Toronto: Polestar preview

Sciuto Leads Polestar Charge to First Canadian Round of 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship in Toronto Polestar team is reigning victors from last year's Toronto Atlantic race Chardon, Ohio (July 5, 2006) - Seeking to continue his streak ...

Sciuto Leads Polestar Charge to First Canadian Round of 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship in Toronto Polestar team is reigning victors from last year's Toronto Atlantic race

Chardon, Ohio (July 5, 2006) - Seeking to continue his streak of finishing every race higher than where he started, Polestar Racing Group rookie Alan Sciuto (#12 Sealy/PKV Racing/The RoomStore of Phoenix) is leading the team's charge for this weekend's Champ Car Atlantic race at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto. Meanwhile, teammate Alex Barron (#21 The RoomStore of Phoenix) is confident of a strong showing on Toronto's 1.755-mile temporary street course, having won the pole position in 1997's Toronto Atlantic race.

"We seem to do better in the races as each weekend progresses," said Sciuto, who has moved up an average of 5.8 positions in every race this season. "It's great that we're able to move up during the race, but we've been a bit off of the pace in qualifying. The other guys have been able to roll off the trailer and be quick right away, where it's taken us a couple of sessions to get up to speed. I think Toronto will be better for us. Polestar won here last year and we've found a good combination that seems to work well on street courses."

"We've had a bit of homework to do since Cleveland," said Barron, who won the 1997 Atlantic Championship title. "We're a little behind, but Toronto should be a good track for us. We have a good idea of what works on street courses so we should be able to be a little quicker right from the first session. Toronto is such a great town to race in. The fans are some of the best, it's a fun place and I'm looking forward to having a good weekend."

Last year in Toronto, Polestar won the Atlantic race with rookie driver Antoine Bessette. He started third and charged to the front while teammate Katherine Legge started and finished sixth in her Toronto Atlantic debut. Including Bessette's 2005 victory, Polestar has three podium finishes in Toronto. In 2004, Ronnie Bremer took home third place as did Jonathan Macri in 2003. Polestar co-owner Jim Griffith also engineered Barron to his 1997 sixth-place finish, as well as Buddy Rice to second-place in 2000's Toronto Atlantic race.

Barron, of Menifee, Calif., is the only Atlantic series champion in the field this weekend. He captured the 1997 Atlantic Championship title with five wins, four poles, six fastest race laps and the Rookie-of-the-Year crown. Since then, he competed in the Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League from 1998 to 2005 with such teams as Cheever Racing, All American Racers and Team Penske. Barron finished 28th in 1998's Toronto Champ Car race in his rookie Champ Car season with Dan Gurney's All American Racers team. He also has moved up and average of 3.4 positions in every race he has finished this year.

Orange, California - native Sciuto, 18, was recognized as North America's top shifter kart racer in 2004 before competing in three Atlantic races last year. He finished fourth in his series debut on the challenging San Jose street course, then the following week in Denver led both rounds of qualifying to capture his first career Atlantic pole position and establish himself as the youngest-ever Atlantic pole winner at just 17 years of age. He is currently sixth overall and the fourth highest rookie in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic season standings.

Polestar co-owners Jim Griffith, Pam Griffith and Bruce Potter are all experienced Atlantic veterans, having been instrumental to the Atlantic championship-winning efforts of Barron, Patrick Carpentier (1996) and Rice (2000).

For 2006, the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, now in it's 33rd year, features an all-new made-in-the-USA Atlantic Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine. All competitors are vying for an unprecedented $2 million bonus designed for the series champion to use in securing a full-time Champ Car ride in 2007.

This weekend's race is scheduled to begin Sunday, July 9 at 10:00 AM local, and will be via SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 16 at 3:00 PM ET. The race will also air to U.S. service men and women in over 130 countries around the world through the American Forces Radio & Television Service.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Jonathan Macri , Alex Barron , Dan Gurney , Katherine Legge , Buddy Rice , Ronnie Bremer , Antoine Bessette , Alan Sciuto
Teams Team Penske