Hand labors to sixth place finish in Toronto Joey Hand ...
Hand labors to sixth place finish in Toronto
Joey Hand #27 DSTP Motorsports Toyota Swift 014.a
Shortly after exiting yesterday's qualifying session because of a broken drive shaft, the DSTP team discovered that the current engine had problems of its own. Fortunately, the gremlins that plagued Joey Hand on Friday did not return in Saturday's 35-lap Round 7 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race in Toronto as Hand toughed out a sixth place finish on the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit.
After yesterday's problems, Hand stood eighth on the provisional grid heading into Saturday's action and was able to improve his standing to fifth after the morning qualifying session. Even though A.J. Allmendinger had won the pole by almost a second over the field, Hand felt like he might be able to race with Allmendinger and the rest of the Atlantic drivers in the race.
Hand would move up to fourth on the first lap with a solid move in Turn 1, but would give the position up to Jonathan Macri on the following lap on the end of the long Lake Shore straight in Turn 3. Hand settled into the fifth place position with constant pressure from Aaron Justus, who would eventually pass Hand at the half-way point in Turn 3 as well.
A yellow flag on lap 24 would bunch up the field and give Hand a chance to run for the podium. On the restart, several drivers swapped positions ahead of him, but Hand was not able to make a move to improve his position. Although Hand was able to stay with the pack of cars ahead of him, he could not move ahead and settled for a sixth place showing.
A.J. Allmendinger would go on to win the race for his fourth victory of the season. Allmendinger was followed by his teammate, Aaron Justus and Jonathan Macri. The result in Toronto moved Hand back up to seventh in the Championship with 56 points which trails the leader, Allmendinger, by 69 points with five races remaining in the 2003 season.
The Atlantic teams will get their longest break in the schedule since Milwaukee before returning to action again in Canada at the prestigious Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres on August 3rd. The Round 8 Trois-Rivieres race will start a stretch of four races taking place over five weeks.
Hand on Saturday Qualifying:
"Basically, that is all we got. I drove everything out of the car and that is as fast as it was going to go. We'll just try and go racing from fifth. Our biggest problem now is that we are a session behind everybody and have been playing catch up all weekend. We can race from fifth though and we'll try to put on a show this afternoon."
Hand on Saturday Race:
"We started out a little slow. The car was taking awhile coming up on full fuel load, but once we started burning off some fuel, the DSTP car started flying. We had some good times and we're running just as fast as the cars that were ahead of us. We got a yellow flag in the middle of the race and it looked like we would have something for them. I got a good run off of Turn 1 on Ryan (Dalziel) and really the whole pack. I thought I could have passed two cars at once with the run I had, but I just could not get them. They pulled me a little in the draft and I didn't have enough to out brake them in Turn 3. I tucked back in line and running that close, there is a lot of stuff going on with the areo that made the car push. I just tried to hang on and hoped somebody made a mistake because it was too dicey in traffic and I could not make a move."
"I was just riding along for the rest of the race trying to hold onto what I had. I think I would rather crash or DNF than get sixth place, but we needed a finish to get on with it. We are slowly making our way back to the front of the field and hopefully...we'll get there before it is too late."
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.
For further media information, please contact Brian Tate 828-302-9456 or visit http://www.dstpmotorsports.com