West Allis, WI. (June 2, 2000) - Buddy Rice, driver of the ...
West Allis, WI. (June 2, 2000) - Buddy Rice, driver of the #27 DSTP Atlantic Swift/Toyota, today qualified fourth for tomorrow's fourth round of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season at the Milwaukee Mile, part of the Miller Lite 225 CART FedEx Championship weekend. Rice turned a fast lap of 25.326 seconds for an average speed of 146.695 miles per hour during single-car qualifying on Milwaukee's one-mile paved oval.
"We missed just a little bit on the set up for qualifying," said Rice, who was fastest in today's earlier practice session. "On an up note, we have a great car for the race. It's always better to start on the front row, but 60 laps is a long race at Milwaukee. Attrition is a big factor for the finish and having a consistent car for the long run is crucial. I think we'll be in good shape for the race. There's plenty of places to pass and traffic always makes the race a challenge." Rice currently leads the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship points standings by nine points over PPI Motorsports' Dan Wheldon. Wheldon captured one point today by qualifying on pole with a time of 25.150 (147.722 mph) for tomorrow's race. Martin Basso will start second followed by Andrew Bordin in third.
"Fourth keeps us right in the hunt," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "It's a long race and I have all the confidence in the world in Buddy and this team. It's going to be a tough race to the front, but with a little luck, we'll stay out of trouble and have a strong finish."
Rice, 24, is no stranger to Milwaukee's track. Now in his third year of Atlantic competition, after driving for Lynx Racing in 1998 and 1999, he's experienced both ends of the field at the start, as well as the finish. In 1998, he qualified outside of the front row, only to finish the race 11th after pitting to change a blistered right front tire. Last year, in a reversal of fortune, Rice qualified an uncustomary 10th and charged up to finish third - his first of four podiums in 1999.
The 60-lap, 60-mile race is scheduled to begin at 3:15 pm Central Daylight Time tomorrow and will be televised via espn2 on Sunday, June 11 at 10:00 am (EDT) with an encore presentation on Wednesday, June 14 at 5:00 am (EDT). Round 5 of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic season takes place on June 17 in Montreal, Canada, as the primary support event to the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.