NOTE: PODIUM PHOTO ATTACHED Fast Facts Lynx Racing's David Rutledge finishes third in the CART Toyota Atlantic Support Race at the Miller Lite 225 at the Milwaukee Mile, June 3. Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver B.C. moved up...
NOTE: PODIUM PHOTO ATTACHED
Fast Facts Lynx Racing's David Rutledge finishes third in the CART Toyota Atlantic Support Race at the Miller Lite 225 at the Milwaukee Mile, June 3.
Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver B.C. moved up through the field from his 5th-place qualifying spot to finish third in the 65-lap CART Toyota Atlantic support race at the Miller Lite 225 at the 1.0-mile Milwaukee Oval.
Run under gray skies with the temperature hovering in the mig-50s, the race was won by Hoover Orsi - his first Atlantic victory -- with pole-sitter Grant Riley finishing second. The margin between first and third was less than one second. With the Atlantic series headed for the Air Canada Grand Prix in Montreal next weekend - a race Rutledge won from the pole in 2000 -- Orsi leads the championship points battle with 53; Nazareth winner Tony Ave is second with 43 and Long Beach winner Rutledge is in third with 42. The Atlantic series awards 20 points for a victory, and there are nine races left on the 2001 schedule. "It was a very hard-fought and exciting race, and I'm very happy to have produced a podium finish for the Lynx team," said Rutledge. "We struggled during the weekend to find the right setup, and the car was fast but had just a bit too much understeer to let me challenge for the lead. Gerald Tyler, who helped develop Anthony Lazarro's championship-winning Atlantic car and now engineers for the championship-winning Dorricott team in Indy Lights came in and worked with us during the test day on Thursday, and was a huge help. The direction he gave us, along with the work done by my engineer Rick Cameron and the Lynx engineering department, combined to produce a really good car. Gerald also helped us develop the road course setup we used to win Montreal last season, and with talent like this behind me, I'm confident that we'll be contenders at every race and in the hunt for the championship."
The lead-up to Rutledge's weekend showed promise with his victory in a WKF Gold Cup 125cc shifter kart race at Portland last weekend and a win in the March of Dimes kart race on Thursday evening at the Milwaukee fairgrounds. The race itself had no small amount of drama with multiple crashes, but no injuries, and a final eight-lap sprint at the end that had the top three cars running nose to tail. "It's always good to head into a race weekend with a win under your belt, particularly if it's something as hard to win as a shifter kart race," said Rutledge. "It's a psychological boost for the team and I, and I'm at the point in my career where I'm just about ready to make the jump to CART, and every victory is a step in the right direction. I'm looking forward to Montreal because it's the first Canadian race of the season, because I love the track and because I think we have the car and the team to repeat last year's victory." Rutledge will be joined at Montreal by teammate Michael Valiante, who will run all four Canadian Atlantic races, as well as the season finale at Laguna Seca. Valiante finished fourth in the Atlantic season-opener at Long Beach, his first-ever Atlantic race. The duo will test with the Lynx team at Blackhawk Farms on Monday, and arrive in Montreal on Tuesday. Both will participate in the Crescent Street autograph session on Thursday.