Montreal Lynx Racing Preview

ECLECTICALLY ELECTRIC Fast Facts: Lynx Racing in the KOOL/Toyota /Atlantic support race at the Grand Prix du Canada, June 12 · Lynx Racing scored a 1-2 finish in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race at Montreal in 1996 with...

ECLECTICALLY ELECTRIC

Fast Facts: Lynx Racing in the KOOL/Toyota /Atlantic support race at the Grand Prix du Canada, June 12

· Lynx Racing scored a 1-2 finish in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic race at Montreal in 1996 with Patrick Carpentier and Jeret Schroeder, finished second in 1997 with Alex Barron and third in 1998 with Buddy Rice · Three Lynx drivers, Carpentier, Barron and last year's graduate, Memo Gidley, have moved up to drive in the CART FedEx series; Jeret Schroeder competed in this year's Indy 500.

The start of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic support race at the Grand Prix du Canada last year provided one of the most electric moments of the season when Lynx Racing driver Buddy Rice, starting from the third spot on the gird, executed a letter-perfect standing start and roared past the pair of Player's cars the occupied the front row to take the lead going into the first turn. And he almost pulled it off - what would have been one of the greatest upsets in the Atlantic series' storied 25-year history. Rice led the race twice before deteriorating handling and the lack of a drafting partner (Rice's Lynx teammate Memo Gidley was out on the second lap with a broken gearbox) allowed the Player's duo of Lee Bentham and Alex Tagliani to bulldoze their way past and take the checkered flag. Rice finished third that day, marking the third year in a row that a Lynx driver has stood on the Grand Prix podium at Le Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Lynx drivers Patrick Carpentier and Jeret Schroeder finished 1-2 in 1996, and Alex Barron finished second in 1997). "It was intense, no doubt about it," says the 23-year old driver from Phoenix, Arizona. "But intense is where it's at, right? I mean, what's the point of even getting in a race car unless you're willing to take it right to the limit… and then some? There's about six or eight really fast guys in Atlantic this season, and all of us are driving the same cars with the same engines, so it mostly comes down to how much intensity the team and driver can bring to every race - how hard are you willing to work for it, how much are you willing to risk, how much do you want it? And there isn't a team or driver out there that wants it more than we do." Coming into Montreal, Rice is a solid second in the championship points battle, and finished on the podium in last weekend's race on the 1.0-mile Milwaukee oval. Nor is Buddy Rice the only determined personality on the team. His co-driver, Mike Conte, 30, of Seattle, Washington, has his own eclectic, electric personality. Once a major computer wizard at MicroSoft involved with developing some of their best-known products, Conte is now in his second season as an Atlantic driver, finishing sixth at Milwaukee. He also competes in sports cars, and co-drove a Porsche entered under his own Contemporary Motorsports banner to a podium finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year. "Atlantic is a technical series and Montreal is a technical track, which plays to one of Lynx Racing's greatest strengths," says Conte. "We have the engineering skills and driving ability to go around this track fast, as do several of the other teams. But it's going to take a bold and decisive driver to do well here because now that the series is no longer using the standing start, the whole field will be rocketing into turn one at top speed - and that will separate the winners from the posers in a heartbeat." Lynx Racing, owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty and now entering its ninth year of operation, is both a championship-winning racing team and a unique driver development program. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.' In addition to Buddy Rice and Mike Conte in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series, Lynx also sponsors a car for the team's first female driver, Sara Senske, 20, of Kennewick, Washington. Senske competes in the Star Mazda Championship, driving a car fielded by Kent Stacy's championship winning S3 Racing. In her most recent race, on Memorial Day at the Phoenix International Raceway oval, she qualified on the front row and scored a podium finish. Her next race is a Sports Car Club of America national event, June 12 - 13 at the Willow Springs Raceway in Southern California.

KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Event Schedule:

Thursday, June 10 5:00 p.m. Atlantic team briefing Series Headquarters at the track

Friday, June 11 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Atlantic practice 2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Atlantic qualifying

Saturday, June 12 2:15 p.m. Atlantic cars to the grid 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Atlantic race / 27 laps / 75 miles 3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Atlantic podium ceremonies

Television Schedule (ESPN2 - EST):

Saturday, June19                12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.  First broadcast
Thursday, June 24                4:00 a.m.  - 5:00 a.m. Repeat broadcast
Thursday, June 24                2:00 p.m.  - 3:00 p.m. Repeat broadcast

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Memo Gidley , Jeret Schroeder , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Alex Barron , Buddy Rice , Lee Bentham