MICHAEL TODD DAVID RETURNS TO THE FAST TRACK WITH SEVENTH PLACE AT MONTREAL CORONA, Calif. (June 11, 1998) - Michael Todd David and the PDR-Water Joe Racing team showed how a "never-say-die" attitude can...
MICHAEL TODD DAVID RETURNS TO THE FAST TRACK WITH SEVENTH PLACE AT MONTREAL
CORONA, Calif. (June 11, 1998) - Michael Todd David and the PDR-Water Joe Racing team showed how a "never-say-die" attitude can bring a wind to a sail as their seventh place finish in the Player's Challenge for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Player's Grand Prix du Canada on Saturday, June 6, was the jump start they had sought to reverse the misfortune of two previous outings.
Rounds three and four at St. Louis and Milwaukee, proved particularly unkind to the Water Joe team, making Montreal a pivotal first-half stop for David. A three-race string of top-10 finishes ended at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis when Derek Hill forced contact with the Water Joe Racing Ralt RT-41 during a race restart. Milwaukee provided additional challenges for David and his team after he suffered extensive crash damage during a pre-event open test session while avoiding contact with a spinning car. "Between Milwaukee and St. Louis we replaced all four corners of the car one and a half times" team manager Mike David commented "Ovals can be real hard on a car, team and driver, especially when you hit the wall, we're fortunate nobody got hurt in the two incidents."
The well-manicured 2.747-mile Ile Notre-Dame Gilles Villeneuve road circuit, was a welcome change albeit the first day of round five in the 13-race series was anything but encouraging. "We had a problem with the motor in qualifying," said driver Michael Todd David. "It was really down on power. The team gave me a great set-up. It felt like I had a sail above me down the straight-away but the power just wasn't there when I needed it for qualifying."
With a good set-up but soft motor David could only manage 18th fastest despite being very comfortable in a well prepared car.
"The recent rule changes limit the Ralt's optimum performance and make it essential to have a top-notch motor at every event," added David. "After qualifying, the crew replaced the motor and changed a few gears hoping the new motor would pull more power on the top end. That really made a difference at the start of the race because I was able to make up a few positions right-away. "
The opening lap was more of an obstacle course for David, who managed to avoid surrounding carnage and begin an impressive advance through the field to ninth position by the third lap.
"On the start, I pulled behind John Brooks (who started 16th) in the first corner looking to just make it safely through the corner," said David. "Heading into the hairpin, Brooks and Derek Hill became entangled. That allowed me to gain two more spots. The power the crew found for the motor allowed me to maintain quick times. I had broken into the top-10 fairly quickly and picked up more spots before the checkered flag. A lot of people drive over their heads at Montreal. I'm glad I was cautious for the first few laps until things settled before playing my way through the field." David earned nine championship points for his seventh place moving him to ninth in the Atlantic driver standings with 25 points.
The next stop for the PDR Enterprises/Water Joe Racing team in the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be round six at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, Saturday, July 11.
The Montreal Player's Challenge for the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be telecast on ESPN2 and ESPN International, Saturday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. PT).