship with Toyota Motor Sales USA, once again is adding an impressive incentive and performance bonus awards for drivers participating in the 1998 championship. As part of KOOL's overall driver development efforts for the second straight year, KOOL will support drivers through race-by-race and year-end awards for the upcoming KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, totaling a whopping $64,000. The "KOOL Move of the Race" award of $1,000 will be presented to the driver at each race who is judged to have completed the most impressive "move of the race." KOOL also will honor the highest-placing rookie at each race with its $1,000 "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award. At year's end, a $15,000 bonus from KOOL will go to the highest-placing rookie in the final 1998 points total and will honor the highest-placing non-rookie at year's end with the "KOOL Racing Challenge" award and a $15,000 check. Additionally, KOOL will award the "KOOL Series Cup" year-end bonus of $10,000 to the series champion. * * * MCI, one of the world's largest and fastest growing diversified communications companies, is the "Official Communications Company" of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship for the second straight year. MCI's sponsorship again includes the "MCI Fast Pace Award," a $1,000 bonus given to the driver with the fastest race lap at each event. MCI Racing, a group within MCI, spearheads all of MCI's motorsports initiatives, including series sponsorship in CART, NASCAR, Indy Lights, Atlantics and Historic Sportscar Racing, as well as team sponsorships including: Arciero Wells/MCI Racing Team, the MCI/Toyota Atlantic Team, the MCI/Toyota Off-Road Truck Team, the PacWest Racing Team and the Stewart Grand Prix. Saturday, April 4, 1998 SATURDAY'S FINAL QUALIFYING NOTE: This is the final qualifying session. Provisional qualifying was held on Friday. 12:00 p.m. Final qualifying starts with cloudy skies on a wet course. All qualifiers are on rain tires. 12:10 p.m. #12 Brooks slides at end of front straight, hits nose on wall to driver's left, continues with damage, then pits. 12:15 p.m. #31 Gonyou spins several times, recovers, then continues. 12:18 p.m. #37 Vosloo stops on course between turns 2 and 3, then continues. 12:20 p.m. With five minutes remaining in the final qualifying session, #19 Gidley has recorded the fastest time of the session at 1:12.505. 12:23 p.m. #12 Gidley records a time of 1:11.446 right before the end of the session. 12:24 p.m. #23 Brown off course at turn 1 in safe place. 12:25 p.m. Checkered flag ends the session. Gidley's fastest time during the wet session was nearly nine seconds slower than #65 Buddy Rice's pole time of 1:02.924 set during Friday's provisional qualifying session. Consequently, Friday's provisional qualifying times will set the grid for this afternoon's 4 p.m. race. POST-QUALIFYING DRIVER QUOTES: #16 Matt Sielsky (D&L Racing-LCI International/Emerald Financial/Ralt RT-41) "The track conditions were changing with every lap. The back half of the course wasn't too wet, and the front went dry, and then it was raining on the back side. It was a constant compromise from one side to the other. We certainly had to be on our toes for the whole session." #2 Andrew Bordin (B.D.J.S.- Millenium Data Systems/Ralt RT-41) "It feels great to be in third position. I hope everyone will be able to get up the line with these big sticky tires. If it's wet, there shouldn't be any problem, but if it's dry, I think there may be a bit of a problem with everyone trying to get off the line. We aren't used to these tires, so hopefully the testing I've done will pay off." #19 Memo Gidley (Lynx Racing/Ralt RT-41) "It's great to be one and two on the front row. I want to go racing, so let's just go and do it and see what happens. These tires are pretty slick, the balance is not too bad. You can wheel-spin on the straight pretty easily, and I think that's why a lot of drivers lost it. It's going to be an interesting race. I didn't have any problems out there. I felt really good." (Peter Frey) #65 Buddy Rice (Lynx Racing/Ralt RT-41) "It's really slippery out there, and the walls seem to concentrate the spray so it's hard to see where you're going. But, we've got a good setup and we've got the ideal track position starting on the front row, so we'll just try to stay in front and keep from making mistakes. There's bound to be some yellows, so making sure you're in front toward the end of the race could be important if it ends under