Lynx Gateway Race Report

Lynx Racing drivers Buddy Rice and Mike Conte finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship support race during the Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway on Satuday. This marks Rice's ...

Lynx Racing drivers Buddy Rice and Mike Conte finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship support race during the Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway on Satuday. This marks Rice's third consecutive top-10 finish in the first three races of the 1999 season, and leaves him tied for third place in the championship battle with nine races remaining. The race was won by Anthony Lazzaro, his second-straight oval-track victory, including the previous event at Nazareth. After running with a lead pack of three cars that was pulling away from the rest of the field in the early stages of the race, Rice slipped back from his fifth-place qualifying position due to deteriorating handling on his #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a. "I was in the hunt to win the race won until the long yellow flag early in the race allowed my tires to cool off," said Rice. "Once we came back up to racing speed, the handling was just that little bit off and I slipped back out of the lead pack draft and once that happens it's basically over. But it was overall a positive result because my speed in the early part of the race showed that we've now got the car setup fairly well figured out, and we just need to do a little more work with our tires. We've got a two day test session scheduled between Gateway and the next race at Milwaukee, and that's going to be at the top of the list." Rice's Lynx Racing teammate, Mike Conte, had a very much up and down weekend, and, like Rice's, it ended on a much more positive note than the numbers would seem to indicate. Conte had just set the second fastest-lap of the Friday morning practice session when he slid into the turn two wall and virtually destroyed his #17 Lynx Racing/White-Black Design Swift 008.a. A heroic effort by the Lynx team resulted in a virtually new car created overnight out of spare parts. He was able to drive a few laps in the pre-race warm-up session and reported that the car felt good, but since he was not able to qualify, he was forced to start the race from the back of the field. "I felt that, under the circumstances, I had a really good race," said Conte. "The crew performed a miracle getting the car back together, and we used a lot of new body parts that are of a different aerodynamic configuration that the old ones, so we had to make some educated guesses at the setup. In the race, the engine was running fine when it suddenly began misfiring for about three-quarters of a lap, and then went back to running smoothly. But it just didn't have quite the power it did before, and so I was able to maintain my position, but not move up any farther than eighth - which, if you consider how many good drivers there are in this series, isn't bad. We keep getting better every race, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season." Lynx Racing, owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty and now entering its ninth year of operation, is both a championship-winning racing team and a unique driver development program. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.' In addition to Buddy Rice and Mike Conte in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series, Lynx also sponsors a car for the team's first female driver, Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington. Senske competes in the Star Mazda Championship, driving a car fielded by Kent Stacy's S3 Racing and in 1998, her rookie year, finished eighth in the series championship battle. In the first race of 1999, as a support event for the Superflow 12 Hours of Sebring, Senske finished sixth. Senske is also racing on Memorial Day weekend, on the oval at Phoenix International Raceway, where she has qualified on the front row for the 50-lap race to be run on Monday morning.

Round 4 of the 12-race 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is set for Saturday, June 5, at the Milwaukee Mile, part of the Miller Lite 225 weekend.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Anthony Lazzaro , Buddy Rice