Montreal, June 17 -- Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 21, of Vancouver BC made a dramatic pass on the last turn of the last lap to win the fifth round of the 2000 Toyota Atlantic Championship this afternoon at the Air Canada Grand Prix.
Montreal, June 17 -- Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 21, of Vancouver BC made a dramatic pass on the last turn of the last lap to win the fifth round of the 2000 Toyota Atlantic Championship this afternoon at the Air Canada Grand Prix. Rutledge's win, from the pole, ends a two-year drought for the championship-winning team, whose last victory was scored by Memo Gidley (now CART's new 'Super Sub') at Milwaukee in 1998. The result leaves Rutledge 4th in the championship points battle, but moves the first four to within a couple of points of each other and places him firmly in contention for the championship. "This is just about the biggest day of my life so far, certainly in racing," says Rutledge, who also set a new fastest race lap record of 1:35.945 for this event on his final trip around the track. The previous race lap record, a 1:36.704 was set by Lynx Racing graduate Buddy Rice in 1999. "The Lynx team gave me an extremely good car, and I was lucky enough to be racing with some really excellent drivers who were running clean and we were driving hard but giving each other lots of racing room. We have a good handle on road course setups, which make up most of the rest of the season, so I think we should be a factor at every race and in the championship." Rutledge's Lynx Racing teammate, Mike Conte, 31, of Seattle, WA, qualified 12th on the grid and drove an event-filled race to finish 8th, keeping alive his unbroken string of top-10 finishes. "I had a really good car at the start and moved up a couple of places in the first few laps before the yellow flag," says Conte. "I figured I was headed for about a 5th place finish, but then I got bumped a couple of times and that affected the car just enough that it started handling differently and I lost a little bit of confidence in the car. Still, it was a pretty good race, and really shows the potential of the direction the team is headed. I think what happened here with my finish and David's win really will set the tone for the rest of the season." Andrew Bordin, who finished second at Montreal, now leads the Atlantic driver's championship with 67 points while Dan Wheldon (who finished third) is second with 65. Buddy Rice, who led the championship coming into Montreal, dropped to third in the points being forced into early retirement when Bordin slid into him on the first turn of the first race lap. David Rutledge is fourth in the standings with 60 points. In the Atlantic series, 20 points are awarded for a win.
Top 10 finishers in Saturday's 27 lap CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Grand Prix Air Canada in Montreal (with finishing position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, laps completed, and reason out, if any:
<pre> 1. (1), David Rutledge, 27, Running. 2. (3), Andrew Bordin, 27, Running. 3. (5), Daniel Wheldon (R), 27, Running. 4. (4), Martin Basso (R), 27, Running. 5. (11), William Langhorne, 27, Running. 6. (6), Rocky Moran, Jr, 27, Running 7. (7), Alex Gurney, 27, Running. 8. (12), Mike Conte, 27, Running. 9. (10), Kuno II Wittmer, 27, Running. 10. (13), Bruno St-Jacques (R), 27, Running.
</pre> The Montreal round of the 12-race CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will be televised on RDS Saturday, June 17 at 11:30 am (EDT). CTV Sportsnet will air the race on June 26 at 7:00 pm in the East and Ontario Regions, and on June 27 at 7:00 pm in the Pacific Region and 8:00 pm in the West Region. It will also air Saturday, June 24 at 2:30 pm (EDT) on ESPN2 and ESPN International.