FACT SHEET THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 10 - Texaco Havoline 200, Road America Aug. 14-16, 1998, Elkhart Lake, Wis. THE RACE: Round 10 of the 13-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 4.0-mile permanent road ...
THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 10 - Texaco Havoline 200, Road America Aug. 14-16, 1998, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
THE RACE: Round 10 of the 13-event KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, held on the 4.0-mile permanent road course at Road America as the Sunday prelude race to the Texaco Havoline 200.
THE SERIES: The CART-sanctioned $1.34 million KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship is the richest open-wheel development series in North America, noted for its long history of graduating its stars directly into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are CART stars Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Jimmy Vasser, Richie Hearn, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron, as well as 1997 FIA Formula One Champion, Jacques Villeneuve.
SCHEDULE: Friday, Aug.14: Practice 9:40 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8: Qualifying 11:15 a.m.- 11:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9: Warm-up 8:50 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. RACE 12:15 p.m. 17 laps, 68 miles
DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP: Heading into the 10th of 13 Atlantic races, Player's-Forsythe driver Lee Bentham, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has pulled into a 121-99 points lead over second-place Alex Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., Bentham's teammate. Lynx Racing's Memo Gidley, of Novato, Calif., who held the points lead for the first seven races, is tied with B.D.J.S. driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., one point behind Tagliani at 98. D&L Racing's Matt Sielsky is fifth with 87 points, while Gidley's teammate Buddy Rice is right behind at 86.
RECENTLY: The Player's-Forsythe tandem of Bentham and Tagliani has taken hold of the championship after nine rounds, winning four of the last five races and dominating in the process. In the last six races, Tagliani has finished third at Milwaukee, second at Montreal, fourth at Cleveland, first at Toronto and Trois-Rivieres, and took the pole at Mid-Ohio. Bentham has been the most consistent racer this year and consequently controls the championship. Bentham has finished in the top five for the last seven races, including victories at Montreal and Mid-Ohio, and podium finishes at Milwaukee, Toronto and Trois-Rivieres. Eight straight top-10 finishes, including last week's third-place at Mid-Ohio, has steadily moved Sielsky into the championship picture. Though Lynx Racing has struggled with switching over to the Swift, Rice scored a second-place at Mid-Ohio, the highest finish by the team since Gidley won Round 4 at Milwaukee. Another team on the rise is Mike Shank Racing and driver Kenny Wilden, of Burlington, Ont. Wilden finished first at Cleveland, third at Toronto, and qualified second at Trois-Rivieres. Anthony Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., and his PPI/MCI Racing team, are ripe for a victory, having knocked on the door to victory several times in the last four races.
TOP ROOKIES: The battle for the KOOL Rookie of the Year has become a three-way fight between Bordin (98 pts.),Sielsky (87) and Rice (86). Bordin's early success and Rice's victory at Nazareth made them the frontrunners most of the season, but Sielsky's consistently strong finishes has added him to the fray.
HISTORY AT ROAD AMERICA: The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced at Road America 14 times, dating back to the series' inaugural 1974 season. The list of previous winners at Mid-Ohio includes the following Atlantic drivers: Tom Klausler (1974), Howdy Holmes (1978), Bob Earl (1979), Bob Earl (1980), Whitney Ganz (1981), John David Briggs (1982), Roberto Moreno (1983), Scott Goodyear (1986), Ted Prappas (1987), Colin Trueman (1988), Claude Bourbonnais (1989), Jimmy Vasser (1990), Patrick Carpentier (1996), Alex Barron (1997).
LAST YEAR AT ROAD AMERICA: Lynx Racing driver Alex Barron won the fourth KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race of his rookie season with a flag-to-flag win in the rain at Road America. Barron qualified third and seized the initiative with a superb standing start on the drenched track to take the lead for good.
ATLANTIC RECORDS AT ROAD AMERICA: Qualifying: Chuck West, Ralt RT-41, August '97 2:03.611 / 117.89mph, World Speed Motorsports Race: Chuck West, Ralt RT-40, August '96 2:06.059 / 114.23 mph, World Speed Motorsports
TELEVISION BROADCASTS: ESPN2 will televise Sunday's Round 10 at Road America on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 2:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Monday, Aug. 24, at 12:30 a.m. and at 4 a.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 4 a.m. ESPN International will telecast the race on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 1 p.m. CTV will air it in Canada on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 4 p.m., while French Canadian network RDS will broadcast the race on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. All times are Eastern.