Fogarty Wins in Montreal To Take Five-Point Lead in Atlantic MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 29, 2004) -- The race for the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama series title has been a back-and-forth battle all season long...
Fogarty Wins in Montreal To Take Five-Point Lead in Atlantic
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 29, 2004) -- The race for the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama series title has been a back-and-forth battle all season long between Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) and Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks). Sunday it was Fogarty's turn to get a leg up in the personal battle between the two talented Atlantic veterans as the California native started from the pole and led every lap en route to a .534-second victory over his rival at the Molson Indy Montreal Atlantic race (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, September 4 - 2 p.m. ET).
Fogarty's fifth win of the year enabled him to build a five-point lead in the race for the 2004 Toyota Atlantic crown as he now enjoys a 294-289 advantage over Scotland's Dalziel. With today's result, all other series drivers were mathematically eliminated from title contention, setting up a two-man shootout for the series championship at the season finale in Monterey, California at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 12.
Winner of the 2002 Atlantic title, Fogarty captured his seventh career series victory and he was able to get revenge for a disappointing second place finish at the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road course during his title-winning season. The 29-year-old pilot started from the pole in '02 and led the first 25 laps of the event before being passed for the lead with just two laps remaining. Today, he closed the deal and did it in impressive fashion, winning with an average speed of 103.923 mph in a new race record time of 39:06.067. The only anxious moment for the former champ came late in the race when he was forced off course by a lapped car, but he was able to recover to take the checkered flag.
Dalziel, the 2003 series runner-up, tried valiantly to catch and overtake the only man standing in his path to an Atlantic crown, but he just wasn't able to draw close enough to make a move, despite putting constant pressure on the leader throughout the 25-lap, caution-free race. Mindful of every point available in the tight championship fight, Dalziel earned the bonus point for the fastest race lap on his final turn on the circuit when he was clocked at 1:32.586 (105.333 mph). That single digit enables Dalziel to keep the deficit at just five points heading into the final showdown in two weeks.
Fogarty's teammate, Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) brought home a third-place finish for his best result since capturing his first series win earlier this year in Monterrey, Mexico.
After starting third, Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) engaged in a race-long battle with top series rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye). Patrick wound up finishing ahead of Ranger, the local favorite from Roxton Pond, Quebec, as she crossed the finish line fourth overall. Patrick has now finished among the top five drivers in 10 out of the series' 11 events this year.
Ranger had a strong performance after starting seventh for the second consecutive race. He made several early passes and finished fifth for his eighth top-five result of the year. With the effort, the 17-year-old reclaims the top spot in the BG Products Rookie of the Year standings.
American Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) finished sixth in the running order and the Ohio native remains sixth in the series point standings with today's result.
Rookies Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) and Al Unser (#10 200 + Marketing and Management/Masterplan Group International) produced solid top-10 finishes in their first visit to Montreal. Festa started eighth and improved to seventh at the final flag, while Unser, the son of legendary race Al Unser Jr., carded his best career result of eighth in his fourth Toyota Atlantic start.
Adam Pecorari (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) made his series debut this weekend after finishing third in the 2004 Formula Ford Zetec series and he managed a ninth-place finish in his maiden Atlantic voyage. Dan Selznick (#49 The Room Store) completed the top-10 running order in his second Atlantic race of the year.
After starting 16th in a C2 entry, veteran racer Cam Binder (#65 Avmax/Western Avionics) posted his best result of the season in 11th place, earning the bonus point for improving the most positions during the course of the race. Rich Zober (#66 Zober Industries/Zober.com), also racing in the C2 class, finished 12th in his Toyota Atlantic debut.
Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems), who led the Rookie of the Year standings entering the weekend, suffered a gearbox problem just three laps from the finish and was forced to retire.
Montreal native Philip Fayer (#3 PaySystems) was the last running car on the race track as he came home in 14th position, while rookies Tom Nastasi (#23 USG/Ramset/Mactank/DeWalt), Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) and Tony Loniewski (#34 Margay) all saw their days end early with mechanical problems.
ATLANTIC RACE NOTES
* With Jon Fogarty winning by .534 of a second over Ryan Dalziel, it marked the series' second-closest finish of the season. Fogarty edged Andrew Ranger by .358 seconds in Toronto for the closest margin of victory in 2004.
* Today's race was the second consecutive Atlantic event that was run caution free. This is the third race of the season that has been completed without incident, joining Denver and Round 5 in Portland as flag-free events.
* Fogarty's win marks the 13th time in 24 Toyota Atlantic races in Montreal that the polesitter has gone on to win the race.
Quotes from the top three finishers, and Quebec native and rookie Andrew Ranger, follow:
JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) "It was a good car to drive. My opening laps, I pushed hard because I knew Ryan (Dalziel) would be there. The car came in after a few laps. Then, I had to back off a little in the late part of the race. I had a little left because I knew I had to stay in front of Ryan. Our engineers did a good job. I'm looking forward to going to Laguna Seca (for the season finale). The team has been working hard. In Denver (two weeks ago), the car was not acceptable. So, it was good to come back here and have such a good car. (Late in the race) I came up fast on a back marker. He went to the left, which was good because I could keep up my momentum. Then, just as I got my front wheel next to him, he started to pull over. I couldn't back off because Ryan was right there. I kept my foot in it and he forced me onto the grass. I bounced off the wall a couple of times and kept going. I didn't know if I had cut down a tire."
RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks) "We had a good car all weekend. It was a bit disappointing to be starting on the outside. When you're within a couple of tenths of each other, it's hard to pass. Back markers hurt me during the race. A back marker also hurt Jon. It almost decided the championship and that would be a shame. It's going to come down to Laguna Seca. I think whoever starts in front there is going to win the championship. It's going to take a perfect weekend for us. Laguna Seca is the first track I raced at in the states. I fell in love with it. It is similar to tracks in Europe. I know it's Jon's home track, but you just have to look at my results there in the past."
ALEX FIGGE (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) "My car took a while to come in. It was good in the middle section of the race, then it fell off a little late in the race. (Engineer) Burke (Harrison) made some changes before the race that were great. (After a win in Monterrey, Mexico, he had a lull in his season.) At Cleveland, I had a bad race and took my championship-leading teammate (Fogarty) out. A lot of it is attitude. I'm feeling good and I've been qualifying better."
* ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) finished fifth and recaptured the rookie of the year points lead, 232-223 over Ronnie Bremer. "In the beginning, I had a very good car. I could do what I wanted to do with the car. I think I pushed a little too much and my rear tires got very hot. I tried to go hard after Alex (Figge), but I had to go easier (when the tires got too hot). It's too bad (he couldn't finish higher) because this is my hometown. But, I'm the first rookie (in the season standings). For the race, my gear box was OK (he had problems in both qualifying sessions), but a couple of times in Turn 6, I came in fast and had trouble down shifting. My biggest pressure was here in Montreal. But, I feel good."