SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Aug. 10, 2000) - Dorricott Racing and the Dayton Indy Lights Championship return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after a five year absence with Dorricott drivers Casey Mears, Townsend Bell, and Jason Bright all in the...
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Aug. 10, 2000) - Dorricott Racing and the Dayton Indy Lights Championship return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after a five year absence with Dorricott drivers Casey Mears, Townsend Bell, and Jason Bright all in the thick of a championship battle. The only certainty for any of them is that the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship is far from decided, making this weekend's seventh round of the 12-race series all the more important.
The 34 lap/76.772 mile Indy Lights race around Mid-Ohio's 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. ET, Sunday, August 13. This will be the 10th overall Dayton Indy Lights appearance at Mid-Ohio and it is the featured support event for the CART FedEx Championship Series Miller Lite 200 later that day.
Bell and Mears are tied for third place and only 18 points behind series leader Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, 77-59. Bright also hovers in striking range in fifth place with 57 points.
Bell, of Costa Mesa, Calif., is arguably the hottest driver in Indy Lights with three top-four finishes and one pole in the last three Indy Lights races. He has consistently displayed racer's savvy on ovals and road courses as evidenced by second place finishes at Portland and Chicago, and fourth place at Michigan. His pole position at Portland proved he can qualify an Indy Lights car with the best.
Meanwhile, Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., is coming off a second place showing at Michigan Speedway in round five and a misleading 10th place at Chicago in round six. Mears started on the outside pole at Chicago and was in a near perfect position to make a race-winning move with nine laps remaining when Chris Menninga attempted an ill-timed outside pass of Mears. Menninga only accomplished bringing his left rear tire down onto Mears' right front tire sending both cars into the outside wall. Mears was uninjured but relegated to 10th place in the finishing order. Menninga was transported to a nearby local hospital where he was examined and released.
Bright, of Gold Coast, Australia, is making his second competitive appearance at Mid-Ohio. He previously raced at Mid-Ohio in 1996 in Formula Ford competition. The biggest question looming for Bright is how well he has recuperated from a severe crash at Chicago Motor Speedway less than two weeks ago.
Bright, who captured his first career Indy Lights victory at Portland, was forced to miss the Chicago race due to injuries suffered in a Friday practice session accident that also required him to spend that night at Chicago's Loyola University Hospital. He did not participate in a team test day at Putnam Park (Indianapolis) earlier this week and spent the greater portion of the last seven days in Indianapolis receiving treatment and therapy for muscle injuries in his lower back.
Bright has qualified well all year and Mid-Ohio would not likely be an exception. Besides starting fifth at Michigan in his first career superspeedway race, he opened his Indy Lights campaign by starting third at Long Beach, second at Milwaukee and Portland, and fifth at Detroit. Bright has already proven to be fast at Mid-Ohio where he was second fastest earlier this year in series-organized practice days.
This will be the third Indy Lights related visit for Dorricott Racing at Mid-Ohio. Dorricott Racing fielded an Indy Lights entry in 1991 and 1994 with driver Bob Dorricott Jr. Mid-Ohio, however, is far from foreign for team owner Bob Dorricott. Dorricott has also personally raced at Mid-Ohio in Sports 2000.
"I am very pleased that Indy Lights is finally returning to the beautiful Mid Ohio Sports Car Course after a five year absence," said Dorricott. "I have always enjoyed the opportunity of racing at this challenging road course both as an Indy Lights team owner and as a Sports 2000 team driver."
ESPN2 will provide a same day telecast of the Mid-Ohio Indy Lights race Sunday, August 13, from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET (8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT). A re-airing of the original telecast is scheduled on ESPN2 early Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 4:00 a.m. ET (1:00 a.m. PT).