yellow." (Peter Frey) #35 David Pook (Hylton Motorsports-Budweiser/U.S. Print/Swift 008.a) "We've made lots of positive changes. I'm very pleased. We are definitely much quicker than our times this morning reflect." (Nicole Lascelle) #14 Mike Conte (Microsoft/White-Black Design/Ralt RT-41) "It feels good to get in a complete session. I learned a lot about driving the car in the wet, since I've never tested an Atlantic in the rain. The visibility was really bad and there was lots of standing water and puddles. I was even getting some wheel-spin flat-out in fifth gear on the straights. It's fine with me if the race is wet. We've definitely made some progress this session, and we'll make some more before the race this afternoon. Maybe if we coat the car with Rain-X, we'll pick up another tenth." (Jerry Jensen) #10 Mark Tague (Altec/Liaison/Ralt RT-41) "Well, the Long Beach curse continues. I was coming through Turn five, and the back end stepped out on me. I touched the inside wall and spun back around. The damage isn't too bad, just some bent arms on the left rear. At least it happened near the end of the session, and we were able to get plenty of track time. Other than that, the track is a lot of fun. We were hoping to pick up a few positions for the race. If it's a wet race this afternoon, visibility is going to be critical." (Jerry Jensen) #66 Alexandre Tagliani (Player's-Forsythe/Indeck Ralt RT-40) "If the weather is like right now (early Saturday afternoon), we'll go to a 'half-way' setup, half wet-dry to be ready for a drier track. We must be conscious that it will be dangerous in heavy rain on these tires. I expect the race will be stopped if the conditions are too wet. This means that leading the race will be of utmost importance throughout. The car is running very well. We were doing adjustments and I didn't go out when the track was not as wet, so my speeds are not quite what they should be." (Francois Cartier) #33 Lee Bentham (Player's-Forsythe/Indeck Ralt RT-40) "My times were excellent throughout this session and I'm very happy with the car. We will make a few minor changes if the conditions continue to be the way they are. I like rain, and I'm looking forward to this race." (Francois Cartier) * * * Los Angeles radio station Arrow 93.1 and morning drive-time host "Uncle Joe" Benson will gain added mileage this weekend by prominently displaying the Arrow 93.1 FM moniker on the No. 3 PDR-Water Joe Racing Ralt RT-41. "Water Joe teaming up with 'Uncle Joe' and Arrow FM seemed like a natural connection," said driver/team co-owner Michael Todd David. Water Joe is the beverage industry's premier brand of caffeine-enhanced artesian spring water. * * * RACE NOTES - Round 1 - 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship: Pre-race note: The race is scheduled for 38 laps or one hour, whichever comes first. 4:05 p.m. #32 Montgomery stops on course en route to taking place in line...must start from back of grid. 4:10 p.m. #65 Rice takes the green flag following the traditional Atlantic "standing start" and holds off teammate #19 Gidley to retain lead on opening lap... #14 Conte spins and continues...#23 Brown stops on course...#24 Nagashima, who started 6th, also stops on course, bringing out a FULL COURSE YELLOW on opening lap. 4:15 p.m. #66 Tagliani pits during caution. 4:20 p.m. GREEN course on lap 6...#65 Rice retains lead on the restart...#14 Conte slides to the side and stops on course to driver's left...#19 Gidley pulls in front of #65 Rice at entrance to turn 6, #65 Rice slides into run-off at turn 6, tries to re-enter field, but stalls...FULL COURSE YELLOW. 4:24 p.m. #32 Montgomery pits on lap 8 during caution...#14 Conte towed off course. 4:28 p.m. On lead lap 11, #65 Rice re-enters course to near back of field. 4:30 p.m. GREEN course on lap 13...#2 Bordin pushing #19 Gidley for the lead. 4:33 p.m. #16 Sielsky and #22 Rutherford slide into run-off at turn 6...#35 Pook makes contact with wall, stops on course... FULL COURSE YELLOW on lap 14...#35 Pook out and okay during caution. 4:40 p.m. GREEN course on lap 18...#19 Gidley leading the field...#5 Akase and #11 Clayton make contact at turn 3, #16 Sielsky, #12 Brooks and #84 Forrer get caught up and can't get through...all five cars stop on course...FULL COURSE YELLOW. 4:45 p.m. GREEN course on lap 23...#19 Gidley continues to lead...#71 Sahley and #10 Tague make contact at turn 6...both cars stop, then continue. 4:52 p.m. #33 Bentham, who was running third, spins at the hairpin exit onto the front straight, and continues but falls back to 18th place on lap 27. 