Nazareth, Pa., (May 5, 2001) - Tony Ave (P-1 Racing/Miller Genuine Draft Swift) won the pole by virtue of a rainout, for Round Two of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth Pennsylvania. With rain washing out...
Nazareth, Pa., (May 5, 2001) - Tony Ave (P-1 Racing/Miller Genuine Draft Swift) won the pole by virtue of a rainout, for Round Two of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth Pennsylvania. With rain washing out the qualifying session, the starting grid and pole were determined by combined practice speeds from Friday and Saturday sessions.
Ave turned the fastest lap during Friday morning's practice session with a speed of 146.648 mph (23.223 seconds) earning his first career Atlantic pole. "I feel really good," remarked a satisfied Tony Ave. "We've been competitive all weekend. David (Bruns) has really done a good job with the car. So hopefully, we'll have a good car tomorrow because at a place like this, the man with the best car wins. I hope that man will be me." Ave will be gunning for his first win since 1996 where he won in Miami/Homestead. Even though Ave won the pole, he was not awarded the bonus championship point since there was no official qualifying.
Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) will line up on the outside of row one for the third time in his career with other shotgun starts at Miami/Homestead and Road America in 2000. "We're going to be starting second which is not bad," said the Brazilian driver. "It's really a good position to start. We think we have a good car for the race and I'd like to keep myself close in the championship. I feel a little disappointed with no qualifying because I thought we had a good chance to win the pole." Orsi, also set his fastest speed on Friday morning with a lap of 146.522 mph (23.243 seconds). Rodolfo Lavin (Michael Shank Racing/Corona Swift) earned his best Atlantic starting position on Saturday morning with a speed of 145.794 mph (23.359 seconds). "I'm pretty happy and the team is pretty happy also with the third starting position," quoted the first-year driver from Mexico. "The team is looking forward to winning the race and I am as well. We're going to try and make it a clean and consistent race, try to finish on the podium, and get some points for the championship."
Long Beach winner and series point leader, David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) has struggled most of the weekend here at Nazareth and will start 9th after dominating most of event at Long Beach. "We are pretty disappointed not being able to qualify," said the Vancouver, Canada driver. "We felt we could have been much better than what we had shown in practice because we have been fighting the setup all weekend, but were making gains. I feel we have a good shot at the podium. It's a long race." Rutledge sits six points ahead of Hoover Orsi, in the Championship with 22 points.
Tomorrow's 65-lap event will start at 10:30 a.m. EST as Sunday's opening race of the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. The race will be preceded by a 15-minute warm-up session starting at 8:30 a.m. EST. Weather forecast calls for clear skies but temperatures are expected to be much cooler than what the teams practiced in throughout the weekend.
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Sunday's Round 2 race from Nazareth on Sunday, May 13, at 10:30 p.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the East, Ontario, and West time zones, and Monday, May 14, 8:30 p.m. in the Pacific time zone. CTV repeat dates are: East, May 16, 3:00 p.m., Ontario, May 16, 4:30 p.m., Pacific, May 15, 5:00 p.m., and West, May 16, 3:00 p.m. ESPN2 will replay the race on Wednesday, May 16, at 4:30 a.m ET.