Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Mike Conte, having qualified 4th and 12th, respectively, for the Player's Grand Prix de Trois RiviÃ¨res, suffered at the hands of fate during the 47-lap race and finished 13th and 19th. Series points leader...
Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Mike Conte, having qualified 4th and 12th, respectively, for the Player's Grand Prix de Trois Rivières, suffered at the hands of fate during the 47-lap race and finished 13th and 19th. Series points leader Buddy Rice, a Lynx Racing graduate now driving for DSTP Motorsports, won the event, and leads the championship with 120 points. Rutledge came to Trois Rivières sixth in the championship battle, and despite the result, leaves still in sixth, with 60 points. Conte came to the race in 8th, and leaves in 11th, with 29 points.
Rutledge ran in third for most of the middle part of the race, but on the re-start after a long yellow flag period, made a daring but ultimately unsuccessful move on the second-place car. Having lost momentum in the attempt, he was passed in quick succession by the two cars behind him, and on the final lap dove too deep into turn four and went down the escape road.
"This was the best car we've had in the last couple of races, and even though we didn't have the result we wanted, we're definitely making progress that will show up later in the season," says Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver BC. "Part of my training with Lynx is how to maintain my focus and get into 'the zone' for the full duration of a race. That's something I was able to achieve at Montreal, I lost it in the final laps here, which is why I wound up going off. It's something I'm still working on with the help of the team, and just like the progress we're making with the car, we're making progress with the driver. I'm expecting the new and improved version of both to show up at the next race at Road America in three weeks."
Mike Conte's 'equivocal weekend,' including crashes in both practice and qualifying on Saturday, continued today - starting even before the green flag when the driver starting alongside spun across the track in front of him, damaging the front wing and flattening the right front tire. The Lynx crew replaced both in a hurried pit stop that nonetheless left Conte two laps when he re-joined the race. He ran strongly until sliding a few inches wide on the exit of a 90-degree left turn and, when his rear tire brushed the plastic sheeting used to cover the tire walls, it grabbed his car like glue and sucked it into the wall.
"It started bad and got worse, but in between I was having a pretty good race," says Conte. "This is the second time the same driver has hit me before the race started or during a yellow flag, so I'll be doing my best to qualify as far away from him as possible in upcoming races. It's funny how the weekend turned out because I actually like this track, and the Lynx team gave me a good car, but hopefully I've used up all my bad luck for the season in the past two days and we can keep it on the road for the final four races."
The next event on the 12-race CART Toyota Atlantic schedule is on the scenic road course at Road America, August 20.
2000 marks the 10th anniversary of Lynx Racing, one of the most unique and successful organizations in auto racing today. Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx is both a championship winning racing team and a uniquely successful driver development program that focuses on a driver's spiritual and psychological growth in addition to their on-track skills. In addition to racing in the Atlantic series, Lynx also sponsors Sara Senske, one of the top female drivers in open-wheel racing today, in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
The Lynx mission is to seek out young drivers with the desire and potential to become champions at the highest levels of the sport and provide them with the funding, equipment and training to take the last step toward realizing that potential, a process the team calls 'destiny by design.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Memo Gidley.