With the schedule of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship heading toward the home stretch, Joey Hand and the DSTP Motorsports team will now turn their focus to winning races. With Championship point's leader, A.J. Allmendinger, ahead of...
With the schedule of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship heading toward the home stretch, Joey Hand and the DSTP Motorsports team will now turn their focus to winning races. With Championship point's leader, A.J. Allmendinger, ahead of Hand in the chase by 69 points with five races remaining, Hand's only chance is to win as many races as he can and hope for some help to get in the fight for the 2003 title.
After winning in Trois-Rivieres three years ago with 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion, Buddy Rice, DSTP Motorsports has struggled to return to the podium at the prestigious event. However, Hand ran well here last year in his first race back from the injuries that side tracked his 2002 season. After holding the provisional pole in much of qualifying last year in Trois-Rivieres, Hand surrendered the prize after a mechanical failure put him out of the session during the critical final minutes of qualifying.
For the most part, the team has struggled to put together the results they were expecting this year, but feel like they have made some improvements since the last race three weeks ago in Toronto and should be a contender this weekend.
"Actually, I'm pretty excited about this weekend even though we have been struggling a little bit this year," said the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year, Joey Hand. "Even when we have been finishing races, we have not done that well; but I think we have figured that problem out. We have come up with some new, cool things these past two weeks to make the car faster."
The 2003 Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres will mark the 28th time the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship has participated in the historic event. Tom Klausler, who won the inaugural Atlantic event in 1974, has been joined on the winners list by names like Villeneuve, Moreno, Andretti, Till, Empringham, Carpentier, and Tagliani. Hand likes the track as well as his chances to add his name to the list of great drivers that have won in Trois-Rivieres.
"Trois-Rivieres is more of a setup track than straight-line speed," commented Hand. "We were pretty good last year and nearly had the pole before an oil filter broke, so I know we can run fast there. I like the place. It is what I would call a cowboy track which fits my style. It is very tight and very rough and you really have to hustle the car. We are looking forward to getting back on track. The whole team is determined to win races this year. None of us like losing too much which is fueling our drive to get back on top."
The Atlantic race in Trois-Rivieres is the only time during the season that the Atlantic drivers are one of the head-line events and get to be the stars of the show. With this comes a coveted Sunday afternoon start time of 1:00 p.m. EST. Speed Channel will carry the historic Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres on Sunday LIVE at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Following Trois-Rivieres, it is a quick turnaround back to the United States for next week's race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Atlantic Championship will make its return to the 2.258-mile permanent road course for the first time since 1999.
Through DSTP Motorsports, Dede Rogers has established herself as a true believer in promoting talented young American drivers into professional racing. Formed in 1994, DSTP first campaigned a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series before moving into the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 1995. Such notable drivers as Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Jerry Nadeau competed in cars fielded by DSTP before Buddy Rice swept to the Atlantic title during DSTP Motorsports first season in the series in 2000.