LYNX DRIVERS RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS Current and former members of Lynx Racing returned to their roots this past weekend by competing in what was billed as "...the biggest shifter kart event of the decade"... the Superkarts! USA ...
LYNX DRIVERS RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS
Current and former members of Lynx Racing returned to their roots this past weekend by competing in what was billed as "...the biggest shifter kart event of the decade"... the Superkarts! USA Gearbox Supernationals at the Las Vegas Karting Center.
Lynx alumnus and current CART driver Alex Barron participated in the November 13-15 event, as did current Lynx drivers Memo Gidley and Buddy Rice, along with Lynx team manager Steve Cameron.
Bobby Oergel, who drives for the Lynx-affiliated DSTP Motorsports in the U.S. F2000 series also drove, as did Jason LaPointe, who shares factory test-driver duties at Trackmagic Karts with Memo Gidley.
All the drivers competed in the 125cc shifter class, with the exception of Cameron who drove in the 80cc shifter class. Shifter karts of both displacements are a favorite among drivers in both Atlantic and CART who use them to keep their driving skills and reflexes sharp in between races and during the off-season.
Gidley, who won three KOOL/Toyota Atlantic races with Lynx this year and finished third in the championship, is still a factory test driver for Trackmagic and was competing under their banner in the Las Vegas event.
No longer a full-time kart racer, he stunned the competition by winning three heats on his way to starting on the pole for the main event on Sunday, in which he finished fourth. His Trackmagic teammate, Jason LaPointe, finished 5th in the main event.
Gidley's Lynx Racing teammate, Buddy Rice, drove a CRG kart in the event, starting 16th before dropping out with motor problems. In the 1998 Toyota Atlantic series, Rice started on the pole in his first race, in the rain at Long Beach, and won from the pole in his second race, on the high-speed 1.0-mile oval at Nazareth. He finished 7th overall in the championship, and will return with Lynx Racing in 1999.
Alex Barron, who drove for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers in 1998 and has been re-signed for 1999, won the Atlantic championship with Lynx in 1997, his rookie year. Long associated with Tony Kart, Barron finished second in the Sunday feature and turned the fastest lap of the race.
Steve Cameron, manager of both the Lynx Racing Atlantic and the DSTP F2000 teams, competed in a Trackmagic kart in the 80cc shifter class and started his race 11th out of 50 qualifiers. He was punted off-course, re-joined in last place and battled his way back up to finish 14th.
Bobby Oergel, who drove for DSTP Motorsports in the U.S. F2000 series this past season and will return for 1999, partnered with graduating Formula Mazda star Ian Lacy, also made a stirring come-from-behind charge. After suffering an engine failure in a qualifying heat, Oergel started 26th in the main event and charged through the field to finish 8th.
"I think these results are excellent considering that none of these guys is a full-time kart racer anymore and yet they were running up front with the factory drivers and teams all through the heat races and main event," says Cameron. "A strong karting background is something we look for in a Lynx driver, and we encourage them to stay involved with the sport because it's the best and most cost-effective way to maintain your skills at a very high level. And having our drivers participate in events like this serves two very useful purposes. Not only is it a great way for us to scout hot young talent for the future, but it also shows these young drivers who are racing karts today with the dream of racing in CART someday that theyre on the right track."