Mid-Ohio Lynx Racing Preview

THE GREEN ACRES ENIGMA Green Acres is the place for me, farm livin' is the life for me, land spreadin' out so far and wide, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside - Theme song to 1960's TV show "Green Acres" 1. Lynx Racing's latest CART...


Green Acres is the place for me, farm livin' is the life for me, land spreadin' out so far and wide, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside - Theme song to 1960's TV show "Green Acres"

1. Lynx Racing's latest CART FedEX hot prospect, Buddy Rice, qualified 5th and finished 2nd in last year's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race at the Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio. 2. It will be a busy weekend for Lynx with Rice and teammate Mike Conte at Mid-Ohio along with Lynx's affiliated F2000 team DSTP Motorsports and driver Bobby Oergel; Sara Senske, fresh off a victory in the Women's Global GT race at Portland, will race her Star Formula Mazda at Thunderhill 3. Lynx Racing is the only championship-winning racing team owned by women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. DSTP is also owned by a woman, Dede Rogers and run by a woman, Pam Griffith.

If there is a racetrack in America that fits the image of Green Acres, it's the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The enigma, of course, is that Mid-Ohio is most famous for high-tech racing cars howling at top speed through the hills and valleys of a place that you get to by turning left at "Steam Corners." Mid-Ohio will be living up to its name again this weekend when the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic cars return as part of the annual CART FedEx invasion called the Miller Lite 200. Lynx Racing's latest CART FedEx hot prospect, Buddy Rice, qualified fifth and finished second in this race last year. Rice's enigmatic style -- a cool-headed hard charger -- has led him to a succession of podium finishes, but at Mid-Ohio he's looking to break formation and stride first into the winner's circle. "Mid-Ohio is like a really smooth, U-drive roller coaster, and roller coasters are one of my favorite things," says Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona. "We had a tough weekend here last year, but a reasonably good finish after a heroic effort by the team. We've learned a lot about the cars between then and now, and everybody at Lynx Racing is hungry for a win... me most of all." Rice's Lynx Racing teammate, Mike Conte, had an equivocal weekend at Mid-Ohio last year, qualifying 18th and finishing 19th while driving for another team. "Mid-Ohio is actually a better track for us than it is for the Champ Cars," says Conte, 30, of Seattle, Washington. "It's quite narrow and the CART races tend to become processions, but there's just enough room for us to pass each other. With it's wide variety of turns and elevation changes, this is one of the hardest tracks to set up, and it changes dramatically from first practice on Friday to the race on Sunday. The Champ Cars lay down so much rubber that if you dropped a tennis ball on the racing line it wouldn't bounce. It's a challenge, and all the more rewarding when you get it right." Lynx Racing's history in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic events at Mid-Ohio includes victories, championships and graduations. Patrick Carpentier won in 1996 as part of his 9-victory, 8-in-a-row-from-the-pole season - and went on to become the 1997 CART Rookie of the Year. He now drives for Player's/Forsythe. Alex Barron won for Lynx in 1997, part of his only season in Atlantic, during which he won both the Atlantic Rookie of the Year award and the series championship. He drove 1 ½ seasons for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers, and this year has driven for Roger Penske at Michigan and will again at Chicago. Last year's Lynx standout, Memo Gidley, drove four CART FedEx races for Walker Racing earlier this year and will be in the Payton-Coyne/Herdez car at Mid-Ohio. Also competing at Mid-Ohio will be Lynx Racing's associated team, DSTP Motorsports, which campaigns Bobby Oergel in the U.S. F2000 series. Lynx and DSTP share engineering and driver coaching personnel, and the last three Lynx drivers, Gidley, Barron and Rice, all came up through the DSTP team. Half a country away, Lynx Racing driver Sara Senske will be competing in the Star Formula Mazda race at the Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California. Formula Mazda is the step on the open-wheel ladder immediately below F2000, a step she is likely to make for the 2000 season. Senske's most recent triumph was winning the third round of the innovative new Women's Global GT series at Portland. Created by motorsports entrepreneur Don Panoz and famed female racer Lyn St. James, the WGGT pits top female drivers from around the world against each other in identical Panoz Esperante race cars. Senske qualified on the pole, led every lap, set the fastest lap of the race and won by a margin of 27 seconds. Lynx Racing, owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty and now entering its ninth year of operation, is both a championship-winning racing team and a unique driver development program. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.'

Mid-Ohio Event Schedule:

Thursday, August 12 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. U.S. F2000 Testing 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. U.S. F2000 Testing

Friday, August 13 8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. U.S. F2000 Practice 9:30 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Toyota Atlantic Practice 1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Toyota Atlantic Preliminary Qualifying 4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. U.S. F2000 Qualifying

Saturday, August 14 8:00 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. U.S. F2000 Warm-Up 11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Toyota Atlantic Practice 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Toyota Atlantic Final Qualifying 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. U.S. F2000 Race

Sunday, August 15 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Toyota Atlantic Warm-Up 11:50 a.m. - 12:50 p.m. Toyota Atlantic Race / 30 Laps

Mid-Ohio Toyota Atlantic ESPN 2 Television Broadcast:

Saturday, August 21 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Next KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Race:

Saturday, August 21 / Target Grand Prix / Chicago Motor Speedway

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About this article
Series Atlantic , Pro Mazda
Drivers Alex Barron , Dan Gurney , Lyn St. James , Buddy Rice , Don Panoz , Roger Penske