4:53 p.m. #31 Gonyou spins at turn 6, stops on course, bringing out the fifth FULL COURSE YELLOW...after 30 laps, the top five are #19 Gidley, #2 Bordin, #43 Delorenzi, #81 Hill, and #25 Lazzaro...rain steadily falls. 5:00 p.m. GREEN course on lap 35...#19 Gidley continues to lead. 5:05 p.m. #25 Lazzaro apparently having mechanical problems, dropping back in the field...#43 Delorenzi moves into 3rd place. 5:09 p.m. #65 Rice and #91 MacDonald slide into turn-off at turn 6...both stop on course...brings out FULL COURSE YELLOW on lap 37. 5:10 p.m. CHECKERED FLAG caps the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship season opening race with #19 Memo Gidley, of San Rafael, Calif., collecting his third Atlantic career victory in the Lynx Racing Ralt RT-41. #2 Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., finishes second in the B.D.J.S.-Millennium Data Systems Ralt RT-41. #43 Andrea Delorenzi, of Cesena (Forli), Italy, rounds out the top three in the RDS Motorsports-AGIP Ralt RT-41. MARGIN OF VICTORY: Race ended under YELLOW FLAG WINNER'S AVERAGE SPEED: 61.266 mph TIME OF RACE: :58:34.555 By virtue of today's victory, #19 Memo Gidley collects a total winner's purse of $20,000 from the guaranteed purse of $85,000. * * * #2 Andrew Bordin earns $1,000 and the "MCI Fast Pace" award, along with $1,000 for the "KOOL Rookie Challenge" honor for being the highest-finishing Atlantic rookie driver with his second-place showing. * * * #43 Andrea Delorenzi captures the "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award and the "KOOL Move Of The Race" title, both with a $1000 bonus. Drivers Quotes Following the Race: #16 Matt Sielsky (D&L Racing-LCI International/Emerald Financial/Ralt RT-41) " We had a fantastic car. The LCI car went from 21st to 7th in just three laps and I thought I was on my way to a great finish. I was trying to gain some ground in braking in Turn 6 and the car wouldn't have it so I went off. There was no damage to the car so I continued and was back at the end of the pack. Then there was a crash in Turn 3 and I was part of that crash because the track was blocked and I had nowhere to go. I had a bent front suspension and I continued for a while but I thought it would be better to park it for the day." #2 Andrew Bordin (B.D.J.S.- Millennium Data Systems/Ralt RT-41) "We had a little bit of a dry setup just in case. We went in between the rain and the sun. At the beginning of the race when I was trying to catch Memo, the weather was to my car's liking so we were very quick and I think that's where we got the fastest lap. I was behind Memo learning his style of driving. We both played it smart, we were patient, and that's what it takes to be up front. I think I'm going to be running up front this season so it's good to learn what these guys in the front are doing. It's just great to be back and doing well. I take last year's experience and put it in my back pocket. You just can't buy that." #19 Memo Gidley (Lynx Racing/Ralt RT-41) " Buddy and I both got really good starts even though we had a wet setup and it was getting dry. I managed to pass Buddy in the middle of the race. It started to rain again and my car was working really well. This race was all about being easy on the throttle and being patient. My year of experience last year and having raced here before were a big help. It's going to be a real competitive season and my own teammate is going to be someone to worry about. (Peter Frey) #65 Buddy Rice (Lynx Racing/Ralt RT-41) "I made a rookie mistake and overworked it into a turn. I spun but didn't hit anything and was able to get back into it. With all the yellows, it was impossible to move back up and the positions I gained were mostly due to attrition. I was back up into the top ten toward the end when another car and I almost touched in a turn and we both went off. It was a little disappointing but really educational." (Peter Frey) #3 Michael David (PDR Enterprises-WaterJoe/David Engineering/Ralt RT-41) "As I was rounding the corner, I saw the yellow flag and my team radioed that there was a car (#33) stopped on track. They didn't know whereBentham had stopped on track, so I decided to stay in the middle so I could move better in either direction. As I went through the corner, I was going faster than I thought and ended up taking an outside line. I was lucky to tip-toe past Bentham without hitting him or the wall." (About finishing in the top ten) "It's nice to be in the