Notes of interest 2001-07-10

** ALMS BACK IN ACTION AT SEARS POINT -- The American Le Mans Series is back. The sports car endurance racing series will resume its championship with The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Sears Point Raceway on Sunday, July...

** ALMS BACK IN ACTION AT SEARS POINT -- The American Le Mans Series is back. The sports car endurance racing series will resume its championship with The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Sears Point Raceway on Sunday, July 22.

The two-hour, 45-minute race on the 2.52-mile, 11-turn Sears Point circuit will be televised live in the United States by NBC Sports starting at 4 p.m. (EDT), with highlights to be shown a week later on Eurosport. The broadcast by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

The Sears Point race will start a busy period of racing for the ALMS, with seven events in approximately three months. The North American schedule ends on Sunday, Oct. 21, at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.

** ALMS DRIVERS SHINE IN NASCAR EVENT -- American Le Mans Series driver Ron Fellows won Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, his third win in the event in the last four years. The race is the only road course appearance for the stock car racing series.

Fellows, driving a Chevrolet owned by Joe Nemechek, started second and led the final 29 laps to post a 2.5-second victory. Fellows drives for Corvette Racing on the ALMS.

Boris Said, who drives for BMW Team PTG in the ALMS, finished fourth in the race, driving a Chevrolet normally driven by Matt Kenseth. Scott Pruett, who is running selected ALMS races this year for Corvette Racing, was the polesitter for the race and finished eighth in a car owned by Kevin Lepage.

David Donohue, who competed on the ALMS last year for Viper Team ORECA, finished 15th. Donohue is running the NASCAR series fulltime this year.

Fellows and Said will return to Watkins Glen next month to compete in the track's annual NASCAR Winston Cup race.

** BERNHARD JOINS PETERSON MOTORSPORTS -- A big piece of the driver lineup puzzle for the American Le Mans Series was put in place Monday when Peterson Motorsports/White Lightning Racing announced that German Timo Bernhard had joined its effort for the rest of the season.

The 20-year-old factory Porsche driver replaces the late Bob Wollek, who died in a highway accident in March. Bernhard joins England's Johnny Mowlem behind the wheel of the Westward Ho Casino/MPIE sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

"We are extremely pleased to have Bernhard on board," said team owner Mike Peterson, who also drives in selected events. "He comes with excellent credentials and will definitely be a welcome addition to the team. His behind-the-wheel skills, coupled with those of Johnny Mowlem, should put us in a strong position for consistent top finishes at every race."

Bernhard, who started with Karts at age 10, has been an elite contender in the German Porsche Carrera Cup. He made his ALMS debut in March with Alex Job Racing, becoming the third driver along with Randy Pobst and Christian Menzel at Sebring.

"I am very excited about this opportunity," said Bernhard. "We came in second in my first race in the United States. This year is going to be a fantastic challenge for me. I am eager to learn all the new tracks and with Johnny Mowlem's help, I think we will be able to do extremely well."

** ALMS DRIVERS IN PETALUMA -- American Le Mans Series drivers and show cars will appear at Victory Auto World in Petaluma, Calif., on Friday, July 20, from 5-7 p.m.

Petaluma is located only a short drive from Sears Point Raceway, where ALMS drivers will compete in The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma on July 22.

A Panoz LMP-1 show car will be present, along with a Panoz GT car from the Panoz Racing School.

** MCKENNA PORSCHE OPEN HOUSE -- McKenna Porsche, sponsor of the Alex Job Racing team in the American Le Mans Series, will host an open house on Tuesday, July 17, from noon until 4 p.m.

AJR drivers Randy Pobst and Sascha Maassen will be on hand to meet fans, and the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars will also be on display. Fans can register for a drawing to win a set of Michelin tires.

McKenna Porsche is located in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk, Calif., at 10850 Firestone Blvd.

** ALMS CARS TO DRIVE ACROSS GOLDEN GATE -- Five cars from The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend will drive across San Francisco's famous landmark in the "Buckle-Up Drive Across the Golden Gate Bridge" on Wednesday, July 18.

Participating ALMS cars include a Dodge Viper from American Viperacing, a Saleen S7R from Konrad Motorsport, a BMW M3 from BMW Team PTG and a Lola B2K-Nissan from Roock-KnightHawk Racing. They will be joined by a car from the Trans-Am Series, which will race at Sears Point on July 21.

The drive is intended to raise awareness of the importance of seat belt use while driving a motor vehicle and will occur a few days before the weekend of racing at nearby Sears Point Raceway.

Fans are encouraged to meet the drivers and view their exotic sports cars at Vista Point at the North Tower on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge beginning at 10 a.m. on July 18. The California Highway Patrol will be on hand to administer complimentary seat belt safety checks. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. from Vista Point and ten travel across the bridge and through the streets of San Francisco before winding up at Ghirardelli Square.

After a brief press conference, the drivers will head to the courtyard at Ghirardelli Square for another meet-and-greet and autograph session with the fans beginning at 1 p.m.

** ALMS DRIVERS TO MEET FANS IN PORTLAND -- Drivers from the American Le Mans Series and the Trans-Am Series will meet fans and race against the clock (and each other) at Malibu Grand Prix in Beaverton, Ore., on Thursday, Aug. 2. Drivers will be on hand from 5-8 p.m.

Both series will compete at Portland International Raceway the weekend of Aug. 4-5.

-ALMS-

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