Hand Earns Second Career Pole DSTP Driver At The Point in Long Beach. LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2002) -- Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift 014.a) captured his second career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship pole in Saturday's ...
Hand Earns Second Career Pole DSTP Driver At The Point in Long Beach.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 11, 2002) -- Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift 014.a) captured his second career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship pole in Saturday's final qualifying session at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Hand won his first pole in the final race of the 2001 season at Laguna Seca.
With Hand's fast time today combined with yesterday's qualifying win by Ryan Hunter-Reay (Hylton Motorsports/Medlock Ames Winery/Autobytel/U.S. Print Swift 014.a), the duo became the first American drivers to set on the front row of an CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race since Case Montgomery and Buddy Rice completed the feat in 2000.
"I love this place," said DSTP's Joey Hand. "That session went well for us. We've had a great car all weekend, be we hadn't had a chance to show it. The crew kept plucking away and standing behind me every session even though we were down on the charts. We finally got the one flyer we had been missing out on all weekend and it was just what we needed. The traffic has been my biggest problem, but I finally got a clear opening and was able to lay down a good time. Long Beach is where I started last year, and was a good start to the season. Tomorrow is going to be a great race."
"It's great to start on the front row at such a historic race and especially since it's my first race here," said Hunter-Reay. "My car is good, we might change a few things tonight but we are in good shape for tomorrow for sure. I struggled with traffic throughout the session. I was finally putting together the dream lap on the final lap. There were two corners to go and there was a waving yellow flag. Just two laps to go and I would have had my dream lap."
Hand's time of 1:18.290 seconds (90.494 mph) barely missed the track record of 1:18.168 seconds (90.636 mph) set by David Rutledge last year. Hunter-Reay's time of 1:18.439 seconds (90.463 mph) was third quickest overall, but will start on the front row in tomorrow morning's 32-lap race via his qualifying win on Friday. Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing Swift 014.a) was second fastest overall with a time of 1:18.317 seconds (90.463 mph), but will be relegated to the second row due to Hunter-Reay's taking the other front row spot.
"The team gave me a really fast car, but traffic was a problem during qualifying, said Vancouver's Michael Valiante. "Getting a clear lap was really difficult, but it's good to have such a big Atlantic field at this race, and the fact that there are eleven drivers within one second is an indicator of how competitive it's going to be. This is one of my favorite tracks and I have more experience on street circuits than anything else, so starting third shouldn't really be a problem and I think we'll be going for the win."
Dorricott Racing filled out the next three spots in the field with current points leader, Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a), leading the way. Fogarty's time of 1:18.518 seconds (90.232 mph) led the trio and placed him starting fourth in tomorrow's race. Alex Gurney (Dorricott Racing/Behr Castrol Swift 014.a) and Mexico's Luis Diaz (Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014.a) rounded out the top six.
"Again, traffic was a huge issue," said California's Fogarty. "We needed a clear lap but I didn't find one until about seven minutes left to go. I was trying to space myself as was everybody else in the top-10. The slow cars were just going for it. There are a lot of different agendas going on out there and they seldom seem to line up as far as track position goes. We needed to run a couple of more clear laps then we likely would have dropped our time to where it should be. I guess starting fourth on this circuit for my first time in an Atlantic car isn't horrible."
The session was slowed for two minutes when Nicolas Rondet (Condor Motorsports/Barber Dodge Career Enhancement Award Swift 008.a) stalled on course. The remaining 28 minutes were run under green flag conditions.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship teams get back to business tomorrow morning for their 15-minute warm-up session at 8:15 a.m. PST followed by Round 2 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at 10:00 a.m. PST. The race will be carried on Speed Channel on same day delay at 11:30 p.m. PST.