points so early and it proves to our team that our off-season testing had merit. We would have liked a top five but we aren't knocking sixth place. It's better than our start last year (dns). The track was extremely slippery, so coming out of corners was scary and you couldn't hit the throttle until third gear. The braking zones through Turn 1 were very slick during the entire race. There were numerous times when I felt I was hydroplaning. I was able to keep the car clean, so we can roll the car into the transporter and get ready for Nazareth." (Jim Hyneman) #43 Andrea Delorenzi (RDS Motorsports-AGIP/Ralt RT-41) "It was very difficult at the beginning of the race because it was very hard to see, but I like the rain and I had a good car today. I think the drivers are very clean and very competent and this is important. Of course there were too many yellow flags, but that's normal with all the rain. I worked very hard last night with my team and they did such a good job on the car. I couldn't believe it when I saw the checkered flag. I was so happy." 66 Alexandre Tagliani (Player's-Forsythe/Indeck Ralt RT-40) "My car started misfiring as I came out of the first turn. I called my Player's team and I came in two laps later. They changed the electronic ignition and the plugs. With all these changes and the lack of power I was two laps down. Following the repair, the car was great and I know we have a good machine for the rest of the season. I came through the field and in the points and that's what is important." (Francois Cartier) #33 Lee Bentham (Player's-Forsythe/Indeck Ralt RT-40) "From the onset, I was getting power down and was dropping back in the straights. Even with this problem, I could have held third position but my gearbox went towards the end of the race. Everything just locked up and that was the end." (Francois Cartier) #23 Zak Brown (Active Motorsports/Weider Publications Swift 008.a) "I had a decent start and made it through turn one. Going into Turn 2, it started to bottle up to the outside so I went inside. Two cars touched pretty hard in front of me. It was a chain reaction from there and I was the victim." (Heather Handley) #32 Case Montgomery (Condor Motorsports Swift 008.a) "Well, it started to rain. Then it got slick. Then guys crashed. What a mess! In Turn 6, someone spun and the guy in front of me over reacted and I tapped him while he was trying to avoid the spin." (On parade lap) "The car acted like it was running out of fuel before the start. It started to sputter and just died. I was going about 100 mph and I just kept trying to bump start it. The engine cowling came loose and I ended up starting from the pits. That didn't matter so much - made it even more of a challenge to get to the front." (Pam Morey) #14 Mike Conte (Microsoft/White-Black Design Ralt RT-41) "Well, this definitely wasn't the way we wanted to start the year. I was coming through the hairpin, got on the throttle and the car kicked a little sideways. Unfortunately, I touched another car and broke a link on the left rear and ended our day. I think we would have had a strong result otherwise. The car was running great and I was feeling more comfortable with the track. Visibility was obviously a problem. Overall, we learned a lot this weekend. Chuck West and Mike Doyle were extremely helpful and it's great to have them on my side. I'm looking forward to moving forward to Nazareth." (Jerry Jensen) #10 Mark Tague (Altec/Liason Ralt RT-41) "Well, the Long Beach curse continues to continue. We definitely had a top ten car today. I was driving a very conservative race, taking it easy and got taken out by another car. I was going into Turn 6, and Sahley was coming inside. I gave him plenty of room, but he locked-up his front wheels and drove straight into me. It's a real shame for the World Speed team. They really worked hard getting the car ready for the race. At least Long Beach is behind us and we know what we're up against for the next few races." (Jerry Jensen) Point Standings Through Long Beach Pos. Driver Current Points 1 Memo Gidley 21 2 Andrew Bordin 16 3 Andrea Delorenzi 14 4 Derek Hill 12 5 Steve Imhoff 11 6 Michael David 10 7 Eric Lang 9 8 Kenny Wilden 8 9 Bob Siska 7 10 Alexandre Tagliani 6 11 Case Montgomery 5 12 John Rutherford 4 13 Rob MacDonald 3 Buddy Rice 3 15 Dan Vosloo 1

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Derek Hill , Memo Gidley , John Rutherford , Buddy Rice , Bob Siska , Andrew Bordin , Eric Lang , Zak Brown , Lee Bentham
Teams Stewart Grand Prix