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Richardson looking forward to breaking in Montreal
By Doyle Pontenteau
The Daily Courier - Kelowna

For the first time this season, Mike Richardson will be on even footing.

A rookie driver in the highly competitive Barber Dodge series, the Kelowna resident has been fighting an uphill battle in competing against experienced veterans. This weekend, Montreal will provide a level-racing surface.

Quebec's largest city, and Canada's second overall, is hosting its first Molson Idy race this weekend.

And, along with the CART FedEx series, Barber Dodge will be in Montreal to tackle the infamous Gilles Villeneuve circuit, a twisty, 2.709-mile permanent road course more known for hosting an annual Formula One race.

A circuit, where open-wheel Champ style cars have never been before, could benefit Richardson and his Prestige Inn and Resorts Dodge.

"(Montreal's) atmosphere and the challenge of a new circuit will build excitement for the weekend," said Richardson. "I think this weekend will be a good test of all the cars, as there's not much data on the track for these cars.

"There's some date like minimum and maximum corner speeds, but each driver is going to have to figure it out on his own and work towards a good car set-up as well.

"There's going to be lots to learn and react to (in the beginning). The track is pretty challenging, as there's two hairpins and three chicanes. That's a lot more than normal. By Monday, I should be an expert at taking those," he added laughingly.

"So when we add in all the variables, there should be some great racing."

Richardson has missed the last two races, including Road America at Elkhart Lake, WI., last weekend because of a family function in Saskatchewan. At Molson Indy in Vancouver on July 28, which features only one chicane, Richardson place 12th.

Friday in Montreal, Richardson had his hands full. In the first of two qualifying sessions, the 34-year-old placed 22nd out of 23 with a time of one minute and 47.938 seconds. A slow engine and soft brakes were why he finished six seconds slower than provisional pole winner 20-year-old Dan Di Leo of Markham, ON. (1:41.525)

On Saturday, Richardson's pit crew worked out most of his car's bugs, resulting in a four-second gain and being broadcast live on RDS at 8:15am.
"(Friday) was a pretty rough day," said Richardson, who only put in five laps during the first qualifying session. "The car was down on power, and it proved to be a waste of a day. (Saturday) proved much better. The car was back to normal working conditions and qualifying went well. It just goes to show how poor the car was.

"But because of what happened Friday, I was still pushed back some because I didn't get in as many laps as I would have liked too. Still, I feel pretty confident for (today's) race.