Dalziel Captures Crucial Vancouver Victory VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (July 25, 2004) -- Scotland's Ryan Dalziel ( ...
Dalziel Captures Crucial Vancouver Victory
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (July 25, 2004) -- Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) has had some big race victories in his career, but perhaps none were more crucial than Sunday's wire-to-wire win at the Molson Indy Vancouver Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama event (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, August 7 - 12 p.m. ET).
Starting from the pole position, Dalziel avoided some trouble behind him on the opening lap of the race and survived some early pressure from series point leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment). Once he withstood the early storm, Dalziel began to gather steam. He pulled away from Fogarty as the laps ticked away and he actually established a new Atlantic course record on his second-to-last lap of the race, en route to his third win of the season and fifth of his career.
The points earned for the win, as well as a bonus point for the fastest lap of the race, enabled Dalziel to close the gap on Fogarty in the chase for the series championship. After one of his worst results of the season two weeks ago in Toronto, the 22-year-old Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver now trails Fogarty, the 2002 series champion, by 13 points with four races remaining on the season calendar.
"It was huge," said Dalziel of the victory. "Another bad result or mechanical problem and a win by (Fogarty) and (the championship race) would be over."
Fogarty was second in the running order and rookie Ronnie Bremer had an impressive run to third place. The Danish freshman recorded his third podium result of the season and his second consecutive third-place finish for Polestar Racing Group. Bremer also takes command of the season-long BG Products Rookie of the Year race with the result.
Another come-from-behind performance was turned in by second-year driver Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company). Patrick was involved in the Turn 1 incident that claimed the cars of Patrick's teammate Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) and fellow rookie Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group). Patrick's machine, which started sixth, suffered heavy damage to both the front and rear suspension in the crash, as well as a cut right rear tire, but she stormed back after dropping back in the field. The Rahal-Letterman Racing runner charged to a fourth-place finish to score valuable points. She remains third in the season championship hunt, 14 points behind Dalziel and 27 in back of Fogarty.
Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) finished fifth for his best result since winning Round 2 in Monterrey, Mexico. Montreal's Philip Fayer (#3 PaySystems) was the top finishing Canadian driver in the field as he brought home his career-best Atlantic result in sixth place.
Completing a tough weekend in his home country, speedy rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) wound up seventh overall. The talented teen from Roxton Pond, Quebec was slightly injured when his car crashed early in Friday qualifying. He bounced back to qualify fifth on Saturday and he led the morning warm-up today, but he also became entangled in the Turn 1 crash and was forced to the pits early on as his team frantically changed the left-front suspension. After falling behind by a lap, Ranger valiantly charged through the field and posted some blistering laps late to bring home his sixth top-10 effort of the year.
Three Canadian drivers occupied the 8-10 spots in the order. Ontario's Eric Jensen (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) equaled his career-best result of eighth, while Victoria, B.C.'s Dr. Chris Souliotis (#2 Trident/Speedway/Spinnakers) was ninth in his Toyota Atlantic debut. Veteran Cam Binder (#65 Avmax/Western Avionics) of Calgary completed the top 10 in the series' only C2 class entry of the weekend.
American Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) started third on the day but fought mechanical problems all race and eventually was forced to retire after 16 laps due to a broken oil line.
The Toyota Atlantic series returns to the track for Round 9 of the championship in two weeks, August 6-8 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Follow all of the action of the top open-wheel development series in North America at www.toyotaatlantic.com.
ATLANTIC RACE NOTES
* Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) became the 35th driver in the 31st season of the Toyota Atlantic Championship to record five career series victories. Mark Dismore is the all-time leader in series wins with 15.
* Dalziel's victory shattered two Atlantic course records. His win came in 45:08.874, breaking the old mark for the fastest race, established in 2001 when Joey Hand won in 47:51.305. The Scot's fastest race lap of 1:08.974 (92.957 mph) also topped the old mark of 1:09.897 (91.729 mph), also set in 2001, by David Rutledge.
* Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) recorded her seventh top-five result in eight races this season, as she continues to lead the series in top fives. For her career, Patrick has finished in the top five in 12 of her 20 Atlantic starts.
Quotes from the top three qualifiers from Friday, as well as Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger, follow:
RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks) "On the whole, it's been a perfect weekend for our team. We probably had our worst race in 18 months together at Toronto. The team's spirits were down for a couple of days then we came in here pumped up again. It's been an awesome weekend and this is a great venue and great fans. It was huge. Another bad result or mechanical and a win by (Fogarty) and it's over. It was kind of a make-or-break weekend for us. If we can continue to finish in front of him, it can go down to the wire. The car was getting better as the race progressed, but we kept something in reserve. Lapped traffic was pretty good this weekend. It has been a problem, but this is probably the best we have had. One thing I am reminded by my team is to race the track and not the other cars (when out front with a big lead). Just put my head down and drive."
JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) "The start for Ryan and myself was pretty good. He got a good jump and I slotted in behind him, in front of Sellers. We got away clean. My car was real good on cold tires. I had a possible opportunity to get by him, but it would have been sketchy, so I decided to slot behind him. I was able to draft him and stay with him. Then he pulled away (as the tires warmed up). Late in the race, I started to match his times again and I felt good about that."
RONNIE BREMER (#4 PaySystems) "I had a fairly good start. (Bryan) Sellers braked hard and I had to move left to avoid him. I braked and got hit from behind, I think by (Andrew) Ranger. This circuit was not so good at first, but it got better and better. I was catching Sellers, then he had what sounded like a gear box problem. He pulled over and I went by. I got a lot of help from (sponsors) PaySystems and Healthcare this weekend and from my team, Polester (to be able to race). (He's now seven points ahead of Ranger for Rookie of the Year.) As a rookie, it's always good to do well. I need to be in the top three in the championship as well (he's fourth). The goal, of course, is to win the championship, but you have to be realistic. The way (Fogarty and Dalziel) are running, and top three is important."
ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) "I think (Alex) Figge punched me in the back and I bumped Bremer. It broke the left (front) suspension. I went straight to the pits and my mechanic changed the suspension, but I was one lap down. This was bad, because I think this car was very fast. I think I could have gotten a podium. I pushed hard the whole race; I had a great car. It is bad; these things are not my fault."