Lynx - Homestead Qualifying; rockets in the sun

Two of Lynx Racing's 'Rockets in the Sun,' drivers Mike Conte and David Rutledge, had a tough day on the launch pad, qualifying 15th and 17th, respectively, for the first of two CART Toyota Atlantic Support races at the Marlboro Grand...

Two of Lynx Racing's 'Rockets in the Sun,' drivers Mike Conte and David Rutledge, had a tough day on the launch pad, qualifying 15th and 17th, respectively, for the first of two CART Toyota Atlantic Support races at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. Qualifying for the second race takes place at 12:15 pm Saturday. "We're not sure why, but the car just isn't very quick at top speed, and since most of this track is run at top speed, that's hurting us. That and I was overdriving it trying to compensate, which in these cars only makes you go slower," said Conte. "We've got a lot of data to work with, and the engineers have some things they'll be working on overnight. There's a 40-minute practice session early Saturday morning that we'll use to get things sorted out. The first race of the season is usually kind of wild, so doing well will be a balancing act between moving up through the field as aggressively as possible and staying out of trouble." Added Rutledge, "We did a mock qualifying run in morning practice, making as fast a lap as possible without drafting since qualifying is single-car. We did a time that would have put us about fourth or fifth on the grid for qualifying, but we were still suffering from understeer and made three changes to cure it. "The cumulative effect of those changes was a bit too much, and actually produced oversteer in qualifying. And we're still a bit down on straight-line speed. Obviously we're not satisfied with our grid position for the first race, but we know where the problem is, and fixing it is a fairly simple matter. Starting 17th, the first few seconds after the green flag drops will be critical. I'll need to move up quickly to stay in drafting range of the lead group, and if I can do that, we should be fine for the race. And we'll use the data from Saturday morning's practice to refine our setup for the first race and qualifying for the second one. The entire team is very energized and focused on doing well this weekend, and I'm going to get every hundredth of a second out of that car." Lynx Racing's third rocket, Barber Dodge Pro Series rookie Sara Senske, qualified 19th in a carnage-filled session that prevented her from ever getting a clear lap. "It was a mess out there with yellow flags, black flags cars flying everywhere, cars on top of each other, it was a mess and I feel fortunate to have survived, much less worrying about my qualifying position," says Senske. "We ran 17th in preliminary qualifying early this afternoon, but we made some changes to the car and it picked up a push in final qualifying this evening. We tried some things to fix it, but they just didn't work quite the way we thought, which really points out that its going to take a couple of races before I know this car well enough to tune it properly. My plan for tomorrow is to stay out of trouble, be aggressive where I think I can do it safely, and let the race come to me." Senske's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race takes the green flag at 3:45 pm Saturday afternoon, followed by the first of the two CART Toyota Atlantic races this weekend at 4:45 pm. The second Atlantic race is at 11:00 am on Sunday. The CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series support races at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami on March 25 - 26 are the training ground for auto racing's heroes of tomorrow. And the most unique organization participating in both events is Lynx Racing, now in its 10th year as the only championship-winning racing team/driver development program owned by women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. What makes the Lynx program so unique is that drivers are chosen specifically for a combination of championship potential and lack of money or family connections. They are awarded a multi-year 'Road Scholarship' that includes funding, the best equipment and training that includes all phases of racecraft, as well as meditation and visualization techniques. The success of the Lynx program speaks for itself with two championships in the last four years and three drivers -- Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley -- graduating to the ranks of CART. Both the CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series are 'development' series where drivers hone their skills before moving up to Champ Cars. Barber Dodge is like college baseball, with drivers moving up to Atlantic. Atlantic is like triple-A baseball where drivers move directly up to 'the majors' -- the CART FedEx series.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , David Rutledge