Precision Preparation, Inc. Announces 1998 Atlantic Driver
10 February 1998
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., (February 9, 1998) - Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) announced today it signed Anthony Lazzaro of Acworth, Ga. as its driver in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. PPI will campaign Lazzaro in an MCI-sponsored entry using a 1998 Swift 008.A chassis with Yokohama tires powered by Toyota. Additionally, PPI will be announcing a second driver and sponsorship in the near future. PPI entered Atlantic competition in 1997 to establish an in-house development program for drivers and team members. The PPI/MCI Toyota Atlantic Team scored three top-five finishes, ranking ninth in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. The series, now in its 25th year, is the longest-running open-wheel development series in North America with 12 races in the United States and Canada on ovals, street and road courses. PPI, started by Cal Wells III in 1979, specializes in building winning off-road racing trucks. PPI has won 23 off-road championships and now features a work force of more than 130 employees at its facilities in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. Wells expanded his winning team and company into other racing venues, partnering with veteran CART team owner Frank Arciero Sr. in 1995 to form Arciero-Wells. In 1998, the team will campaign driver Max Papis in the MCI-sponsored entry and Hiro Matsushita in a Panasonic Duskin-sponsored entry. Robby Gordon will also drive for Arciero-Wells as a test and engine development driver and consultant. The drivers will use a 1998 Reynard chassis with Firestone Tires powered by Toyota. PPI will continue its off-road racing division with Ivan "Ironman" Stewart at the wheel of a V8-powered Toyota truck in the Trophy Truck Class of the SCORE Off-Road Series. "I am thrilled with the driver we brought on board for the MCI Atlantic Racing Team," said Wells. "Anthony is an extremely talented individual and I'm excited to run him in the new Swift chassis for 1998. From the team's perspective, the first outing of the new Swift 008.A was a success. The new chassis in combination with Yokohama's new 15-inch racing product should prove to be very exhilarating. I'm also proud to be a part of the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship for the second year; this continues to set the benchmark as America's premiere open-wheel development formula for young athletes as they pursue CART Championship Car and Formula One success around the world." "I'm looking forward to working with PPI and MCI," said Lazzaro. "I'm excited about the incredible opportunity I have with PPI. Everything I've worked for has been to get with a team of this caliber. I'm also delighted with the added competitiveness the new Swift chassis offers. It brings the Atlantic car closer to a Championship Car more than any other developmental series." Last year, Lazzaro finished eighth in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic series with one win and four top-five finishes. In 1996, his rookie season, he immediately impressed the racing community by winning Milwaukee and finishing sixth in the Drivers' Championship. Lazzaro has dominated nearly every series he has competed in during the past five years. His record includes winning the Formula Ford 2000 (FF2000) Hooter's Cup, winning the United States Automobile Club (USAC) "Night Before the 500" race and winning the Oldsmobile Pro Series Rookie of the Year title. Additionally, Lazzaro ruled the World Karting Association, winning eight championships. "Anthony brings an enthusiasm and excitement to our program that inspires everybody," said Nick Harvey, PPI Atlantic team manager. "He is a proven winner with great technical and communication skills and an obvious, natural driving ability. Anthony and our new engineer, Gerald Tyler, are the last pieces of the puzzle on the road to success for the PPI/MCI Atlantic Racing Team. I am also very pleased with the new Swift chassis and its performance." With an extremely skillful and determined driver, the PPI/MCI Atlantic Team is ready to take on the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship with a driving ambition. Lazzaro CAREER HIGHLIGHTS 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, PPI/MCI Toyota, Swift/Toyota/Yokohama. International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) World SportsCar. Raced at the Daytona 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 GTS-3 class with teammates Jack Lewis, Tony Burgs and Rick Mathison. 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship, Platinum Sound/Team Platinum, Ralt/Toyota/Yokohama. Finished eighth in the final standings, won Homestead and finished second at Long Beach. Sportscar Speedvision Cup. Raced a limited season of six races, three wins, six top-ten finishes, three fastest laps and one pole. IMSA World SportsCar. Finished fifth at Daytona 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 GTS-3 class with Alex Job Racing. IMSA World SportsCar. Raced in GTS-3 in the Sebring 12 Hours. IMSA World SportsCar Endurance Championship. Finished second in a BMW 328si Sport class with Franz Blam Racing. 1996 Player's/Toyota Atlantic Championship. Won Milwaukee, won Rookie of the Year and the Jovy Marcelo Sportsmanship Award. IMSA World SportsCar. Competed in five races: finished second at Texas World Speedway in an Oldsmobile WSC class with teammate Ross Bentley; seventh at Road Atlanta in a Porsche 911 GTS-1 class with teammate Angelo Cilli and tenth at Sebring 12 Hours in a Porsche 911 GTS-1 class with teammates Angelo Cilli and Mike Fitzgerald. 1995 Hooter's Formula Ford 2000 (FF2000) Cup Championship. Won FF2000 Championship. Six wins and nine poles in 14 races. Named one of North America's top five young drivers by On Track magazine. Received the Human Performance International Scholarship. IMSA World SportsCar. Finished ninth at Daytona 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 GTS-2 class with teammates Angelo Cilli, Bruce Barkelew and Gerry Jackson. 1994 Hooter's FF2000 Cup Championship. Won FF2000 Championship. Four wins and three poles in ten races. USAC Night Before the 500 FF2000, Indianapolis. Won race. IMSA World SportsCar. Competed in two races, finished fifth at Watkins Glen in a Porsche 911 GTU class with teammate Jochen Rohr and raced at Daytona 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 GTU class with teammates Angelo Cilli, Tammy Jo Kirk and David Murry. 1993 North American Oldsmobile Pro Series. Won Rookie of the Year title, three wins and one pole. Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Valvoline Run-Offs. Formula Ford National Champion with one win and one pole. SCCA Formula Ford 2000. Three wins and two poles in four races. SCCA Formula Ford 1600. Two wins and three poles in three races. IMSA World SportsCar. Competed in four races; finished second at Daytona 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 GTU class and fourth in a Porsche Lights class, finished fourth at Sebring 12 Hours in a Porsche Lights class and finished sixth at Atlanta in a Porsche Lights class. 1992 World Karting Association. Won National Championship. Russian Friendship Challenge. U.S. representative for the national karting team. 1991 World SuperKart Championship. Won World Championship. World Karting Association. Won National Championship. 1989 World SuperKart Championship. Won World Championship. World Karting Association. Won National Championship. 1988 World SuperKart Championship. Won World Championship. World Karting Association. Won National Championship. 1987 World Karting Association. Won National Championship.