Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver BC, today finished second in a thrilling CART Toyota Atlantic series battle that saw him snatch a podium finish from the jaws of defeat on the last lap of the 30-lap event. His Lynx...
Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver BC, today finished second in a thrilling CART Toyota Atlantic series battle that saw him snatch a podium finish from the jaws of defeat on the last lap of the 30-lap event. His Lynx Racing teammate, Mike Conte, 31, of Seattle, Washington, persevered with a car damaged in the opening laps to finish 8th, his 8th top-10 finish of the season. The race was won by pole-sitter Daniel Wheldon of Newport Beach, California, with Buddy Rice finishing third. Rutledge, who qualified third in his #17 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a, made a decisive move into second place on the opening lap, and held that spot throughout the race. In the closing laps of he event, he came under intense pressure from series points leader Rice (a Lynx Racing graduate now driving for DSTP Motorsports). On the final lap, as the two cars entered the famed 'corkscrew' turn at the top of the hilly Laguna Seca track, Rice made an unsuccessful move to pass Rutledge. The two cars collided and both went sideways. Rutledge was able to recover and, despite losing air at a rapid rate from a rear tire that was punctured in the action, held on to finish second. Rutledge won from the pole at Montreal with a dramatic last-lap pass, and earlier in the season finished second at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, also with a last-lap pass. "I don't know how thrilled I am about this last-lap business, but I'm glad to have such a good result for the Lynx team at their home race on their tenth anniversary," said Rutledge. "There are seven former and current Lynx drivers competing in various races this weekend (three in CART, three in Atlantic and one in Barber Dodge Pro Series), and I wanted to be able to hold my own in such good company. This result today is important in many ways, not for the championship which we are mathematically unable to win, but for the morale of the team and to build a strong foundation for the final two races of the season as well as looking forward to next season." Mike Conte had an equally thrilling race, starting from the 9th spot on the grid, before suffering contact with another car in the opening laps and having his front wing damaged as a result. "The car had a big push in the turns, but I adjusted the sway bars, and my driving style, and eventually figured out how to drive around the problem," says Conte. "Despite the difficulties, I had a pretty good race. I'm particularly happy to be able to post a good finish for my new sponsor, CHAMPS Karting, a new chain of indoor karting centers that just opened its first location in Seattle." Rice extends his lead in the championship points battle to 155, with Wheldon in second with 141. A victory in the Atlantic series is worth 20 points, and there are two races remaining in the season. Rutledge remains in sixth place with 76 points, and Conte is in 10th with 40 points. The 11th round of the 12-event CART Toyota Atlantic Season takes place next weekend on the oval track at Gateway, across the river from St. Louis. Rutledge had a particularly good race there last season, finishing second.
CART Toyota Atlantic Television Coverage (EDT) ESPN2 Sunday Sept. 24 10:00 am - 11:00 am Repeat Wed. Sept 27 5:00 am - 6:00 am ESNP Intl. Sunday Sept 24 10:00 am - 11:00 am RDS Saturday Sept. 23 8:30 am - 9:30 am CTV Monday Sept. 18 7:00 pm (Ontario, East, West & Pacific Regions)