Lynx Racing driver Buddy Rice, his natural exuberance behind the wheel of a race car constrained by a badly blistered right rear tire, tip-toed his way to a 5th-place finish in the inaugural 60-lap KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race at the Target...
Lynx Racing driver Buddy Rice, his natural exuberance behind the wheel of a race car constrained by a badly blistered right rear tire, tip-toed his way to a 5th-place finish in the inaugural 60-lap KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race at the Target Grand Prix this past weekend. "All weekend was a balancing act between speed and saving your tires," said Rice. "We had a great setup for the race, but it took longer to get the tires heated up, so with two timed laps in single-car qualifying the car was sliding around and we took seventh. In the race, we were moving up when the guy I was passing moved down on me and I had to pinch the car down to keep from hitting him. That started a heat spike in the tire that caused it to start blistering and I had to just cruise around for the last ten laps to keep it from disintegrating. It's not the result we worked toward, but we've been competitive at every race since the early part of the season, and now we just need a little bit of daylight. Vancouver is next on the schedule, and we'll be back to running at the front there." Rice is still fourth in the championship points battle, with three races remaining on the schedule. The race was run in 32 minutes and 37.9 seconds at an average speed of 113.518 mph. Pole-sitter Andrew Bordin led the first 46 laps - until his tires blistered - when the lead was taken over by eventual winner Sam Hornish Jr. for his first-ever Atlantic victory. Rice's Lynx Racing teammate, Mike Conte, worked his way up from the back of the field to 10th-place, then was the victim of a call from series officials for an infraction that they usually ignore - putting your left wheels below the white line at the bottom of the track. He finished 10th, was assessed a 20-second penalty and officially credited with 11th. "A track like this really tests your precision as a driver, along with your patience and aggression" said Conte. "Since the cars are all pretty much the same, the difference between the front of the field and the back is about a second, and that puts a premium on setup and placing your car exactly on the track to keep your speed up and conserve momentum through the turns. Of course, once the green flag drops all that goes out the window and you find yourself in the middle of a high-speed fistfight. But you can't let it make you mad or you'll wind up in the wall, so you have to pick the cars ahead of you off one at a time, which we were doing. We actually had a pretty good race, it was just 20 laps too short." The next event on the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic 12-race 1999 schedule is the Molson Indy Vancouver on Sunday, September 5. __________________________
KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Target Grand Prix Television Schedule (E.S.T.)
ESPN2 Sunday, August 29 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Tuesday, August 31 2:30 a.m. - 3:30 a.m. (repeat) ESPN2 Friday, Sept. 3 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (repeat) CTV (Canada) Tuesday, August 31 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. RDS (Canada) Sunday, Sept. 9 Check local listings ESPN Intl. Sunday, August 29 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
August 23, 1999