Toronto, Ontario, CAN. (July 14, 2000) - After setting the fastest time in this morning's practice session by over half a second, DSTP Atlantic and driver Buddy Rice elected to sit-out this afternoon's rain-soaked provisional qualifying round...
Toronto, Ontario, CAN. (July 14, 2000) - After setting the fastest time in this morning's practice session by over half a second, DSTP Atlantic and driver Buddy Rice elected to sit-out this afternoon's rain-soaked provisional qualifying round for Sunday's CART Toyota Atlantic race, part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend. While the track was dry for practice today, a thunderstorm with torrential rains moved-in just minutes before Atlantic qualifying. The team will have another opportunity to qualify at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.
"We didn't see the need to go out in this much rain for provisional qualifying, so we decided to sit the session out," said Rice, who currently leads the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic drivers' championship points standings. "We think it will be dry tomorrow, but, if it's not, we've got a great rain set-up that we'll use. In either case, tomorrow's qualifying times should be much faster. This morning, the car was great. Once again, DSTP gave me a car that was near perfect right off of the trailer. We'll be in good shape tomorrow."
Earlier today in practice, Rice set a fast time of 1:06.938 (94.386 miles per hour) around Toronto's 1.755-mile temporary street circuit. PPI teammates Dan Wheldon and Andrew Bordin were second and third at 1:07.470 and 1:07.620, respectively. In provisional qualifying, Rino Mastronardi set today's fastest time of 1:20.925 followed by David Rutledge (1:22.163) and Martin Basso (1:22.167).
"This was really the best decision for today," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "If it's dry tomorrow, the times should be nearly 15 seconds faster for qualifying. But, if it's raining, then we'll have time to put on a proper rain set-up. Either way, we're feeling good about this weekend."
Tomorrow's Atlantic activities begin with a 30-minute practice session at 8:00 a.m., followed by the second round of qualifying just before noon. The 35-lap race is scheduled for 12:00 pm on Sunday, July 16, and will be televised via espn2 on Sunday, July 23, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT), with an encore presentation on Thursday, July 27, at 4:00 a.m. (EDT).