SBRS: Lynx Racing Chicago preview

If this guy could hit home runs the way he wins auto races, he'd be signed with a major league team and making $10 million a year. His passion, though, is speed - anywhere north of 150 mph is where he really comes alive - and...

If this guy could hit home runs the way he wins auto races, he'd be signed with a major league team and making $10 million a year.

His passion, though, is speed - anywhere north of 150 mph is where he really comes alive - and with his latest flag-to-flag victory from the pole in the 6th round of the CART Toyota Atlantic series at the Molson Indy Toronto Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge is hitting .500 and headed for the Target Grand Prix at the Chicago Motor Speedway, July 27 - 29.

Toyota Atlantic is the triple-A baseball of Indy-style auto racing, and with his three dominating victories (all from the pole, including Long Beach, Montreal and Toronto) Rutledge has established himself as a fast-rising young 'phenom' -- and the one most likely to make the jump to the majors (the CART FedEx series) next season. In doing so, he'll be following in the footsteps of Lynx Racing alumni Patrick Carpentier (Player's/ Forsythe) and Memo Gidley (Target Chip Ganassi).

"The transition from farm system to the majors isn't quite as clear-cut in auto racing as in baseball because there are hundreds of ball players and only twenty-five or so champ car drivers -- but this season certainly has a special feel to it," says Rutledge, 23, of Vancouver, B.C. "I'm working to add a win on the Chicago oval to my resume because a team owner looking at hiring a rookie driver likes to see that they can win on all kinds of courses - like being able to hit off both right- and left-handed pitchers - and I've won on both street and road circuits already. There's been some interest, some conversations, and you have to have those, of course. But then you have to put all thoughts of the future away and focus on the moment-by-moment, lap-by-lap business of winning the next race. Chicago is flat-out at a hundred and fifty miles an hour in an Atlantic car, and there's no room for thinking about tomorrow."

Rutledge will be joined at the Target Grand Prix by Lynx Racing teammate Sara Senske, 23, of Kennewick, Washington. Senske competes in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, the college varsity of open-wheel racing. Senske is in her fifth season with Lynx Racing and her second year as a Barber Dodge racer. Her best finish to date is a 6th in the rain on the road course at Lime Rock. She has also competed in the Women's Global GT series, where she recorded a win from the pole at Portland, and earlier this year competed in the 'Pro' division of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"The competition in the Barber Dodge Pro Series is totally fierce, with most of the field typically covered by a second or less in qualifying," says Senske. "I've always had a particular affinity for ovals, so I'm looking for a good finish at Chicago. We'll be just about flat-out around the track, so it comes down to who's brave enough to trim their car out the most aerodynamically, and who can drive the most precise lines through the turn. I've got 'brave' covered, so now I just need a good car and some luck."

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.

On-track activities for both the CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series begin with a test day on Thursday, July 26. The 45-minute BDPS race takes the green flag at 3:15 pm on Saturday, July 28, while the 65-lap Atlantic race is scheduled to start at 12 noon on Sunday, July 29.

The Atlantic race will air on ESPN2 Saturday, August 4 at 5:30 pm EST. The Barber Dodge Pro Series event broadcast on ESPN2 is at 5:30 pm EST, Monday, August 20.

-Lynx Racing

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About this article
Series Atlantic , Other open wheel
Drivers Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , David Rutledge , Chip Ganassi