Driver Spotlight on Buddy Rice

Driver Spotlight on Buddy Rice DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 24, 2002) -- From go-karts to wake boards to open wheel racing, driver Buddy Rice keeps very busy. If these activities were not enough, he has added the challenge of sports car racing.

Driver Spotlight on Buddy Rice

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 24, 2002) -- From go-karts to wake boards to open wheel racing, driver Buddy Rice keeps very busy. If these activities were not enough, he has added the challenge of sports car racing. After testing and racing in the Six Hours of The Glen during the 2000 season with Miracle Motorsports, Rice has returned this year in the team's #6 Ford Riley & Scott with an impressive showing. At the Nextel 250 in Miami last March Rice, along with team owner John Macaluso, drove the #6 Ford to a fourth-place finish. The following month Rice gave Miracle Motorsports its best Rolex Sports Car Series start, beginning the race on the outside pole at the UnitedAuto 200 in Phoenix.

THE BASICS
Series: Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series
Class: Sport Racing Prototype
Team: Miracle Motorsports
Car: #6 Ford Riley & Scott
Date of Birth: October 31, 1976
Hometown: Phoenix
Birthplace: Phoenix
Spouse: Single

RACING HIGHLIGHTS

* Won 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic championship with five wins, 10 podiums and two poles

* Became first driver in CART Toyota Atlantic history to start from the pole in his first race (1998 Long Beach)

* Gave Miracle Motorsports its best Rolex Series start (second) at 2002 UnitedAuto 200

IN HIS WORDS...

When did you begin racing?
Twelve years ago.

When did you know that you wanted to pursue racing professionally?
I started go-karting when I was 12, and about the time I was 15 or 16 I knew I wanted to pursue professional racing.

What are some of the differences between open wheel racing and sports car racing?
With sports car racing you have to think about a lot more stuff. All the stuff I have done with open wheel, up until this point, has all been sprint races, so there is not a whole lot of strategy. All you want to do is get to the front and try to stay up there. When you're dealing with sports cars you have a lot of other stuff to think about. You have to save the car a little bit. It's a lot heavier car, and with switching drivers and slower cars around there are a lot of differences in the way you attack the race and the way you go about your driving game. They're showing more and more that you have to run flat out all of the time, but at the same time you have to be a little bit more cautious because of the slower cars, and you have to run for such a long period of time.

How did you become involved with Miracle Motorsports?
I happened to be testing at a facility they were at in 2000 when I was driving Atlantics, and I did some testing for them right there. After that I did one race for them. Then the rest of my schedule was too booked up to do anything. I got a phone call at the beginning part of this year for their Daytona stuff, and they asked if I would do testing for them at Daytona and then try to see if we could do something for the rest of the year if it all worked out. So it all kind of just came together.

What is your favorite racetrack?
Between Montreal and Laguna.

What advice would you give a young racer?
Get as much seat time as you can. That is what it is going to take. Even when I am not racing with the Rolex Series, I am still go-karting all of the time and always out there keeping my skills up and staying sharp. Just keep getting seat time so you don't lose that eye-hand coordination.

What is your most memorable racing moment?
When I won the Atlantic race in 2000 at Long Beach.

What do you find most exciting about racing?
The adrenalin rush of the speed and what it takes to conquer a track, to beat everybody else. For you to win you have to have everything there. You have to be 100 percent perfect, with no mistakes.

What goals have you set for yourself?
No matter what I do I give it 100 percent, and I feel like I have done everything I can to be the best that I can be or to do the best that I can. I feel that I have accomplished that. My main goal is to make it to either CART or IRL.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
My dad - treat people the way you want to be treated.

What hobbies do you have outside of racing?
I do a lot of mountain biking, BMX, snowboarding, wake boarding, and stuff like that.

Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life?
My family - my mom and dad in specific.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Thanks for all of the support, all of the letters and all of the stuff I have received. I am still pressing forward to keep driving and get to my final goal, which is CART or IRL. So I will keep pushing for it, and I will hopefully be around for a while.

Additional information about the Rolex Sports Car Series can be found online at www.grand-am.com. The Rolex Series will travel next to Watkins Glen International for the 6 Hours of The Glen, part of the Sports Car Grand Prix, June 21-23. Tickets are currently on sale for the event at www.theglen.com or by calling 607-535-2481.

-grand am-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers John Macaluso , Buddy Rice