Chuck West, owner of World Speed Motorsports, today announced that Star Formula Mazda standout Grant Ryley will drive the team’s #14 Northwest SpeedWerx/Walker Racing entry in the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series. Ryley, 27, enters his first season of Atlantic competition with additional assistance from longtime supporters Cupertino Electric and Del Monaco Specialty Foods.
“We’re real excited about moving Grant up to our Atlantic program,” said West, who is entering his eighth year as an Atlantic team owner. “He’s proven that he can win races in a class as competitive as Star Mazda and has been very impressive in Atlantic testing. We have a long-term plan in place with the first priority being the Atlantic rookie title in 2001. Grant is very determined, and through the combined efforts of Northwest SpeedWerx, Walker Racing and World Speed, we feel that we have the resources to be a consistent force this season.”
Ryley, of Saratoga, California, most recently captured second in the 2000 Star Formula Mazda Pro Series – Western Division championship while driving for World Speed. His record included four wins and six podiums, as well as third overall in the Best Western National Championship series. In 1999, Ryley finished second in the rookie championship by virtue of one win, three podiums and two poles. For 1997 and 1998, he competed in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Western Series and continues to serve as an instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School.
“I’ve always had my sights set on racing in the Atlantic series,” said Ryley. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, but to say that I’m excited would be a complete understatement. The Atlantic car is much more physical to drive, especially with the downforce and the brakes. But, it’s still a racecar, and just takes a bit of adjusting to get used to. I really have to thank Rick Waddell of Northwest SpeedWerx and Chuck West for their faith, encouragement and support. I know I’m up against a pretty steep learning curve, but there isn’t a better group of people to be involved with. We feel like we’ll have a good shot at collecting some podiums and consistently finishing in the points. This is going to be a great year.”
“We’re real excited about running Grant this season,” said Waddell. “Not only does he have a winning track record, he also exemplifies the role of Northwest SpeedWerx in assisting young, talented drivers without the financial resources to climb the CART ladder. I’ve also had the unique opportunity to compete against Grant in the Star Mazda series and have seen firsthand just how talented he is on the track. We feel we have a real winner in Grant and look forward to a terrific season in Atlantic.”
Northwest SpeedWerx was established to identify aspiring young drivers and assist them with the resources and promotional guidance to move their careers forward through participation in a multi-year driver development program. Focusing on CART’s ladder system, including the Toyota Atlantic Championship, the goal of Northwest SpeedWerx is to train the next generation of drivers for competition in the CART FedEx Championship.
Based in Palm Springs, California, World Speed Motorsports operates multi-car programs in CART’s Toyota Atlantic Championship, as well as the Star Formula Mazda Pro Series. Founded in 1991, World Speed has captured six Formula Mazda championship and five pro series Rookie-of-the-Year titles since its inception. Last season, World Speed captured their first Atlantic victory at Gateway International Raceway with driver Case Montgomery.
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.