TENDING THE GARDEN Even when the fruit of your dreams is so close you can almost taste it, you have to spend time tending the garden. Which is what rising CART Toyota Atlantic stars David Rutledge and Michael Valiante (both ...
TENDING THE GARDEN
Even when the fruit of your dreams is so close you can almost taste it, you have to spend time tending the garden. Which is what rising CART Toyota Atlantic stars David Rutledge and Michael Valiante (both Vancouver natives) will be doing this weekend in the parking lot of the Abbottsford Tradex Center 45 minutes southeast of Vancouver this weekend.
Rutledge, who won from the pole in the CART Toyota Atlantic race at last weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and Valiante, who finished fourth in his first-ever Atlantic race, will be working hands-on at the April 13 - 15 meeting of the Westwood Karting Club.
Rutledge will work as both mechanic and race engineer for his brothers Kris, 16, and Sean 11. Kris is coming back after a broken arm that failed to heal properly kept him from racing for two years, while Sean is in his first season of competition. Kris runs in the 100cc Intercontinental class, while Sean competes in the 80cc Junior 1 two-cycle class. Practice begins on Friday, with two heat races and the main event scheduled for 3:00 - 5:00 pm on Sunday.
"Both Kris and Sean are terrific drivers who have a real passion for the sport," says Rutledge, who drives the #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a. "Racing can be very rewarding, but in the early stages, the help and support of your family is very important. My entire family helped me get where I am today, and now it's not only my duty, but also my privilege to return the favor. I'd love nothing more than for all of us to be in the same race someday."
Michael Valiante's family business, Italian Motors, is a distributor of ITALKART racing karts, and he will be attending the event to provide tech support, race setup help and driver coaching to customers, including Kris and Sean Rutledge.
"Karting is where every top driver in the sport today got started, and the next generation of CART and F1 drivers are competing all over the world at races like the one this weekend," says Valiante, who will drive the #95 Lynx Racing/Italian Motors Swift 008.a in six races this season. "Not only is it a part of the family business to support events like these, but helping young drivers is something I like to do. You never really know a subject until you teach it, and even though I'm racing in a top professional series like Atlantic now, I still learn something every time I go to a race, whether it's karts or CART."
Rutledge and Valiante, both former karting champions, drive for Lynx Racing in the CART Toyota Atlantic series. 2001 marks the 11th anniversary of Lynx Racing, one of the most unique organizations in auto racing today. Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx is both a championship-winning racing team and a uniquely successful driver development program that focuses on a driver's mental, psychological and spiritual growth in addition to their on-track skills.