Chardon, Ohio (December 11, 2000) - Dede Rogers, owner of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic championship-winning DSTP Atlantic team, today announced that 1999 Star Formula Mazda championship winner and multi-national karting champion Joey Hand will drive the team's #27 DSTP Atlantic Swift in the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series. Hand, 21, enters his first season of Atlantic competition in what will be DSTP's second year in the series.
"Joey immediately fit right in," said Rogers. "We felt like he was part of the team from the moment he walked in. He has the right attitude and he certainly shares our commitment to success both on and off the track. Once again, we have some high expectations for this Atlantic season and we think Joey is just the one to help take us to another level."
Hand, of Sacramento, California, will relocate to DSTP's base near Cleveland, Ohio, and begin a thorough testing program in preparation for the 2001 Atlantic season. He most recently competed in the four-race Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series in England by virtue of winning this fall's Team USA Shootout.
"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Hand, who was sidelined for most of the 2000 racing season while recovering from injuries sustained during a kart race in November 1999. "I honestly never thought I would be driving for DSTP. I just happened to be by the phone when Jim (Griffith) called to see if I would be interested in testing for them. I knew right away that these were the guys I wanted to be with. Like me, they're into having some fun, but more importantly, we all want to win at any cost. I'm sure there will be some pressure to perform, but I feel comfortable that we'll have a good shot at pulling off some wins and, hopefully, another championship."
"I had actually thought about Joey as a possible driver in another year or two," said Jim Griffith, DSTP's vice president of operations and chief engineer. "But, then I realized he had just beaten some pretty talented drivers in the Team USA Shootout. We invited him to test the Atlantic car and were quickly impressed with his ability, commitment and attitude. At the time, we were evaluating several other drivers and, ultimately, it was a difficult decision to make. We know he has some pretty big shoes to fill, but we think we have a true championship contender in Joey."
Hand is recognized as one of America's leading kart racers. As a factory pilot for Emmick Enterprises, he captured seven National Championships ranging from Junior Piston Port to shifter karts. In addition, he founded a kart racing school in conjunction with Emmick and continues to consult with the kart manufacturer on motor and chassis development. Hand's first taste of full size racecars came in 1996, when he entered two regional Formula Mazda races, and won both from pole position. In 1997, he was selected to attend the Team Green Academy and was awarded with second overall out of 150 candidates.
Hand, along with his father and several friends, started a Formula Mazda team for the 1998 Star Formula Mazda Pro Series, where he finished fourth overall with one win. In 1999, he moved to the Stacy Suspension Systems (S3) team and took both the Star Mazda Series West Division and the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship titles with eight wins and eight poles out of 14 races.
DSTP captured the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic championship with driver Buddy Rice by virtue of five wins, three second-place finishes, two thirds, two pole positions and six fastest race laps in the team's first season of Atlantic competition. In fact, Rice relinquished the championship lead only once since he took over at round two in Homestead, Florida, and led the most laps in seven of the year's 12 races (222 out of 422 completed).
Instrumental to DSTP's success is Griffith, who served as Lynx Racing's Atlantic engineer from 1995 through 1999. His Atlantic record includes three championship titles (1996 and 1997, with Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron at Lynx Racing, plus one with DSTP in 2000), two Engineer-of-the-Year awards (1997 and 1999, Barron and Rice), and one Mechanic-of-the-Year award (1996, Carpentier).
DSTP was formed by Rogers in 1994 and first fielded a team in the Dodge Shelby Pro Series. The team's initial season resulted in several podium finishes and pole positions leading up to second in the rookie championship. The following year, DSTP made the jump to the US F2000 National Championship pro series as well as selected Hooter's Cup Formula 2000 events with driver Memo Gidley. Although leading the Hooter's Cup series, DSTP elected to focus on the US F2000 National Championship, where Gidley went on to capture three wins and three poles on his way to second in the 1995 F2000 series championship, as well as the Rookie-of-the-Year, Oval Crown Champion and Oval Rookie-of-the-Year titles. Rice rejoined DSTP in 2000 after driving for the team in the 1997 U.S. F2000 National Championship, where he finished fourth overall with one win, two poles and five podiums.
Gidley most recently campaigned a portion of this year's CART FedEx Championship with Della Penna Motorsports, after successfully filling in at Player's/Forsythe, Walker Racing and Payton-Coyne Racing the past two years. Another former DSTP F2000 driver, Alex Barron (DSTP - 1996), captured the 1997 Atlantic title in his rookie season with Lynx Racing, then rose to the CART Champ Car ranks, driving in 1998 with Dan Gurney's All American Racers and in selected events in 1999 for Marlboro Team Penske. Barron also competed in a number of Champ Car races in 2000 with the Sports Today Dale Coyne team.
The 12-race 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season begins on April 7 in Long Beach, California, as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach CART FedEx Championship weekend.
Further information is available on the team's web site at www.dstpmotorsports.com as well as the official Atlantic series site at
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