Change of country, change of fortune. That is what Joey Hand is hoping for this weekend when the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship makes its first visit to Canada at the Molson Indy Toronto. Burdened by poor results, some from luck and some ...
Change of country, change of fortune. That is what Joey Hand is hoping for this weekend when the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship makes its first visit to Canada at the Molson Indy Toronto. Burdened by poor results, some from luck and some self-inflicted, the DSTP Motorsports team hopes to change the course during the second half of the 12-race season which starts this weekend.
During the first six races of the 2003 season, Hand has started in the front two rows four times, but only once was Hand able to cash in the track position for a podium finish which came in Portland three weeks ago. A broken gearbox in Monterrey, Mexico, a first lap accident at Laguna Seca, and last weeks wheel fiasco in Cleveland, have led to sub-par finishes that have put Hand far behind in the 2003 Championship hunt.
The sad reality may be that the chance for the 2003 Championship may have already been squandered with the pace that RuSport's A.J. Allmendinger has set. Hand knows it is going to take multiple wins and no more bad finishes to even have a shot at Allmendinger.
"Hopefully, we can get this first half of the season behind us," said Hand. "Except for the podium at Portland, it just has not turned out how we thought it would going into the season. We are looking forward to just going after some wins at all cost, even though we don't know what the Championship holds for us. We'll see what happens, but I guess the goal now is to just get up as far as we can in the Championship rankings."
DSTP Motorsports has had good results on Toronto's 1.755-mile temporary street course in the past; including Buddy Rice's 2000 runner-up finish along with Hand's fifth place showing the following year. Hand has had his most success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship on temporary street circuits including his two wins that came in Houston and Vancouver in 2001. Incidentally, both circuits were Hand's first visits to those tracks showing the skill and talent that the Sacramento, California driver processes.
"I like a couple of the races that we are coming up to including the street race in Toronto," said Hand, who missed racing there last year due to injuries. "I didn't have a real good showing in 2001, but I like the style of the track. We did some testing after Long Beach that improved our street setup greatly, so I think we should be in pretty good shape."
It is another run and gun weekend for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship with only one practice session and two qualifying sessions before Saturday afternoon's 35-lap race slated for a 4:00 p.m. EST start. Speed Channel will carry the Canadian kick-off race LIVE on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST. After a two week break, the Championship returns to Canada again for the historic Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres on August 3rd.
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.