Monterey, Calif. (October 18, 2001) -- The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship concluded its 2001 Season with the annual awards banquet held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, California, and was emceed by Atlantic Series Announcer, Greg ...
Monterey, Calif. (October 18, 2001) -- The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship concluded its 2001 Season with the annual awards banquet held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, California, and was emceed by Atlantic Series Announcer, Greg Creamer. 2001 Champion, Hoover Orsi and the Hylton Motorsports team were among those honored as the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship closed out its 28th season.
Championship Auto Racing Teams President and CEO, Joseph Heitzler and CART Toyota Atlantic Championship President and CEO, Vicki O'Connor opened up the evenings ceremonies. Also in attendance and on stage were representatives from series sponsors: Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., TRD, WorldCom, and Yokohama Tire.
The award recipients included:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: To Joey Hand of DSTP Motorsports in recognition of the rookie scoring the most series championship points as a CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series rookie. The award was presented by Atlantic Director of Operations, Harry Lofgren, and included a $5,000 cash bonus.
GILLES VILLENEUVE AWARD: To David Rutledge of Lynx Racing, sponsored by Championship Racing Magazine and including a $500 cash bonus. The award was instituted in 1989 by Atlantic Champion, Steve Shelton. The award is presented to the driver who possesses extraordinary ability and has that special star quality and who has distinguished himself through sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance in the face of disappointment. Writer and Forum Host of Championship Racing Magazine, Jim Murphy, presented the award.
WORLDCOM FAST PACE AWARD: To David Rutledge of Lynx Racing in recognition of the driver with the highest number of WorldCom Fast Pace Awards for the fastest race laps at each race during the season. The award was presented by WorldCom Sports Marketing Senior Manager, Angela Ferragamo. Rutledge gathered three WorldCom Fast Pace Awards at Long Beach, Trois-Rivieres, and Vancouver.
LINCOLN ELECTRIC MECHANIC OF THE YEAR: To Don Hutchings of Michael Shank Racing, honoring the driver's most important ally during a race weekend, his mechanic. This award includes a Lincoln Electric Square Wave TG-175 Welding Package and was presented by Atlantic Technical Administrator, Dale Hammons.
TEAM OWNER OF THE YEAR: To Bill Fickling and Robin Yount of P-1 Racing, in recognition of the team owner whose interest and efforts have benefited their drivers and the series as much as their individual team. The award was presented by Atlantic Technical Administrator, Joe Griffin. At the conclusion of the 2001 season, P-1 Racing completed their 20th year in the series.
BBS RISING STAR: To Jonathan Macri of P-1 Racing, presented by BBS of America Motorsports Manager, Bill Baker. The award honors an Atlantic driver who has performed in a most competitive fashion and is a star of the future. The award includes at $3500 cash bonus.
MICHAEL ROSEN MEMORIAL TROPHY: To Martin Basso of Michael Shank Racing, presented by Atlantic Chief Steward, John Bornholdt. This award was instituted by Arlene Rosen, a long-time patron of the Atlantic Series, and named in honor of her late son, Michael. The award recognizes dedication and perseverance, as well as the desire to succeed.
TRD ENGINE BUILDER OF THE YEAR: To Paul Hasselgren, presented by the President of TRD, USA Inc. / Vice-President Toyota Motorsports, Jim Aust, recognizing the engine-builder that scored the most championship points.
ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: To Kyle Brannon of Hylton Motorsports. With the advent of technology and the sophistication of car setup, the driver's engineer has become one of the secret ingredients to a successful season. The award was presented by Atlantic Chief Technical Administrator, Greg Schick.
SNAP-ON/CAM TOP WRENCH AWARD: To Larry Von Edscorn of Hylton Motorsports to honor the Crew Chief of the 2001 Atlantic Champion. This award includes a Snap-On toolbox and a $2500 gift certificate. The award was presented by Atlantic Technical and Competition Director, Don Preston.
PPG COLOR AND DESGIN AWARD: To Michael Shank Racing and Rodolfo Lavin's #11 Corona Swift. The $2500 award goes to the Toyota Atlantic team whose race car is judged by fans as the winner of the PPG Color and Design Award. The award was presented by Atlantic Technical Administrator, Barbara Moewes.
JOVY MARCELO SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: To Tony Ave of P-1 Racing. Named in honor of one of Atlantic's finest champions, a young man from the Philippines, a true sportsman, family man and racer. This award is given to the driver whose sportsmanship exemplifies this past champion. The award was presented by Jovy Marcelo's father, Eddie Marcelo.
TOP-10 DRIVERS: Competitors finishing in the top 10 in the final championship points were honored, with Grant Ryley of Worldspeed Motorsports placing 10th, Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing in 9th, Rocky Moran Jr. of Cobb Racing finishing 8th, Rodolfo Lavin of Michael Shank Racing placing 7th, Tony Ave of P-1 Racing finishing 6th, Jonathan Macri of P-1 Racing in 5th, Martin Basso of Michael Shank Racing placing 4th, Joey Hand of DSTP Motorsports finishing 3rd and earning a $10,000 bonus, David Rutledge of Lynx Racing in 2nd, earning a $15,000 bonus, and the 2001 Series Champion, Hoover Orsi of Hylton Motorsports. Orsi's awards included the $25,000 Driver's Championship bonus, the use of a new Toyota for one year and a painting by Jim Swintal, commissioned by Toyota Motor Sales USA. The painting highlights Orsi's exciting last lap duel with Joey Hand on a rain soaked track in Cleveland.
Positions tenth through fourth were presented by Atlantic Communications Supervisor/Promotions Manager, Anne Roy. National Motorsports Manager Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., Les Unger and CART President and CEO, Joseph Heitzler presented the trophies and checks to third place, second place, and the 2001 Series Champion.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and a key rung on CART's "ladder system". It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic Series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani as well as former series champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jacques Villeneuve.