MARK HOTCHKIS CONTINUES WITH MATTCO Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; May 11, 1998: Mark Hotchkis will continue to drive the Mattco Raceworks No. 78 Alco Capital Group/Nassi Group Lola in Indy Lights competition until regular driver Chris...
MARK HOTCHKIS CONTINUES WITH MATTCO
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; May 11, 1998: Mark Hotchkis will continue to drive the Mattco Raceworks No. 78 Alco Capital Group/Nassi Group Lola in Indy Lights competition until regular driver Chris Simmons returns to the cockpit. Simmons continues to recupe rate from neck injuries sustained in a testing accident at Nazareth Speedway on April 18.
Hotchkis, 29, of Pasadena, Calif., made his debut with Mattco Raceworks at the rain-delayed Nazareth event on April 27. He started 19th and finished 9th, netting the Dayton Tires Move to the Front Award for advancing the most positions in the race. Mark is a three-year Indy Lights veteran, and was Simmons' teammate at Team KOOL Green in 1997. He has one Indy Lights victory, at The Milwaukee Mile in 1996, which he won from the pole.
"Certainly, it's better for Mark Hotchkis to be driving a car than walking around pit lane," said Hotchkis, who had not raced since November of 1997, "and I have to thank Matt (Cohen) for the opportunity. It's a great situation for me. I'm able to retu rn to a series in a car that I know very well and I have good hopes for at least the next two races, or however long they need me. I've run well at both Gateway and Milwaukee in the past, and I feel very comfortable with the team. I was extremely impressed with how hard they worked at Nazareth. If they work that hard all year, they're certainly going to succeed in Indy Lights in the near future."
"We are very fortunate to have someone with Mark's experience and talent," said team owner Matt Cohen, "who is available to help out for as long as we need him. It's not easy to come off the bench and step into a new program, but Mark did a great job at Nazareth and fits in very well with the rest of the team. He's the perfect person for the job until Chris returns. Chris is doing well and we hope he's back with the team very soon."
Simmons, who turned 25 on May 1, is scheduled to return to doctors near his hometown of East Granby, Conn., on May 19. Doctors plan to take x-rays at that time in order to determine the prognosis for Chris's recovery, based upon whether he will require surgery to repair ligament damage in his neck.
The next three races (rounds four through six) on the 14-race PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship schedule are Gateway International Raceway (St. Louis), May 23; The Milwaukee Mile, May 31; and The Raceway on Belle Isle (Detroit), June 7.
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