Joey Hand ...
Joey Hand #27 DSTP Motorsports Toyota Swift 014.a
After completing the Friday opening practice session in preparations for the Round 9 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Joey Hand had little to smile about after posting a seventh place time of 1:16.448 seconds (106.331 mph).
Although Hand failed to improve from seventh during the afternoon qualifying session, he could take solace that he did close down the time gap on eventual provisional pole winner, A.J. Allmendinger. After the first practice session, Hand was 1.110 seconds slower than Allmendinger, but was able to close the gap down to .725 seconds in the 30-minute qualifying session with a time of 1:16.393 seconds (106.408 mph).
Hand's task will be to continue to eat into that gap as the weekend progresses and hopefully put himself into position to compete for the win in Sunday morning's 30-lap race. Although the car is handling pretty good, the DSTP Motorsports team will likely pull a long night this evening searching for speed to help Hand compete for the pole tomorrow. After a bright and early practice session which begins at 8:15 a.m. EST, the run to unseat Allmendinger from the pole will get underway later on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Hand on Friday Qualifying:
"Well, just when we thought we had something, we found out we really didn't. I don't know. We really can't seem to pick up the pace and seem to be stuck in seventh all the time. No matter how hard I drive the car and what changes we throw at it, we still end up seventh. We're still searching for the big secret that gets us up into the top five at least and maybe we can race from there. The guys can't work any harder than what they already have. We'll just keep plugging away at it and hope we find the answers."
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.