After a season that has seen Joey Hand and the DSTP Motorsports team flounder with less than stellar results, things seemed to turn the corner in August with back to back fourth place finishes in the past two races. With the Championship out of...
After a season that has seen Joey Hand and the DSTP Motorsports team flounder with less than stellar results, things seemed to turn the corner in August with back to back fourth place finishes in the past two races. With the Championship out of reach, the team will focus on getting Hand back to the top of the podium in the final quarter of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season.
Round 10 lands the Championship at its traditional stop in Montreal at the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. The Montreal event is the second stop of the season in the province of Quebec after competing two hours up the road in Trois-Rivieres where Hand went on to claim the first of his two fourth place finishes. Hand followed it up in the Round 9 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Hand began both races from the seventh place starting position on tracks that are hard to pass which made the fourth place showings moral victories.
Hand and the DSTP team know that in order to give Hand a chance to win this weekend in Montreal and at the following dates in Denver and Miami, the team will have to get the car up to speed quicker during the race weekend. Although the yellow and purple DSTP Swift was one of the fastest cars in the field at Trois-Rivieres and Mid-Ohio, the speed did not come until the race and the ground was too much to make up in the Atlantic Championship's sprint races. For DSTP, the race actually begins with the first practice session of the weekend on Friday at 8:45 a.m. EST.
The team made major strides in Mid-Ohio and feels like the car will qualify better for the remainder of the season; giving hope that the results the team thought they would have this year will finally come to fruition.
"We feel like we might have come across something that has been plaguing us all year long, and we are hoping that the car is going to be much faster than it has been," said Hand. "Even though we finished fourth at Mid-Ohio, the car was great and we were right there with the leaders. If we can get to the front in qualifying in Montreal, I think we can be a serious contender for the win."
Although Hand has not earned a podium in his previous two starts in Montreal, he was running a close third in the 2001 Montreal event before suffering a mechanical failure.
"The track is one of my favorites because it suits my style with long straights and tight chicanes," said Hand on the Montreal road course. "I was chasing down the leaders in 2001 before we broke and ran good here last year as well, but could not make it to the front before running out of time. I think we can race well there if we can start near the front."
The Atlantic race in Montreal has been the showcase event on Saturday and continues to be this year with the 3:15 p.m. green flag. Speed Channel will carry the race on same day delay at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Following Montreal, the Atlantic schedule places the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in Denver, Colorado next weekend. It will be the second time the series has competed on the streets of Denver. After three weeks off, the series concludes its 2003 season on the warm streets of Miami, Florida.
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.