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FACT SHEET THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 9 - Miller Lite 200 MidOhio-Sports Car Course Aug. 7-9, 1998 Lexington, Ohio THE EVENT: Round 9 of the 13-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic ...


THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 9 - Miller Lite 200 MidOhio-Sports Car Course Aug. 7-9, 1998 Lexington, Ohio


Round 9 of the 13-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 2.25-mile permanent road course at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as the Sunday prelude race to the Miller Lite 200.


The CART-sanctioned $1.34 million KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship is the richest open-wheel development series in North America, noted for its long history of graduating its stars directly into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART stars Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.


Friday, Aug. 7: Practice 8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Practice 1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8: Qualifying 11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Qualifying 3 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9: Warm-up 9 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. RACE 11:30 a.m. 25 laps, 56.45 miles


Heading into the ninth of 13 Atlantic races, Player's-Forsythe driver Lee Bentham, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has pulled into the points lead at 100 following four straight podium finishes. Lynx Racing's Memo Gidley, of Novato, Calif., who held the points lead for the first seven races, now is tied for second with Bentham's teammate, Alex Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., at 98 points. B.D.J.S. driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., is fourth at 87 points, while D&L Racing's Matt Sielsky has moved into fifth with 73 points. Lynx Racing's Buddy Rice has fallen from a second-place tie in the points just two races ago down to sixth with 70 points.


The Player's-Forsythe tandem of Bentham and Tagliani has taken hold of the championship after eight rounds, winning three of the last four races - all in Canada - and dominating in the process. In the last five races, Tagliani has finished third at Milwaukee, second at Montreal, fourth at Cleveland, and first at Toronto and at Trois-Rivieres. Bentham has been the most consistent racer this year and, not surprisingly, now leads the championship. Bentham has finished in the top five for the last six races, including the victory at Montreal and podium finishes at Milwaukee, Toronto and Trois-Rivieres. Another team on the rise is Mike Shank Racing and driver Kenny Wilden, of Burlington, Ont. Wilden, with sponsorship from TrizecHahn, Newcourt and Columbus Truck Co., has finished first at Cleveland, third at Toronto, and qualified second at Trois-Rivieres before a penalty for jumping the start dropped him out of serious contention. Anthony Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., and his PPI/MCI Racing team, also are on the rise, finishing second at Cleveland and second at Trois-Rivieres. Sielsky's consistently strong finishes has moved him into contention with Rice and Bordin for the KOOL Rookie of the Year.


Ted Sahley of Cleveland is the only Ohio-based driver entered in Sunday's Atlantic race at Mid-Ohio.


The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced at Mid-Ohio 16 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).


Qualifying: Jacques Villeneuve, Ralt RT-40, August '93 1:16.475 / 105.91mph, Forsythe-Green Racing Race: Jacques Villeneuve, Ralt RT-40, August '93 1:16.319 / 106.13 mph, Forsythe-Green Racing


ESPN2 will televise Sunday's Round 9 at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 3:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Monday, Aug. 17, at 4 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at 5 a.m., and Sunday, Nov. 29, at 3 a.m. ESPN International will telecast the race on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 3:30 p.m. CTV will air it in Canada on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 4 p.m., while French Canadian network RDS will broadcast the race on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 3:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.


Round 10 of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held Sunday, Aug. 16, at the Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Scott Goodyear , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Richie Hearn , Alex Barron , Anthony Lazzaro , Calvin Fish , Danny Sullivan , Buddy Rice , Andrew Bordin