Joey Hand ...
Joey Hand #27 DSTP Motorsports Toyota Swift 014.a
While A.J. Allmendinger was running off to another CART Toyota Atlantic Championship victory, most of the sun soaked race fan's attention was on Joey Hand as he and Canadian, Jonathan Macri, slugged it out for the final spot in the top five at the Round 10 Atlantic event at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Although he was able to move past Danica Patrick on the first green flag lap, Hand saw Macri sneak past later in the lap to give back the fifth place position. Macri, Hand, and Patrick would continue to stay nose to tail with Hand looking for opportunities to pass. It looked as if Hand earned the spot on lap 18 when he ducked inside of Macri heading into the tight Turn 10 hairpin, but Hand lost traction momentarily and slipped high in the turn allowing Macri to duck back inside exiting the turn. Four laps later, Hand would finally complete the pass when got a run exiting out of Turn 10 and pulled ahead of Macri on the long back straight to take over the fifth place spot.
Hand was able to run down Michael Valiante in the closing laps to challenge for fourth place, but ran out of time before being able to attempt a pass. Valiante held off the charge and finished 3/10's of a second ahead of Hand.
For the second straight race, Hand placed a top three fastest lap without being able to transfer the time to a podium finish. Hand's lap of 1:31.832 seconds (106.198 mph) was third quickest time posted overall and set the mark on the 24th lap of the race. Hand was second quickest in the Round 9 event at Mid-Ohio while finishing fourth in that race.
It was also the third straight top five finish for Hand after taking fourth place in the two previous races in Trois-Rivieres and Mid-Ohio. The performance today tightened Hand's grip on sixth place in Championship points with a total of 91. Hand trails Aaron Justus in fifth place by a total of 20 points while extending his gap by two points to a nine point advantage over Danica Patrick in seventh.
It's a quick turn around as the teams pack up and head west for next weekends Round 11 race of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in Denver, Colorado. The teams will then get a three week break before concluding the 30th season of the Championship on the streets of Miami, Florida.
Hand on Saturday Qualifying:
"I got everything out of the car that session that was in it. We have got some serious work to do before the race if we are going to have a chance at a podium this afternoon. We keep improving the car, but so does everybody else so we just don't seem to be closing the gap on the guys up front. We'll just see how it goes. Kent (Stacy) and the guys have given me great cars to race with in the past two races so hopefully, we'll be ready again later today."
Hand on Saturday Race:
"I think the race could have been better for us. I can't say enough about the DSTP guys though. They absolutely worked their butts off this weekend. We had two things go wrong in the previous sessions that made them work all night. They did not get in until 2:30 a.m. this morning and were back at the track at 5:45 a.m. They really put their heart and soul into it. At the start of the race, I told them I would do the same and hopefully there would be some payback for working the late nights."
"Fifth place is obviously not where we want to be. We had a car that probably could have run second. Our car is always fastest at the end, but it is tough to get up front in this series. I had a little problem with the throttle sticking in the car on the down shifts which made it tough to stick any passes. It was a good race car, but once again for us, it was too little too late."
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.