Lynx Racing adds third driver

LYNX RACING DIVES DEEPER IN THE TALENT POOL SEARS POINTS, CALIF. (Jan. 2, 1997) - - Needing a pair of fast, young drivers for the 1997 KOOL/ Toyota Atlantic Championship, Lynx Racing dove deep into the talent pool and came up with not two but...


SEARS POINTS, CALIF. (Jan. 2, 1997) - - Needing a pair of fast, young drivers for the 1997 KOOL/ Toyota Atlantic Championship, Lynx Racing dove deep into the talent pool and came up with not two but three: the widely-experienced Memo Gidley to step into the shoes of PPG Cup-bound 1996 Atlantic champion Patrick Carpentier; karting/FF2000 standout Alex Barron for a 1-2 punch; and Bondurant Driving School instructor Buddy Rice for a newly-created Lynx Racing junior team, competing in the 1997 USAC FF2000 series. "All I ever wanted was to be a professional racing driver, and Ive been lucky to find so many people willing to help me get there," says Rice. "My father has always been my biggest supporter, but my ambitions have outgrown his ability to pay for them, so Im grateful to Lynx Racing for giving me the chance to climb the next step of the ladder. After watching what Patrick Carpentier did with the team in 1996, and how he got signed with Bettenhausen, Im feeling really good about my chances to move up to the PPG Cup or IRL. Thats a couple of years away, obviously, but I feel like Im on the fast track with the right team." Rice, 20, born and raced in Phoenix, Arizona, will drive the #19 Lynx Racing Van Diemen RF-97 fielded by DSTP Racing, the FF2000 "training team" that helped hone the skills of Gidley in 1994 and Barron in 1996 ... and is connected to Lynx Racing through the shared efforts and expertise of team manager and driving coach Steve Cameron and engineer Jim Griffith. "We only had two Atlantic seats available, but Buddy kind of snuck up on us with his personality and potential," says Lynx Racing team co-owner Peggy Haas. "Wed been talking about, sometime in the future, starting a Lynx team in FF2000, but Buddys performance during our testing of driver candidates convinced us that it would be in his best interests, and ours, to bring him into the fold immediately and make the plan a reality for 1997." Rice is currently an instructor at the Firebird Raceway-based Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving where he started as a fleet tech in 1994, and competes in the SCCAs Southern Pacific Region. The strength and breadth of his driving skills were confirmed beyond any question when, in his first-ever drive in a Shelby Pro car belonging to a fellow FF2000 competitor, he won from the pole in the now-defunct series season finale in Las Vegas last September. "Buddy impressed us with both his accomplishments and his upbeat personality before he ever turned a wheel in the Atlantic car," says Cameron. "He worked as a mechanic at a racing school, just like Patrick did, so he knows the hardware, which is a critical building block if you plan a professional career in motorsports. Buddy needs a year of FF2000 to bring his car setup and technical feedback skills up to the Atlantic level, but even with limited open wheel experience he was so fast that we knew in a year or two he was going to be winning races, either for us or another team, so we did the smart thing and signed him up." Like so many future champions, Rice started racing in karts at age 11 and won various state and regional championships in the Enduro, Gearbox and Sprint classes. It was while racing karts that Rice became friends with a fellow competitor, Baseball Hall of Famer and Milwaukee Brewers coach Robin Yount, who helped sponsor his first foray into the FF2000 pro series, where, in his first race, he qualified second and finished eighth in a field of 55 cars. Rices 1996 open-wheel season included both SCCA Formula Ford and USAC FF2000 events, where he compiled a combined record of three poles and five wins. Rices 1997 season in FF2000, which begins at the IRL race at Walt Disney World on January 24, will continue to be supported by Yount along with a consortium of people and companies who share a belief in his talent, including; Lynx Racing, DSTP Motorsports, Van Diemen Racing Cars, Ivey Racing Engines, Motorsports Spares, Red Line Oil, Whitebird Racing, Shoei Helmets, Arnette Sunglasses, Lodi Door, Wholesale Lithographers and IWR Truck Services. "Buddy reminds me a lot of Patrick with his easy laughter and low-key self-confidence," says Lynx Racing co-owner Jackie Doty. "And the fact that he has so many people working together to help him achieve his goal not only says a lot about the kind of person he is, but also bodes well for his future in the sport when those kind of relationships can help you make that big jump from a talented student to a practicing professional. We feel that we have three winners in Memo, Alex and Buddy, and everybody on the team is chomping at the bit to go racing." The 12-race 1997 FF2000 schedule, with eight events televised on ESPN II and four on SpeedVision, will allow Rice to display his skills before a diverse range of major motorsports teams, including IRL, PPG Cup, Trans-Am and NASCAR Craftsman Trucks. The season opens with the Indy 200 IRL race at Walt Disney World on January 24, and goes from there to the Cash & Carry Grand Prix for Trans Am cars in St. Petersburg, Florida on February 23. Next comes the Phoenix oval at the Phoenix 200 IRL race on March 23, followed by a double weekend with races on both April 19 and 20 at the Trans-Am Desert Star Classic on the Phoenix road course. A race is scheduled for May 18, possibly in conjunction with the Trans-Am race in Savannah, Georgia, with the new oval in Colorado next up at the IRLs Pikes Peak 200 on June 29. The FF2000 series runs on the CART PPG Cup Miller 200 weekend at Mid-Ohio on August 9, followed by a pair of two-race weekends starting with the Parts America 150 for NASCAR Craftsman Trucks on August 23-24 and the series finale at the Las Vegas IRL race on October 11.

Contact: Peter W. Frey (818) 909-0989 - phone 909-0922 - fax

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron , Buddy Rice , Steve Cameron