Elkhart Lake, WI (August 19, 2000) -- Rookie Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing / 3B Engine Valves / Swift 008.a) will start from the pole position in Sunday's Round 9 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race, part of the Motorola 220, in ...
Elkhart Lake, WI (August 19, 2000) -- Rookie Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing / 3B Engine Valves / Swift 008.a) will start from the pole position in Sunday's Round 9 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race, part of the Motorola 220, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Basso, who broke the track qualifying record Friday with a 2:02.734 (118.735 miles per hour) clocked a 2:02.977 (118.50 miles per hour) to set the fastest time in Saturday's qualifying period. Rookie Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports / Swift 008.a) will start second, after recording a 2:03.249 (118.239 miles per hour) on Saturday, while Bob Perona (Cobb Racing / MediaOne/Swift 008.a) will start third.
"This feels nice because we've worked so hard for it," says Basso. "The car felt pretty good in this session and we were able to make some adjustments for the race. I think the track is a little slower than yesterday and the car pushed a little bit in the carrousel, but we will be ready to go tomorrow---the race should be really good. We're starting on the right side, so I just need to stay out front through the first corner and then work with the draft because it will be the key to the race. If I can get a big lead on the guys I will try, but it will be very difficult if I am running by myself and don't have anyone to draft with."
This is the third time this season that two Atlantic rookies start on the front row. The first was in Round 2 in Miami, when Daniel Wheldon (PPI Motorsports / Jayhard Products / Swift 008.a) and Orsi started first and second respectively, and then in Round 4 in Milwaukee, Wheldon and Basso earned the two top spots.
Orsi, who posted the 10th fastest time in qualifying yesterday was pleased with his team's improvement.
"It was a good session," says Orsi. "We made a lot of changes after yesterday's session. We improved the car. It is much better now especially on the straights. Yesterday, we had too much drag in a straight line. I really need to thank John Della Penna who's been working with us this weekend. He has great experience. It's good to start high on the grid, because recently we were having so many problems. Let's see where I can finish tomorrow!"
Bob Perona shaved another three tenth's of a second off his qualifying time yesterday and will start third in Sunday's race. This is Perona's best ever qualifying position in Atlantic competition.
"I am pretty excited," remarked Perona. "The car has been very good all weekend. I've been driving very well. The whole package is starting to come together. It's taken a while to develop the car, but we've done a lot of testing lately, and we've finally gotten the car to a point where I can show what I can do and do my job. When the car is really good, it's easy to be quick. I am just so happy being third. I think this race is going to be a battle between the top five to eight cars drafting the entire race. It'll be good to be up front but it'll be good to keep the car where it needs to be, save the tires and get yourself in a position to make a run for it at the end."
Current Atlantic points leader, Buddy Rice will start seventh.
"Well, we're definitely starting further back than we had hoped," says Rice. "The car is actually very good; we were just caught out by the draft on a few laps. We'll be in good shape for the race. I was able to get around all of the guys who are starting in front of me during this session, so we're not too worried. Tomorrow's is a long race and we have a great car to go the distance."
Wheldon who is second in the points and leads Basso in the race for Rookie of the Year honors, will start fifth.
Sunday's Atlantic activities begin with a 15-minute warmup at 8:00 a.m. The 17-lap (68.816 mile) race is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. The race will be televised on ESPN2, Saturday, August 26, at 4:00 p.m.
Elkhart Lake, WI -- The starting lineup for Sunday's 17-lap, 68.816 mile CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race number 9, at Road America, with starting position, driver, hometown and fast lap with speed.
<pre> 1. Martin Basso (R), 2:02.734, 118.735 2. Hoover Orsi (R), 2:03.249, 118.239 3. Bob Perona, 2:03.307, 118.183 4. David Rutledge, 2:03.433, 118.062 5. Daniel Wheldon (R), 2:03.656, 117.850 6. Andrew Bordin, 2:03.660, 117.846 7. Buddy Rice, 2:03.712, 117.796 8. Frederic Gosparini (R), 2:03.838, 117.676 9. William Langhorne, 2:03.909, 117.609 10. Andy Lally (R), 2:03.948, 117.572 11. Rocky Moran Jr., 2:03.949, 117.571 12. Akihiro Asai (R), 2:04.374, 117.169 13. T.J. Bell (R), 2:04.681, 116.881 14. Mike Conte, 2:05.535, 116.086 15. Masaoki Nagashima, 2:05.835, 115.809 16. Stephen C. Roy (R), 2:06.632, 115.080 17. Cemal Yelkin (R), 2:06.734, 114.987 18. David Cutler, 2:07.537, 114.263 19. Alex Gurney, 2:08.050, 113.806 20. Christophe Beauvais, 2:08.177, 113.693 21. Eric Jensen, 2:09.388, 112.629 22. Bob Siska, 2:11.518, 110.805