SONOMA, Calif. (July 11, 2001) -- After impressive wins and showings in some high-profile races over the past month, Ron Fellows is a hot commodity right now. The Canadian will definitely be one of the favorites to score a victory when the American Le Mans Series returns to action in The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Sears Point Raceway on Sunday, July 22.
Fellows' fulltime ride is with Corvette Racing, which is competing for the GTS class title in the American Le Mans Series. Fellows and co-drivers Johnny O'Connell and Scott Pruett recently drove the Corvette C5-R to the GTS class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, fulfilling a personal goal for Fellows as well as a corporate goal for General Motors.
Upon returning from France, Fellows went straight to Sears Point Raceway, where he made an impressive showing in the recent NASCAR Winston Cup race at the road racing circuit. Driving a car owned by NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, Fellows led the race after charging to the front from a starting position deep in the field. After falling behind on a pit stop, he was eliminated from the race in an accident that occurred after he had passed another driver.
Undaunted, Fellows returned to stock car racing this past weekend and scored a dominating victory in the NASCAR Busch Series event at Watkins Glen, N.Y. Again driving for Nemechek, he won the series' only road course event for the third time in four years.
He will be back at Watkins Glen in August, driving Nemechek's car in the NASCAR Winston Cup event at the historic circuit. But, in the meantime, his fulltime job is getting his full attention, and he and O'Connell will try for their second ALMS win of the season in the Sears Point event.
"As a team, Corvette Racing is on a high right now," said Fellows, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ontario. "Winning the class at Le Mans is a big, big deal, especially under the extremely difficult conditions (rain) the race was run in. We're looking forward to getting back to North America and picking up where we left off with the ALMS."
Fellows and O'Connell won the GTS class in the 2001 ALMS season opener at Texas in March, then finished third in class in the 12 Hours at Sebring, the most recent ALMS race. Along with Corvette teammates Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins, Fellows and O'Connell will battle the Sebring-winning Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Franz Konrad for GTS honors at Sears Point, also competing against the American Viperacing group with its Dodge Vipers.
The two-hour, 45-minute race at Sears Point suits Fellows just fine. "It's a much shorter race than some of the events we've done lately," he said. "A 24-hour race is so much different in every way. Johnny and I have talked since Le Mans that we're looking forward to running some sprint races."
Practice and qualifying for the ALMS race will be held on Saturday, July 21, along with the Wine Country 100 race for the popular Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup. The Trans-Am Series will be making its first appearance at Sears Point Raceway in six years. The weekend will also include races for the SPEEDVISION World Challenge, the Historic IMSA GTP Series, the Star Mazda Series and the Russell racing Series.
Ticket information is available online at www.searspoint.com, or by calling the Sears Point Raceway ticket office at 1-800-870-7223.
The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma will get the green flag at 12 noon (PDT) on Sunday, July 22. The event will be televised live in the US by NBC Sports, with highlights to be shown the following week on Eurosport. The race broadcast by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.