FACT SHEET -- THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP Round 8, Miller Lite 200 Weekend, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug. 13-15, 1999, Lexington, Ohio EVENT: Round 8 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 15-turn,...
FACT SHEET -- THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 8, Miller Lite 200 Weekend, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug. 13-15, 1999, Lexington, Ohio
EVENT: Round 8 of the 12-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 15-turn, 2.4-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as the preliminary race to the Miller Lite 200 on Sunday.
RACE SERIES: The CART-sanctioned KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship is a key rung on CART's "Ladder System" and is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron, and Memo Gidley, former Champ Car stars Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
ATLANTIC SCHEDULE AT MID-OHIO: Friday, Aug. 13: Practice 9:30 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Qualifying 1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14: Practice 11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Qualifying 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15: Warm-up 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. RACE 11:50 a.m. 30 laps
LAZZARO TAKING CONTROL: Anthony Lazzaro (PPI-MCI WorldCom) continues to lead the championship with 119 points, following his third victory of the season at Trois-Rivieres, Que. (Aug. 1, round 7). Lazzaro's come-from-behind victory helped build his lead on Alex Tagliani (Player's-Forsythe), now with 84 points, Kenny Wilden (Shank Racing-Newcourt/Trizec-Hahn), with 75 and Buddy Rice (Lynx Racing) with 74. Tagliani, Wilden and Rice all had strong shots at winning at Trois-Rivieres, but Lazzaro was not to be denied. Wilden finished second (his third runner-up position this year), Tagliani finished fourth (after leading), and Rice was running second (after leading) before a mechanical failure threw him off course, ending his pursuit.
Lazzaro is on top of his game, in all respects, winning three of the first seven races, leading the championship by 35 points, and last week, announcing his plans to join the PPI effort in the Busch Grand National series for the 2000 season.
Rookie Nicolas Rondet (World Speed Motorsports- Harmony Schools/Martini Sun-glasses) posted his first podium finish at Trois-Rivieres, passing Tagliani for third place late in the race. Rondet is leading the rookie standings with 42 points (eighth overall).
LOCAL DRIVER/TEAM: Sam Hornish, Jr., of Defiance, Ohio and the Columbus-based Michael Shank Racing team are the local entries at this weekend's event. Hornish, Jr., is in just his first year of Atlantic competition, but has been impressive at several venues, including the round 3 race at Gateway, where he ran as high as second for most of the race. The 19-year-old is currently third in the rookie standings with 27 championship points and has teamed with the Shank Racing squad for four top-10 finishes this year.
1999 ATLANTIC WINNERS: Rnd 1, Long Beach: Alex Tagliani Rnd 5, Montreal: Alex Tagliani Rnd 2, Nazareth: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 6, Road America: Andrew Bordin Rnd 3, Gateway: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 7, Trois-Rivieres: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 4, Milwaukee: Lee Bentham
1999 TOYOTA POLE AWARDS: Rnd 1, Long Beach: Kenny Wilden Rnd 5, Montreal: Alex Tagliani Rnd 2, Nazareth: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 6, Road America: Alex Tagliani Rnd 3, Gateway: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 7, Trois-Rivieres: Anthony Lazzaro Rnd 4, Milwaukee: Anthony Lazzaro
LAST YEAR AT MID-OHIO: Player's-Forsythe driver Lee Bentham cruised to his second straight victory, and the team's fourth victory in five races, to increase his lead in the championship after 9 of 13 rounds. Bentham was running second to teammate and polesitter Alex Tagliani after four laps but inherited the lead when Tagliani suffered mechanical problems, dropping Tagliani out of the race. Bentham went on to beat Lynx Racing's Buddy Rice, the runner-up, by over nine seconds. Matt Sielsky finished third. Bentham took a 22-point lead in the championship at that point, and went on to win the 1998 title.
ATLANTIC HISTORY AT MID-OHIO: The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced at Mid-Ohio 17 times, dating back to 1976. The list of previous winners at Mid-Ohio includes some of Atlantics' best drivers: Tom Klausler (1976), Jacques Villeneuve (1981), Dave McMillan (1982), Scott Goodyear (1986), Calvin Fish (1987), Steve Shelton (1988), Steve Shelton (1988), J.O. Cunningham (1989), Colin Trueman (1989), Jimmy Vasser (1991), Stuart Crow (1992), Jacques Villeneuve (1993), Colin Trueman (1994), Richie Hearn (1995), Patrick Carpentier (1996), Alex Barron (1997), and Lee Bentham (1998).
TELEVISION BROADCASTS: ESPN2 will televise Sunday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 5 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Monday, Aug. 23, at 2:00 a.m., and on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 5:00 a.m. The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race on Saturday, Aug. 21. Check local listing for the RDS time. ESPN International will televise the Mid-Ohio race on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 5 p.m. All times are Eastern. Canadian broadcaster CTV SportsNet is airing the race on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. in all local markets.
NEXT ATLANTIC RACE: Round 9 of the 12-race 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Target Grand Prix, in Cicero, Ill.