Lynx Racing today announced that Sara Senske, 21, of Kennewick, Washington will graduate to the Barber Dodge Pro Series for the 2000 season. She will be competing for the series' prestigious and lucrative "Rookie of the Year" award ...
Lynx Racing today announced that Sara Senske, 21, of Kennewick, Washington will graduate to the Barber Dodge Pro Series for the 2000 season. She will be competing for the series' prestigious and lucrative "Rookie of the Year" award driving a Reynard 98E painted in Lynx Racing's distinctive aqua/black/ yellow paint scheme and adorned with the team's traditional number #19. She is currently participating in the Pro Series 'Spring Training' at Sebring on February 21 - 22, and will compete in the first of the season's 12 races, also at Sebring (a support race for the Superflow 12 Hours of Sebring Presented by Dodge), on March 18. "Moving up into the Barber Dodge Pro Series presents both a challenge and an opportunity," says Senske. "I'll be going wheel to wheel with some of the best young drivers in the world, so it certainly isn't going to be easy. But to succeed against drivers of this caliber would be a huge step forward toward my goal of competing in the CART FedEx Championship. A lot of people, including my family and Lynx Racing have worked hard and invested a lot of time, effort and money to give me this chance, and I'm going to focus 110% on making the most of it." The Barber Dodge Pro series, now in it's 15th year, is the college baseball of auto racing, a training ground for future stars to move up to the CART Toyota Atlantic or Indy Lights series. Barber Dodge competitors drive Reynard 98E race cars, powered by 265 hp, 3.2 liter, all-aluminum Dodge Intrepid V-6 engines. All cars are identically prepared and are owned and maintained by the series. Alumni include 1999 Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack and CART FedEx champion Juan Montoya. Eight of this season's 12 races will be held in conjunction with CART FedEx events, and Pro Series races are broadcast in the U.S. by ESPN2 and around the world by ESPN International, Sky TV and Eurosport. The series annually awards more than $1 million in prize money, scholarships and contingencies, including the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award to the series champion and a $175,000 season of racing to the Rookie of the Year. "We're very happy with Sara's growth as both a driver and a person in the three years since she signed with Lynx Racing," says team co-owner Peggy Haas. "She's everything we want in a driver -- a winner who is mentally and physically strong, focused, articulate, and supremely self-confident… yet is a well-rounded, well-grounded human being with a sense of humor and a hunger to learn. She'll go far in racing and in life, and Lynx Racing is happy to help her get there." After signing with Lynx Racing in 1997, Senske ran the final six Mazda races of the season -- and won the pole in her first-ever oval track race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. She had her first full season of Star Mazda in 1998, scoring four top-5 and six top-10 finishes during the 13 race season, and finishing 8th in the championship points battle. In 1999, she ran a total of 20 races in both the Star Mazda and Women's Global GT sports car series. She finished 6th in the Mazda series, and 4th in the WGGT series, completing every lap of every race in both series. She won the Portland round of the WGGT from the pole, led every lap and set the fastest lap of the race on her way to a 27-sec. margin of victory over the second-place finisher. In the 20 races, she scored one win, one pole, three fastest race laps, three podiums as well as six top-5 and six top-10 finishes.
The off-season months have been a whirlwind of activity for Senske during which she tested Lynx Racing's 008.a Atlantic car, tested with the Barber Dodge Pro Series as they developed their updated mechanical package for the 2000 season and attended the Women's Sports Foundation Banquet in Washington D.C. She was also the subject of a major feature story in USA Today in part due to being one of the drivers selected by CART's Women's Driver Development Program, a project spearheaded by Indy 500 driver Lyn St. James and supported by Toyota. As a result, Senske was afforded the opportunity to test yet another Atlantic car, this one belonging to Lynx rival PPI Motorsports. PPI won the Atlantic championship in 1999 with Anthony Lazarro, who has since graduated to NASCAR's Busch series. The testing took place at the Buttonwillow track near Bakersfield, California on February 15 - 16, and included drivers Jenny Sheehy and Juliana Chiovitti. Senske got a total of about fifty laps over two days before her portion of the test was interrupted by rain, but she did get down to a time of 59.6-sec around the 1.41-mile 'East Loop' at the Buttonwillow test track 135 miles north of Los Angeles. "I'm sure I could have found another half second or more if I had the chance to run the full number of laps, but I'm still happy with my performance," said Senske. "The PPI team was very professional and helpful, and I felt very comfortable in the car. I came away from the test with some good experience and a sense of some skills I need to fine-tune in my next couple of test days at the Barber Dodge Spring Training."
Lynx Racing driver Mike Conte will be sporting a new sponsor on his #17 Swift 008.a during the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic season -- TRAXX, a company that is in the process of developing a nationwide chain of indoor karting facilities similar to those in Europe. The first location is in Seattle, and four more are planned by mid-year. "Interest in karting is at an all-time high, and not just among racing drivers. Everybody seems to enjoy the thrill of a little wheel-to-wheel competition, and more and corporations are using it as a backdrop for a team building event or product launch." says Conte. "But kart tracks around the country are still mostly independent operations that have widely varying levels of equipment and maintenance -- and many are outdoors so you take your chances with the weather. TRAXX will provide a year-around opportunity for anyone to participate in a unique, safe, competitive adventure." More information about Traxx is at www.traxxracing.com.
Satoshi Mori, a former sushi chef and longtime member of the Lynx Racing team who worked on the championship-winning cars of Patrick Carpentier (1996) and Alex Barron (1997), has achieve his goal of becoming a professional helicopter pilot. He recently passed the Helicopter Instrument Pilot Exam (both flight test and oral exam), and is currently working on his Commercial Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, and Certified Instrument Flight Instructor licenses. "It was very hard training and a massive amount of studying with big mental challenges, but it's really rare to pass these exams on the first try and I did, so I must be doing good," says Mori. "This is a really big step toward my goal of becoming a full-time professional helicopter pilot, and I have to thank the team for accommodating me in every way possible while I'm taking the training. Lynx Racing always helps anyone who wants to improve themselves and move into something new and challenging, and even though realizing my dream means I won't be able to work for the team any more, I'll always be their biggest fan."