DAY OF LIGHT AND SHADOW "If my boat sinks, 'tis to another sea" -- William Ellery Channing / A Poet's Hope / 1840 Lynx Racing wishes to express its sorrow and support to the family and friends of our brother in speed, Gonzalo Rodriguez. And...
DAY OF LIGHT AND SHADOW
"If my boat sinks, 'tis to another sea" -- William Ellery Channing / A Poet's Hope / 1840
Lynx Racing wishes to express its sorrow and support to the family and friends of our brother in speed, Gonzalo Rodriguez. And to the members of the Marlboro Penske team who helped him achieve the goal toward which he worked all his life. He died as he lived, doing what he loved. ________________________ Hours after an accident involving promising young driver Gonzalo Rodriguez, the motor racing community gathered at the Laguna Seca Raceway for the Grand Prix of Monterey did the only thing they could do to honor his memory in a way in which he would doubtless have approved -- they held a race. The cars and drivers that took to the track amid the silence of that solemn afternoon for the 11th round of the KOOL/Toyota series were perhaps the perfect tribute -- the brightest young lights of racing, using their skill, courage and determination to drive away the shadows. Due to the crash, the final qualifying for both the CART FedEx and Atlantic cars was canceled. Drivers were gridded in the order of the final session on Friday afternoon, which put Lynx drivers Buddy Rice in 5th place on the grid and Mike Conte in 14th. Anthony Lazarro, the series points leader, was on the pole, Alexandre Tagliani on the front row in second, followed by Andrew Bordin and William Langhorne, who won in the rain last weekend at Vancouver. When the green flag dropped, action was fast and furious in the early stages. Rice took third place away from Bordin on the first lap, and then there was a full-course caution caused by a collision between Nicholas Rondet and Peter MacLeod. Back to racing on lap five, and on lap six, Rice passes Tagliani and takes over second. From that point on, Rice hounded the leader, eventually finishing just .682 seconds behind Lazarro who, with this victory, clinched the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series championship. He has already been signed to drive the Cal Wells/McDonald's entry in the NASCAR Busch series next year. Kenny Wilden, who finished fourth in the race, clinched the second spot in the championship. "I had a good car and a great race this weekend," said Rice. "The qualifying situation put me back in the pack and it took a while to get up to where I could challenge Anthony and try and pressure him into a mistake. But he's a really good, experienced driver and he never gave me an opening. Now there's only Houston left to try and put a win on the board for Lynx this season, and since there's nothing left to win only some things left to prove, it should be interesting." While all this was going on up front, Mike Conte was dissecting the mid-pack group, picking off the cars ahead of him one at a time until, when the checkered fell, he was in 8th. "It was kind of a lonely race, with big gaps between cars, which made for a long time between passing opportunities," said Conte. "Still, I had a very good car, probably a top-5 car if we'd had the opportunity to qualify better. The team has given me increasingly better cars as the season progressed, which was to be expected as we got to know each other, and I'm going to Houston with high expectations." The race lasted 43 minutes, 34.707 seconds, and was run at an average speed of 92.440 mph, with just one full-course caution period lasting three laps. The fastest lap of the race was set by Andrew Bordin at 1:20.552, which earned him the "MCI WorldCom Fast Pace" award. Lazarro's championship-winning drive was also rewarded with the "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. ESPN2 will televise Saturday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Laguna Seca on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 4:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 4 a.m., and on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 4 a.m. The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race on Sunday, Sept. 26. Check local listings for the RDS time. ESPN International will televise the Vancouver race on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 4:30 p.m. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV SportsNet is airing the race on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. in all local markets. The 26th season of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship concludes Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston.