Toronto qualifying report

TORONTO (July 14, 2001) -- Under overcast skies and cooler temperatures, David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) held on to his pole and track record that he claimed during yesterday's first qualifying session. At the start of the Saturday morning ...

TORONTO (July 14, 2001) -- Under overcast skies and cooler temperatures, David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) held on to his pole and track record that he claimed during yesterday's first qualifying session.

At the start of the Saturday morning session, the ambient temperature was 70 degrees, much cooler than what the Atlantic teams qualified under yesterday afternoon. Multiplying the cooler conditions was a steady wind blowing down the front straight with overcast skies. As a result from the change in weather from yesterday, times were much slower throughout the field this morning leaving the top six positions unchanged.

Rutledge earned his fourth career pole along with a new track record of 1:06.419 seconds (95.123 mph) beating the existing mark set by Andrew Bordin last year at 1:06.871 seconds (94.480 mph). With the pole, Rutledge earned the critical bonus point bringing his total to 73 points, 1 point behind Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift). Orsi will line up second for the fourth time this season with yesterday's time of 1:06.633 seconds (94.818 mph). Rutledge has continued on to win the race every time he has won the pole. He completed the feat two years in a row at Montreal in 2000 and 2001 and again this year at the season opening race in Long Beach, California.

"We were expecting to have to fight to keep the pole this morning, but it turned out that, between the cooler temperature and the rubber laid down by the CASCAR last night and this morning, the track was much slower," said Vancouver's David Rutledge.

Orsi found the track different this morning also. "I think we improved the car a little bit but the track was kind of weird. I was thinking it would be quicker because it was cooler, but there was not a lot of grip, so I was struggling a little bit."

Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift) was fastest during the morning session with a time of 1:06.957 seconds (94.359 mph) turned on his final lap of qualifying. However, Basso will line up fourth for the start of today's race with a time of 1:06.878 seconds (94.471 mph) set yesterday. Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift) held onto the third spot with a time of 1:06.849 seconds (94.512 mph).

The third row remained the same as well with Tony Ave (P-1 Racing/Miller Genuine Draft Swift) starting fifth with T.J. Bell (Cobb Racing Swift) lining up sixth. Bell continues his strong showing after his first career podium in Cleveland with his best starting position in Atlantic competition.

Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing/Copart Auto Auctions Italian Motors Swift) moved up from his provisional 13th starting spot to 7th with a time of 1:07.393 seconds (93.749 mph). Valiante finished fourth in his first career Atlantic race at Long Beach following it up with a runner-up finish at Montreal.

The session was red flagged one time due to the spin of Frank Dancs (Condor Motorsports/Ariba Swift). Dancs spun early in the session at the exit of turn 11 and made light contact with the wall. Although the damage was not severe, it was enough to put Dancs out of the remainder of the session putting him 15th on the starting grid.

Round 6 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship gets under way at 3:15 p.m. this afternoon.

ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Saturday's Round 6 race from Toronto on Sunday, July 22, at 10:00 a.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet Live! ESPN2 will replay the race on Thursday, August 2, at 4:00 a.m. ET. CTV repeat dates are: EAST, Tuesday, July 17, 2:00 p.m., ONTARIO, Friday, July 20, 2:00 p.m., PACIFIC, Sunday, July 15, 5:00 p.m., and WEST, Tuesday July 24, 3:00 p.m. ESPN2 will replay the race on Thursday, August 2, at 4:00 a.m. ET.

-Atlantic

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Martin Basso , Tony Ave , Hoover Orsi , Michael Valiante , David Rutledge , Joey Hand , T.J. Bell , Frank Dancs , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing