Dodge Neon Charity Challenge Race No. 1 - Lime Rock

The PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki season-opener was held Saturday, May 27, 2000 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. A large field of 39 Dodge Neon competitors, 17 in SSB (coupe) and 22 in SSC (sedan) produced a clean race with...

The PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki season-opener was held Saturday, May 27, 2000 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. A large field of 39 Dodge Neon competitors, 17 in SSB (coupe) and 22 in SSC (sedan) produced a clean race with rookie Toby Grahovec, Palos Park, Ill. taking not only his first Neon Challenge victory, but also his first professional win. "I'm excited to have my first victory in the Neon Challenge," said Grahovec. "It was a good race with lots of good battles going on. I kept looking for an opportunity to get around (Dominic) Cimino. I finally got around him coming down the hill. He broke or had something go wrong and I benefited from it." Toby, a 21-year-old college student, is a second-generation racer, following in his father's footsteps. His Dad raced in SCCA World Challenge in 1996 and 1997 before moving to Trans-Am in 1998. "I used to go to the races, work on the cars and I knew all the World Challenge guys. They've really helped me out since I started racing. I also want to thank my sponsor, Bettenhausen Dodge, relatives of the Indy Car Bettenhausen family for their support," added Grahovec. "We're pleased to see newcomer, Toby Grahovec take the lead in today's race," said Bill Tracy, Senior Manager Dodge Motorsports. "Having young Toby win today shows the Dodge Neon program is renewing itself after seven years. The race showed a combination of veterans and newcomers, including rookies. We're pleased to have probably the top prize money payout of the weekend. The winners receive $9,000 in each race in each class. Our PPG Neon Charity Challenge Presented by Yazaki prize fund and contingency fund is due to sponsors like PPG, Yazaki and Recaro. It's another example of premier grassroots leadership in motorsports. Professional Sports Car Racing, our sanctioning body this year, is doing a commendable job with the leadership." Finishing order of Race One at Lime Rock after winner Toby Grahovec (SSB) was Mark Hansen (SSB) second overall and in class; Bill Bartlett (SSB), third overall and third in class; Sam Ryan (SSC), fourth overall and first in class; Larry DuLude (SSC), fifth overall and second in class; and Joel Lipperini (SSC), sixth overall and third in class. "Bill Bartlett and I had a good fight going," said second place finisher Mark Hansen. "He got me at the start with a good move. Then I had to wait for lapped traffic. I got a run on him and passed at Turn One with no contact. Toby gave me a few opportunities towards the end but I couldn't take them. Dom (Cimino) had some problems, which was unfortunate for him, but fortunate for us. All the C class guys did a good job of not getting mixed up." Hansen, from Kennesaw, Georgia, just moved up to SSB class this weekend after competing with the coupe last season. Bill Bartlett, 1996 Lime Rock SSC winner, was pleased with today's results. "Every car I came on today, I had a good battle. I wish I could have gotten a good run to race with Toby. It's good to see the new people come in and win. It was a good race." Sam Ryan, SSC class winner, was a first-time winner in the Neon series. "Timing worked out perfect for me. I thought I was going to finish second in class and was trying to keep Joel (Lipperini) behind me. We had about two laps to go and up at Big Bend a C car passed Larry and they bumped a little, I had four wheels off in the dirt and took advantage of it. It was a good, clean race." Last year's SSC winner, Larry DuLude, had a tough job defending his championship today. "It was a good race. At the beginning I got in front of Bill (Bartlett) and we got a little separated from the rest of the SSC cars. Sam was back there all the time. After I had to let him by, I gave him a little bump. I thought I could hold Sam off, but I had contact." Joel Lipperini was a newcomer to the Neon podium and a rookie challenger. "I've seen these guys race for many years and I just feel real good to get out there today and be competitive against them. It was a great race."

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Series Charity
Drivers Joel Lipperini , Larry DuLude , Toby Grahovec , Sam Ryan