(Los Angeles, August 9) -- Lynx Racing announced today that it will field a car for Jason LaPoint, currently running second in the U.S. F2000 Championship, in three of the final four races of the CART Toyota Atlantic season. LaPoint, 24, of ...
(Los Angeles, August 9) -- Lynx Racing announced today that it will field a car for Jason LaPoint, currently running second in the U.S. F2000 Championship, in three of the final four races of the CART Toyota Atlantic season.
LaPoint, 24, of Woodburn, Oregon, will be teamed with David Rutledge, 23, of Vancouver, B.C., who is currently second in the Atlantic championship with three wins from the pole. LaPoint will drive the #32 Lynx Racing / Infinity Racing Swift 008.a at the Motorola 220 at Road America on August 19, the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston on October 7, and the season-finale Honda Grand Prix of Monterey on October 13.
#32 is the number used by CART FedEx driver Alex Barron when he won the Atlantic championship with Lynx in 1997, and is the number currently used by Patrick Carpentier (who won the Atlantic title in 1996 with Lynx) on his Player's/Forsythe Reynard. Lynx alumni also include Memo Gidley, now driving for Target Chip Ganassi.
"To say I'm jazzed about the opportunity is a complete understatement," says LaPoint, who hopes to move into the championship points lead in this weekend's U.S. F2000 race during the Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio. "Every young driver in my position would give anything for a shot at the Lynx ride, and I'd like to thank Alan Green of Infinity Racing and all the other people who helped make this possible. I've raced at Road America recently in the U.S. F2000 race where I won the pole and set a track record, so even though this will be my first-ever Atlantic race, I'm hoping to make a good impression on the team and help support David's battle for the championship."
Driving the #89 Van Diemen Ford for the Richard Morgan Racing team (with sponsorship from Infinity Racing, Regency Aviation and Trackmagic Karts), LaPoint sits second in the U.S. F2000 Championship going into this weekend with two poles, four front-row starts and four podium finishes.
"Bringing in a new teammate during the stretch run of a championship is something only a team the caliber of Lynx could do successfully," says Rutledge. "I raced against Jason in karts in the Pacific Northwest before he moved down to Southern California, and he's obviously very talented, so I think that even though he's new to this level of racing, he'll make a positive contribution to the team."
LaPoint began racing karts in 1989, won a variety of regional and national championships before being signed in 1997 as the factory test and race driver by Trackmagic Karts -- a position held until that point by Lynx graduate Memo Gidley, now driving for Target Chip Ganassi in CART. LaPoint was chosen for the Team Green Academy in 1997, and won the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship in 1998. His prize was a sponsored season in the Formula Dodge Midwest Series where he won five races in 1999 and was selected for the Barber Dodge Pro Series Shootout. He also won the SKUSA S1 Moto World Championship in 1999, driving for Trackmagic. In 2000, LaPoint was the factory Star Formula Mazda driver on the Valley Motor Center team, winning 'Rookie of the Year' and finishing third in the championship. He earned the money for his Formula Mazda season as a driver coach and at-the-track car setup specialist.
Both of LaPoint's parents raced karts, so he grew up at the track -- but without letting his racing interfere with his studies. He graduated high school with honors, was his class salutatorian, editor of the school paper and captain of the tennis team. His other interests include baseball, basketball, soccer and slalom skiing. He then attended Willamette University before transferring to Portland State University to study Marketing and Speech.
"Jason has proved over the last ten years that he's one of the top young American drivers, and we're happy to give him the chance to show just how good he really is," says Lynx Racing team manager Steve Cameron. "Usually when we evaluate a driver's future potential, we have to look at what they've done in the past and make an educated guess about what they might be able to achieve. But with Jason, as with Michael Valiante, who ran four races with us earlier in the season, we have the luxury of seeing how they perform under pressure in the middle of a championship season where every minute of track time counts."