Fogarty Outlasts Ranger in Toronto Atlantic Showdown TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 11, 2004) -- Things came pretty easy to Jon Fogarty ( ...
Fogarty Outlasts Ranger in Toronto Atlantic Showdown
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 11, 2004) -- Things came pretty easy to Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) for most of the weekend here in Toronto, but Sunday's 35-lap Toyota Atlantic Championship race was hard work for the 2002 series champion.
After capturing the provisional and final pole positions without much of a sweat over the first two days of racing at Exhibition Place, site of this weekend's Molson Indy Toronto, Fogarty faced constant pressure from Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) throughout Round 7 of the series championship. The 17-year-old Quebec native spent most of the race positioned right behind Fogarty's back wing, but the veteran was able to hold off the young hardcharger to win the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Toronto presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, July 17 -- 11 a.m. ET) in the series' closest finish of the season.
Ranger started in fourth position but moved up to third after passing Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) on Lap 1. After an incident involving Jonathan Bomarito (#8 Dixien/Omnisource) and Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) caused an early yellow flag, Ranger got a great jump on the restart and zoomed past fellow rookie Ronnie Bremer (#4 PaySystems) into second place on the fourth circuit around the 1.755-mile street course.
While Fogarty tried desperately to shake Ranger, the Canadian seemed to draw energy from the vocal crowd that tried to will their countryman to his first Atlantic win.
Ranger was never farther than a car length behind the series leader, but Fogarty was able to get the key separation in the early sections of the course and he held on for his sixth career victory, winning by just .358 seconds over the fast freshman. The win was the fourth this season by the 29-year-old California native and, after earning bonus points for the fastest lap of the race and leading the event, Fogarty now holds a 19-point advantage in the series championship chase. He leads his closest pursuer, Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks), 184-165 through seven complete rounds of competition.
Ranger equaled his best Atlantic finish of second and he produced his fourth podium finish of the year. He also reclaims the lead in the ultra-competitive BG Products Rookie of the Year race and moved up to fourth overall in the series standings with 146 points.
Bremer is just one point behind Ranger in both the rookie and overall season standings after claiming his second podium result of the season in third place.
Rahal-Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) earned a fourth-place finish for her sixth top-five effort of the year. The 22-year-old Patrick remains third in the overall standings with 162 points, just 22 behind the leader Fogarty.
Despite falling off the pace early, Sellers rebounded to finish fifth and he now has five top-five efforts in the first seven events of the season.
After winning wire-to-wire in Cleveland one week ago, Dalziel struggled to find a good setup all weekend, but he held on to his sixth-place starting position and finished in the same order.
For the second consecutive week Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports) brought home a seventh-place result. Rookie Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) was eighth while Canadian Philip Fayer (#3 PaySystems) equaled his career-best finish in ninth.
Ontario native Eric Jensen (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) finished 10th while Bomarito and Hunt were forced to retire due to their early-race accident. Neither driver was injured.
After completing a stretch of four races in five weeks, the Toyota Atlantic series will enjoy a rare weekend off next week and will return to action with its second of three Canadian events, July 23-25, with Round 8 of 12 at the Molson Indy Vancouver.
Follow all of the action of the top open-wheel development series in North America on the Internet at www.toyotaatlantic.com.
ATLANTIC RACE NOTES
* With Jon Fogarty edging Andrew Ranger by .358 seconds in today's race, it marked the closest Toyota Atlantic finish since last season's Milwaukee race when Ryan Dalziel beat Kyle Krisiloff at the wire by .339 seconds.
* Andrew Ranger's second-place effort extended the streak for Canadian drivers on the podium in Toronto. Dating back to 1991, a Canadian has finished among the top three drivers in this race each of the last 13 years that the series has competed in Toronto.
* With Fogarty's win, either an American or a Canadian has won the Toronto Atlantic race in each of the 14 years that series has raced here. For the record, the Americans and Canadians have each won seven times.
* Argent Mortgage Company, the presenting sponsor of today's race, will donate $2,000 to the Molson Indy Toronto's Festival Foundation in Jon Fogarty's name for posting the fastest lap of today's race. Fogarty recorded a top lap of 1:06.966 (94.346 mph) on lap 24. The Argent "Fast Lap" program will present similar donations to the driver with the top race lap time at upcoming Toyota Atlantic events in Road America, Denver and Laguna Seca Raceway this season.
Quotes from the top three finishers in today's race:
RONNIE BREMER (#4 PaySystems): "The race started out pretty good because I got second (place) heading into the first corner. The beginning was okay, but then Ranger put a lot of pressure on and I was struggling big time with the car and I couldn't get it the way I wanted it. Ranger put a move on me, he tried on the first run and didn't quite succeed. On the restart (after the first yellow flag) I made a mistake and he got a better run at me and there was nothing I could do at that point. The team did a good job this weekend but we didn't quite get the right setup we wanted. I just kept pressing hard and at one phase I started to catch up (to Ranger and Fogarty) a little bit, but then I think I used my tires too much and I had to back off again, because I got a little too close to the wall a couple of times. I'm fairly happy, I'm on the podium and got some good points for the championship."
ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye): "I started fourth and I had a great start. I pushed a lot at the beginning. I passed Bremer and I was pretty confident that I could do well at this track. I like this track and I won here last year (in the Fran-Am series) and I wanted to win this year but Jon won. All weekend I pushed pretty hard and I'm pretty happy. The team gave me a great car and I tried to put pressure on Jon but he finished first. For me it's great to come to Canada and finish on the podium. To come here to Toronto with all my family and all my sponsors, it's been crazy. It's been a lot of pressure but I like this pressure. When I go to the next race in Vancouver, the whole family is going to be there and there will be a lot of pressure for me there too."
JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports): "I knew that Andrew was going to have a lot of motivation with this being a Canadian race and I just knew he was going to be on it. At the same time, I know I had a win stolen away from me here in '02 (when he started on pole and led five laps before becoming involved in a crash that ended his day) which gave me a lot of motivation to run up front. We both had our mind set on winning. I was able to start up front and had maybe Andrew started up front I certainly think it would've been very difficult to overtake him. We had a good car, it was good from the time we rolled it off the trailer, I think the other guys were able to make some gains on us throughout the weekend. It was a good race, for sure, I was quick where I needed to be on the race track, which wouldn't allow Andrew to get close which gave me a little bit of comfort going into the overtaking zones. All in all a great weekend for us. We got the maximum points so I'm very happy. (On the pinched nerve in his neck that he suffered during qualifying on Saturday) This morning it was real stiff but I went over to the guys at Champ Car medical and they hooked me up and it feels fine. After the warmup, after I got a little heat in my muscles I was real loose."