INDIANAPOLIS (July 15, 2002) - Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first three-time winner of the year in the Toyota Atlantic Championship while Davy Cook scored his maiden victory in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in CART Driver Development Series action...
INDIANAPOLIS (July 15, 2002) - Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first three-time winner of the year in the Toyota Atlantic Championship while Davy Cook scored his maiden victory in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in CART Driver Development Series action over the weekend from Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport.
Hunter-Reay, driving in his rookie season with Hylton Motorsports, secured the pole position on Saturday and led from start to finish during the 32-lap Sunday morning race. He was unchallenged the entire race, including a Lap 7 restart following a aerobatic accident involving Alex Figge, Roger Yasukawa and Sepp Koster.
Dorricott Racing's Jon Fogarty and Luis Diaz, finishing second and third respectively, made their way to the podium with Hunter-Reay. Point leader Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing finished fourth. While Hunter-Reay won by 7.015 seconds, the trio of Fogarty, Diaz and Valiante were separated by only 0.6 seconds as the checkered flag waved. Rocky Moran Jr. of Sigma Autosport rounded out the top five.
"I had one of the best cars I have ever driven out there today," said Hunter-Reay, a graduate of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, where he was Rookie of the Year in 2000 and captured two victories. "It was a dream race as a driver because I had a solid lead without anyone breathing down my neck. However, it's never easy. Once I had the gap developed, I had to really take care of my car and just manage the pace."
"We are now second in the Championship and easily within reach of the lead," continued Hunter-Reay. "I am looking forward to our next race at Trois Rivieres."
Cook, now in his second season in the Pro Series, started the Saturday afternoon race on the pole but lost the lead on the start to third place starter Josh Beaulieu. After an initial lap caution for a stranded Atticus Missner, Beaulieu and Cook pulled away from the rest of the field. Cook would gain the lead on Lap 7 and hold it until the end.
2001 Formula Dodge National Champion Julio Campos, recovering from three straight DNFs, moved into second place and was tracking down Cook when a late race caution came out, causing the race to end under yellow. Marc Breuers, Friday's provisional pole sitter, continued to finish strong with a third place. Point leader AJ Allmendinger, who started fourth before falling back to tenth due to an off track excursion, battled back to finish just behind the top three in fourth position. 2001 Pro Series Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico came home in fifth place.
"This is the greatest day of my life, without a doubt," commented the 20-year old from Tallahassee, Fla. "The car was perfect again and the Barber Dodge crew guys did a great job getting my car ready.
"The competition is so tight in this series, and you have to have a perfect weekend to get a win, and fortunately, that happened here," continued Cook. "I am looking forward to getting to Vancouver now that I know I can do it. I need to get some more wins to break into AJ's (Allmendinger) points lead."