WEAVER/LEITZINGER DOMINATE MINNEAPOLIS CAN-AM, PANOZ TAKES GT BATTLE MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- England's James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, of State College, Pa., won handily over teammates Dorsey Schroeder and Elliott Forbes-Robinson to score...
WEAVER/LEITZINGER DOMINATE MINNEAPOLIS CAN-AM, PANOZ TAKES GT BATTLE
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- England's James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, of State College, Pa., won handily over teammates Dorsey Schroeder and Elliott Forbes-Robinson to score their second-career Can-Am victories at the Sprint PCS Grand Prix of Minnesota. Doc Bundy, of Gainesville, Ga., and Phoenix's Johnny O'Connell finished third overall, first in GT1.
Weaver put the No. 16 Goodyear/300 Below Zero/Safety Glow Riley & Scott Ford on the pole for the one-hour, 45-minute race and handed the car over to Leitzinger with 50 minutes remaining. Leitzinger then sliced through traffic to take a 22.05-second win over the No. 20 team car of Forbes-Robinson and Schroeder, scoring the team's third-consecutive Can-Am win in a reverse team-finish from the previous round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"The race was terrific -- there was a lot of great racing today and this was a great race, said Leitzinger. "I can't wait to come back to Minnesota, this is a great city with great people and restaurants -- I just love it here."
The Leitzinger/Weaver duo relinquished the lead only once, during a pit stop when Leitzinger took over the driving duties for Weaver. The driver swap elevated the No. 38 Champion/STP Porsche 911 GT1 of Belgian Thierry Boutsen and France's Bob Wollek to the top position, and when Boutsen pitted to turn the car over to Wollek, Leitzinger regained a lead he would never relinquish. O'Connell, who took over in the Panoz after teammate Bundy spun, ran down Wollek, who had less than five laps all weekend on the track because of a serious fire during practice, taking the GT1 lead with 33 minutes to go in the No. 4 Visteon-Elan Natural Waters Panoz GTR.
"The Can-Am cars are really made for high-speed tracks instead of city streets, but our crew worked very hard to get the right setup and that paid off," added Leitzinger.
Once he headed Wollek, O'Connell held the GT1 lead to the finish without challenge while Wollek's Porsche finished one lap down in second.
"I was following Butch (Leitzinger), and I wanted to push him as much as I could, hoping he would make a mistake." said O'Connell. "He drove perfect and made the right moves in traffic. I was just trying everything I could -- it made an exciting race for the fans."
Finishing fourth overall and third in the Can-Am was the No. 8 Support Net Racing Riley & Scott Ford driven by Scott Schubot and Henry Camferdam, followed by Shane Lewis and Vic Rice in the No. 2 GT1 CRAZ Soap Mosler Raptor. Bill Dollahite and Mike Davies, in the No. 88 Can-Am Arterial Vascular Entineering Ferrari 333SP finished seventh overall and fourth in Can-Am, and Tom Volk and Jeret Schroeder were eighth overall and fifth in the Can-Am, driving the No. 95 Supreme Exhaust System Products Kudzu Chevrolet.
In the GT2 class, Peter Cunningham and Brian Simo, driving the No. 6 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3, topped the No. 52 Easton Property/Atlantic Coast Porsche 911 of David Russell Jr. and William Stitt by four laps, averaging 66.537 mph to score their class debut victory.
Ross Bentley and Mark Simo, driving the No. 10 Yokohama/Fina BMW M3, scored the GT3 class win after besting Danny Marshall and Darren Law No. 07 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Porsche 911 by a one-lap margin.
"It was a great battle in the first half of the race," said Bentley. "We had a good start -- the 07 Porsche is quick. As the race went on it got really difficult. The track got very greasy on a good section of the road and you'd get wheel spin if you put your foot in the gas too much -- I had to stay calm and stay within the limits of the car and the track."