(submitted to Atlantic communications for distribution to Atlantic interests) For Immediate Release STEVE KNAPP BATTLES BACK AT ROAD AMERICA Contact: Scott Gates (612) 670-7268 (612) 332-6331 ELKHART LAKE, ...
(submitted to Atlantic communications for distribution to Atlantic interests)
For Immediate Release
STEVE KNAPP BATTLES BACK AT ROAD AMERICA
Contact: Scott Gates (612) 670-7268 (612) 332-6331
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin, (August 18, 1997) -- Proving that persistence and perseverance do have their just rewards, KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Series rookie Steve Knapp beat the odds and the elements, scoring his long overdue first podium finish of the season at this weekend's waterlogged Road America round of the 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.
After spending most of Thursday's series test day at or near the top of the unofficial time charts Knapp suffered a big shunt in turn one near the end of the day. "My cousin Tom Knapp [team owner of Greg Ray's Indy Racing League team] came on board at Mid-Ohio, and is again providing technical and engineering help to us this weekend. Tom and the whole team made excellent progress throughout the day and we had the car working well." commented Knapp. "Unfortunately, when I came to turn one it had started sprinkling and exiting the corner the car got out from under me. As I was heading backwards down the track I put on the brakes and it shot me into the tire barriers, pretty much erasing the left side of the car. In fact the last time I saw my left rear wheel it was working on a quick lap of its own heading for turn three."
Undaunted, the team performed a late night rebuild and had the car ready to go for Friday's morning practice. "All of Bill Fickling's P-1 team need to be commended." said an appreciative Knapp. "Dave, Chad, Tim, cousin Tom and even Scott and Tony from Kenny's [Knapp's P-1 team mate - Kenny Wilden] crew all pitched in and did a great job working into the night to get the car back together for me." Knapp showed his confidence in the team's efforts, again quick from the start in Friday morning's practice. Qualifying his Miller Milling Company/Manheim Auctions/ICG Telecom Ralt RT-41 in 7th position, Knapp, the 1996 United States Formula Ford 2000 Pro Series National Champion, remarked; "Although we've struggled throughout the season, the team, along with cousin Tom's support, has the car the best it's been all year. With consistently some of the quickest split times, the car's hooked up through the corners but we're still working on our lack of straight-line speed. As always, getting a clear lap without traffic is really key here. On my second quick lap I came up on a group of slower cars and then had the black flag come out. With the close level of competition in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Series today, even the smallest of disadvantages make a huge difference. We're going to keep at it and see if we can't find a bit more in the car for the race."
In typical Road America fashion Sunday dawned under threatening skies. As race time approached a light rain began falling as teams scrambled to put wet set-ups on the cars. After a single, soggy reconnaissance lap the field came around for the traditional standing start. Taking advantage of his experience in both the wet and at Road America, Knapp moved up to 4th on the start and a lap later passed Anthony Lazarro for third.
As the rain continued to fall, Knapp, of nearby Salem, Wisconsin dodged not only rain drops but off and on full-course yellows to earn his career best KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Series finish, placing third in the P-1 Racing - Miller Milling Company/Manheim Auctions/ICG Telecom Ralt RT-41.
The obviously pleased Knapp remarked; "Being kind of my 'home track' I've got a lot of my family and friends here cheering me on. My good friend and team owner John Miller and his family came down to root for me this weekend as well, so it's really great to get my first podium finish in front of all the people who have supported and believed in me. Actually, with the track conditions and the wet set-up we had on the car, the normal dry line was working pretty well for me so I was using it just about everywhere. Anthony [Lazarro] had a little too much wheel-spin and I was able to get by him early in the race."
"The team worked hard this weekend and I really have to thank them - they deserve this as much or more than I do" continued Knapp. "We've struggled all season, dealing with just about every imaginable situation. We've been run into, run over, chased mechanical problems from a stripped trunion to broken motor mounts and I've contributed to the late nights with a couple pretty big shunts as well. Through all the ups and downs the team has never given up."
"Having my cousin Tom helping out these past two races has been a great asset. Although my guy's are one of the hardest working and most dedicated crews out there, Tom has been able to give us the additional direction and focus to start taking full advantage of all the assets this team has to offer. Although I wish I could have done better for them here, last week's 5th place at Mid-Ohio and my first podium finish here at Road America represents great progress for us."
Road America's scenic 4.048-mile / 6.513-km, 14 turn permanent road course is round 10 of the 12-race KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship, sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing. Now in its 24th season, the $1.38 million 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship is the richest, longest-running open-wheel development series in North America, and a primary training ground for future Indy car and Formula One drivers.
From Road America the team heads to the Vancouver, August 29th - 31st, 1997 followed by the season finale at the scenic and challenging Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California September 5th - 7th, 1997.
MILLER BROTHERS RACING NOTES:
MILLER MILLING COMPANY, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with mills in Winchester, Virginia and Fresno, California, is one of the largest US. millers of durum wheat for the pasta industry. With an aggressive expansion program in Mexico, Canada and the United States, Miller Milling is fast becoming one of the dominant companies in North America's grain industry.
MANHEIM AUCTIONS, is a division of COX Enterprises of Atlanta, Georgia. With 63 locations, Manheim is North America's largest auto auction company, handling over 5 million vehicles in 1996. In addition to Steve Knapp, Manheim also sponsors the Miller Brothers Racing entries of John C. Miller and former World Cycling Champion and Tour de France winner Greg LeMond in the United States Formula Ford 2000 Pro Series and Larry Hedrick's Kodiak NASCAR Winston Cup team with driver Steve Grissom.
ICG TELECOM GROUP, INC.; headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ICG Communications, Inc., is a leading competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), with clustered, regional networks in California, Colorado, and the Ohio Valley, including the Louisville, Kentucky market. ICG also operates fiber-optic, local telephone and data networks in Texas and the Southeast, including Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee. ICG's mission is to become the dominant, state-wide CLEC in markets served by bringing the benefits of advanced communications technology and world-class services to local telephone markets previously served by a single operator.
ESPN2 -- Sat. Aug. 23 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET CTV -- Sat. Aug. 30 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET RDS -- Fri. Aug. 22 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. ET