Mid-Ohio: DSTP Motorsports preview

Although Joey Hand had his second best finish of the season last week at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres, his chances at the 2003 Championship are all but over heading into this weekends race at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The ...

Although Joey Hand had his second best finish of the season last week at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres, his chances at the 2003 Championship are all but over heading into this weekends race at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The fourth place showing vaulted Hand to sixth in the Championship and with the season heading into the final third of the schedule, Hand will attempt to climb up as high in the standings as possible.

If Hand can repeat the way he capped off the 2001 season, it is possible for the 24-year old driver from Concord Township, Ohio, to climb into the top three as he did two years ago. Hand finished off 2001 with wins in Houston and Vancouver along with a runner-up showing in the season finale at Laguna Seca. The strong stretch run earned Hand the 2001 Rookie of the Year award along with a third place overall showing the Championship.

Hand's quest will start this weekend at the legendary Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will make its first visit to the track in central Ohio since 1999. With the DSTP headquarters located in near-by Chesterland, Ohio, Hand hopes to get the final part of the season off to a good start in front of home state fans.

"We are pretty much looking forward to the final part of the season because we don't have anything to lose at this point," said Hand. "We had a decent run at Trois-Rivieres where the car came to life during the race so we are pretty happy about that. I think we might have figured something out there. Like pretty much everybody, it will be my first time racing in Mid-Ohio in an Atlantic car although I have raced there once in another series. I'm just hoping we find the setup early so we don't struggle this weekend. We have not really had that good of a year so we are looking at finishing strong and going for wins at all cost."

Hand enters the Mid-Ohio event with 68 Championship points and trails fifth place, Aaron Justus, by a total of only 15 points. Although not mathematically eliminated from the Championship title, Hand trails the points leader, A.J. Allmendinger, by 80 points with four races remaining.

Speed Channel will carry the Round 9 race from Mid-Ohio same day delay at 12:30 p.m. EST. For those that miss the early Sunday afternoon broadcast, Speed Channel will re-air the race the following day at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Following this week's race at Mid-Ohio, DSTP Motorsports will get a much needed weekend off before heading to another back to back set of races in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Denver, Colorado. The series will conclude its 2003 season in late September with their first visit to the streets of Miami, Florida.

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.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jerry Nadeau , Memo Gidley , Joey Hand , Alex Barron , A.J. Allmendinger , Buddy Rice , Aaron Justus , Sam Hornis