SBRS: Lynx rockets in the sun at Homestead

Miami, Fl (March 20, 2000) -- There'll be rockets aplenty this weekend in the Sunshine State…as Lynx Racing participates in the CART Toyota Atlantic Support Race at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at ...

Miami, Fl (March 20, 2000) -- There'll be rockets aplenty this weekend in the Sunshine State…as Lynx Racing participates in the CART Toyota Atlantic Support Race at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 25 - 26 Homestead-Miami Speedway: rockets piloted by clean-cut young men and women who look like they might have stepped out of a recruiting poster for astronauts.

The CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series support races at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami on March 25 - 26 are the training ground for auto racing's heroes of tomorrow. And the most unique organization participating in both events is Lynx Racing, now in its 10th year as the only championship-winning racing team/driver development program owned by women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty.

What makes the Lynx program so unique is that drivers are chosen specifically for a combination of championship potential and lack of money or family connections. They are awarded a multi-year 'Road Scholarship' that includes funding, the best equipment and training that includes all phases of racecraft, as well as meditation and visualization techniques. The success of the Lynx program speaks for itself with two championships in the last four years and three drivers -- Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley -- graduating to the ranks of CART.

Both the CART Toyota Atlantic and Barber Dodge Pro Series are 'development' series where drivers hone their skills before moving up to Champ Cars. Barber Dodge is like college baseball, with drivers moving up to Atlantic. Atlantic is like triple-A baseball where drivers move directly up to 'the majors' -- the CART FedEx series. This weekend marks the Atlantic series first visit to Homestead since 1997, a race in which then-rookie Lynx driver Memo Gidley qualified on the front row and finished second in one of the closest and most-hard fought duels in series history.

While the CART FedEx series cars will run on the full 1.5-mile Homestead oval this weekend, both the Atlantic and Barber Dodge races will be run on the 'roval' in which they take the green flag at the start/finish line, run flat out through turns one and two of the oval, then drop down into an infield road course section before exiting back up onto the oval.

Lynx Racing drivers competing at Homestead this weekend include CART Toyota Atlantic teammates David Rutledge, 21, of Vancouver, B.C. -- a three-year Atlantic veteran starting his first season as a Lynx driver and likely candidate to win this year's championship -- and Mike Conte, 31 of Seattle, Washington, also a third-year Atlantic driver who scored eight top-10 finishes with the team last year and is a software designer who helped create Windows 95 and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Conte also carries sponsorship from TRAXX Indoor Kart Racing, a nationwide network of indoor karting facilities currently under development.

"To have the Atlantic season open with a double-header on a track that's part oval and part road course places teriffic pressure on teams to do well and come away with as many points as possible," says Rutledge. "Fortunately, we tested extremely well here earlier in the year and we're going into both this weekend and this season with a high level of confidence."

Adds Conte, "To set a car up so that it handles on both an oval and road course is a considerable challenge. The oval portion is the most important in terms of speed and passing opportunities, but you have to be able to get through the road course section fast enough to carry speed onto the oval. If you do well here, you've really accomplished something."

Driving in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race will be one of the top female drivers in auto racing today, Sara Senske 21, of Kennewick, Washington. The Barber Dodge season began last weekend at the Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring, where Senske got tangled up in a first-lap melee and soldiered on with a badly-wounded car to finish 23rd.

"The first race was a real eye-opener because the talent pool runs very deep and you're battling tooth and nail for every position," says Senske. "On the other hand, I definitely felt right at home, and I'm really looking forward to the season. I've been running the Star Mazda series the past two years and they have a completely different schedule, so Homestead will the first time I get to run in front of the whole Lynx team and owners Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. Needless to say, I'll be putting my fastest foot forward."

<pre> Event Schedule

Friday, March 24 12:50 pm to 1:30 pm Atlantic Single-Car Qualifying For Race #1 5:15 pm to 5:45 pm Barber Dodge Qualifying

Saturday, March 25 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm Atlantic Single Car Qualifying For Race #2 3:45 pm to 4:30 pm Barber Dodge Race 4:45 pm to 5:45 pm Atlantic Race #1

Sunday, March 25 11:00 am to 12 noon Atlantic Race #2

Television Schedule Atlantic Race #1 ESPN2 / Saturday, April 1 / 3 - 4 pm (ET) CTV SportsNet / Monday, April 10 /8 pm (local) Atlantic Race #2 ESPN2 / Saturday, April 8 / 5:30 - 6:30 pm (ET) CTV SportsNet / Monday, April 17 / 7pm (local) Barber Dodge Pro Series Race ESPN2 / Tuesday, April 18 / 6 - 7 pm (ET)

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