West Allis, WI. (June 3, 2000) - Buddy Rice, driver of the ...
West Allis, WI. (June 3, 2000) - Buddy Rice, driver of the #27 DSTP Atlantic Swift/Toyota, finished 17th following contact with PPI Motorsports' Dan Wheldon while leading today's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Milwaukee Mile. Rice, who led 32 laps, was tapped from behind by Wheldon on lap 34 and eventually retired on lap 38 from damage sustained to the car's left side.
"It's unfortunate the race had to end the way it did," said Rice, who started the race fourth and jumped into the lead by the third lap. "Dan and I had a great race going and we were running at a comfortable pace. I'm not really sure what happened on the front straight. I came off the corner and held my line, then I was pitched sideways. I spun it around to keep it off the walls, but Dan hit me on the left front. We tried to fix it under yellow, but there was too much to repair. It's really a shame. We made some changes before the race and definitely had a car capable of winning. At least we still have the championship points lead going into Montreal. That's one of my favorite tracks and in light of what happened today, we're going to be very hungry for the win."
Rice collected one point for leading the most laps today and still maintains a ten-point margin in the season championship standings over Wheldon, who captured one point for qualifying on pole (61-51).
"Today was one of those days that makes you stronger as a team," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "We did everything we had to do to win, but luck just wasn't on our side. We'll be back, and charging hard for the front in Montreal."
Today's 60-lap Atlantic race was won by Martin Basso of Argentina, followed by Andrew Bordin and Hoover Orsi. The race 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.