Michael David Montreal Preview

MICHAEL TODD DAVID AND PDR/WATER JOE RACING TEAM REGROUP FOR ATLANTIC'S ROAD RACING SCHEDULE AND MONTREAL CORONA, Calif. (June 3, 1998) - After a series of tough breaks on the ovals at Gateway and ...


CORONA, Calif. (June 3, 1998) - After a series of tough breaks on the ovals at Gateway and Milwaukee, the PDR/Water Joe Racing team and driver Michael Todd David are looking forward to this season's first bonafide road course race when round five of the 13-race KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship unfolds at Montreal and the Grand Prix Player's du Canada, Saturday, June 6.

The Montreal race marks the 17th overall and 10th consecutive appearance of the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship in Montreal. North America's richest and longest running open-wheel development series takes the green flag at 2:30 p.m. (ET) for a 27-lap/74.169-mile (119.337-km) sprint around the 2.747-mile/4.419-km Ile Notre-Dame Gilles Villeneuve road circuit, setting the stage for the Formula One Grand Prix Player's du Canada the following afternoon. David's string of three consecutive top-10 finishes in Atlantic competition ended at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis in round three when Derek Hill forced contact with the Water Joe Racing Ralt RT-41 during a race restart that pushed it into the outside wall. Both drivers were uninjured but the incident prematurely ended David's day. Milwaukee provided more challenges for David and his team after he suffered extensive damage from a crash during a pre-event open test session.

"I was heading into turn three when Cam Binder spun right in front of me" David explained. "At 130 m.p.h. there's not much you can do when a guy loses it right in front of you. I tried to avoid hitting him by moving to the outside. That's when I found the marbles and hit the wall."

The team worked throughout the night piecing the car back together.

"We worked until after 3:00 a.m. getting everything ready for the morning practice," said crew chief Scott Gelvin. "The left side of the car was essentially trashed. Besides major body damage, all elements of the left side suspension systems were a mess. The exhaust system was crushed flat against the head. We had to repair or replace damaged engine and transmission support members that had been broken or bent. We had to remove the engine to replace parts and weld on a new engine brace. The rear transmission cover was torn off and the transmission had significant damage. The crash even ripped out the studs on the transmission." "Some teams would have just packed up and moved on after an incident like that," Michael Todd David added. "Our sponsor is based in Chicago and brought quite a few guests up to the track. We also had someone flying in from Germany for this race. Not having the Water Joe car on the grid would have been a big disappointment to everyone on the campaign. We got help from a lot of competitors including Binder Racing when it came to getting the spare parts we needed. We were real fortunate to have a car for Saturday's race"

A combination of bad weather and track closure Friday afternoon due to Christian Fittipaldi crashing during the CART FedEx Championship Series practice limited track time for all competitors. Teams campaigning Ralts such as PDR/Water Joe Racing were at a particular disadvantage because they had very little time to familiarize themselves with the series instituted restrictions levied on their cars just a few weeks ago.

"The restrictions put on our Ralt pretty much negated what was learned during our entire off-season test program," team manager Mike David added. "To force the Ralt's into unknown aerodynamic territory, especially this late in the game borders on ridiculous. What little track time Michael had was spent experimenting and evaluating the handling and performance characteristics of the car with the five eighths plank and wing adjustment. It was fairly obvious by our finish that we are still struggling with the new rules."

ESPN2 will telecast the Milwaukee Atlantic race on Saturday, June 6, from 4:30 p.m. to 5: 30 p.m. ET (1:30-2:30 p.m. PT).

The Montreal Atlantic event will be shown on ESPN2 Saturday, June 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 6: 30 p.m. ET (2:30-3:30 p.m. PT).

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Derek Hill , Christian Fittipaldi , Gilles Villeneuve