Trois Rivieres, Quebec, CAN. (July 30, 2000) - If there's any such thing as a perfect game in racing, then Buddy Rice and the Chardon, Ohio-based DSTP Atlantic pitched a no-hitter this weekend at the Grand Prix Player's de Trois Rivieres. Rice...
Trois Rivieres, Quebec, CAN. (July 30, 2000) - If there's any such thing as a perfect game in racing, then Buddy Rice and the Chardon, Ohio-based DSTP Atlantic pitched a no-hitter this weekend at the Grand Prix Player's de Trois Rivieres. Rice and the team started from pole position, led the most laps and set the fastest lap of the race en route to victory in today's eighth round of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship through the streets of Trois Rivieres. The win was the fourth of the season for Rice, who also extended his lead in the drivers' championship by virtue of today's victory.
"We really wanted to have a perfect weekend and it doesn't get any better than this," said Rice, who has finished second or higher in every race he has completed this year. "Andrew (Bordin) had a good start and was able to hold the inside going into the arch. I didn't want to get caught on the outside with (Dan) Wheldon and (David) Rutledge right behind, so I tucked in behind Andrew. We also lost first gear, but it really didn't slow us down much. Our car seemed to be better on the longer runs, so I was able to start reeling in Andrew after several laps. With the exception of Andrew's problem with a lapped car, it was a pretty clean race. The main goal for us was to build on the championship, and we were able to do just that this weekend. It's going to be a close race all year."
At the start of the 45-lap race, Bordin jumped into the lead from his second-place starting spot, followed by Rice, Wheldon, Rutledge and Alex Gurney. Bordin opened-up a six second lead until Rice began to close in. Bordin then contacted the lapped car of Cemal Yelkin on lap 13, and subsequently went two laps down while in the pits to replace the front wing assembly. Rice took the lead until the checkered flag for the remaining 32 laps, set a new race lap record of 1:01.197 and finished 4.033 seconds ahead of Wheldon and Gurney.
"This is just incredible," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "We knew that winning here was going to be tough, but this team came through and delivered another solid performance. Everyone did such a terrific job and it is truly a thrill to win in front of such an enthusiastic crowd. We're certainly in this to win the championship and it looks like the next four races are going to be very close."
Rice now leads Wheldon in the championship standings by 17 points (120 - 103), followed by Bordin with 91. Out of eight races this year, Rice has four wins, two second-place finishes, two DNFs (resulting from contact from other competitors while leading or in second position), six podiums, two poles and four fastest race laps. He is the only repeat winner in Atlantic competition this year and has led more race laps than any other competitor (207 out of 282 completed).
The race will be televised via espn2 on Saturday, August 12, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT), with an encore presentation on Tuesday, August 15, at 5:00 a.m. (EDT). Round nine of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic season takes place on August 20 at the Motorola 220, CART FedEx Championship weekend at Elkhart Lake's Road America, just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.