Lynx Nazareth preview

Conventional wisdom, among those who live by the blade, is that to get the sharpest edge on a knife, you hone in an oval motion. That's exactly what Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge will be doing next weekend at the Nazareth ...

Conventional wisdom, among those who live by the blade, is that to get the sharpest edge on a knife, you hone in an oval motion.

That's exactly what Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge will be doing next weekend at the Nazareth Speedway - sharpening his skills by trying to complete a hat trick of victories on his way up to the CART Fed Ex series.

In his 13-race career with Lynx (12 races in 2000, one so far this year), he has won on a road course (from the pole at Montreal last year) and on a street circuit (from the pole at Long Beach on April 7). His best finish - so far -- on an oval was a second at Gateway in 1999, and that same year he qualified third and finished fourth (due to an overheating engine) at Nazareth.

His quest for victory on this unique and challenging 1.0-mile tri-oval is made all the more feasible by the fact that Lynx has won four of the last five Toyota Atlantic races held at the track (1995 through 1998 - another team won in 1999 and there was no Atlantic race at Nazareth in 2000).

"Nazareth is a fast and tricky track that separates the men from the boys," says Rutledge, 21, a Vancouver native who drives the aqua-colored #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a. "It's an oval with elevation changes and turns reminiscent of a road course, so it's a challenge to get the car set up properly. But when you do, and when you get a long enough run between yellow flags to get a rhythm going, it's a blast to drive. And when you win a race there, it's an accomplishment that will make the right people sit up and take notice."

The weekend's activities will commence with an all-Atlantic test day on Thursday, May 3 which will see the cars on track for several hours in the morning and afternoon. Final qualifying, in single-car format, takes place 11:30 am to 12:30 pm Saturday, May 5. The 65-lap Atlantic race will take the green flag at 10:15 am Sunday, May 6.

The race will be broadcast in the U.S. on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 13th at 10:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time). In Canada, the race will be shown on CTV. In the Pacific zone, it will air at 8:30 pm, Monday, May 14. In the East, West and Ontario, it will air at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, May 15.

Rutledge's Atlantic teammate, Michael Valiante, is competing in only six events this season, and will not be at Nazareth. His next event will be the Molson Indy Toronto on July 15. He will also compete in the Grand Prix Air Canada (June 9), Grand Prix du Trois Rivieres (August 5), Molson Indy Vancouver (September 2) and Honda Grand Prix of Monterey (October 13).

2001 marks the 11th anniversary of Lynx Racing, one of the most unique organizations in auto racing today. Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx is both a championship-winning racing team and a uniquely successful driver development program that focuses on a driver's mental, psychological and spiritual growth in addition to their on-track skills.

The Lynx mission is to seek out young drivers with the desire and potential to become champions at the highest levels of the sport and provide them with the funding, equipment and training to take the last step toward realizing that potential, a process the team calls 'Destiny by Design.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , Michael Valiante , David Rutledge