AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN AUGUST 23, 1998 The 1998 Watkins Glen First Union Six Hours USRRC Can-Am/GT event produced a victory for Gianpiero Moretti, Mauro Baldi and Didier Theys (MOMO Ferrari 333SP) by only 0.656 second...
AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN AUGUST 23, 1998
The 1998 Watkins Glen First Union Six Hours USRRC Can-Am/GT event produced a victory for Gianpiero Moretti, Mauro Baldi and Didier Theys (MOMO Ferrari 333SP) by only 0.656 second over the runnerup James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson trio (Dyson Ford R & S Mk 3). The miniscule victory margin was not only a record for the Watkins Glen 6 Hours (including its entire history, encompassing FIA Sports Car World Championship events, 1968-1981), eclipsing the MOMO victory margin of 3.895 seconds in the 1996 6 Hours, the margin also set a record for the closest margin in any of the North American "endurance classics." With the victory, the MOMO Ferrari thus scored an historic "same season" sweep of America's "endurance classics," the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours, and Watkins Glen 6 Hours. Moretti, Baldi, and Theys were part of the driving team for all three victories. In the concurrent history of the three events at their full durations (24 Hours, 12 Hours, 6 Hours), the MOMO sweep is the first. In 1972, Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti won all three events driving a Scuderia Ferrari 312PB but the Daytona event in 1972 was only a six-hour race. Five cars driven by eight drivers led the race overall, producing eleven lead changes. The runnerup Dyson entry led 104 of the 171 laps (Leitzinger 46, Weaver 39, EFR 19) while the MOMO Ferrari led the last 34 laps with Theys driving. The GT1 class Champion Porsche led overall for 23 laps (Boutsen eighteen, Kelleners five), Dorsey Schroeder led seven laps in the second Dyson Ford R & S Mk 3, and Mike Davies led three laps in the Dollahite Ferrari 333SP. The Can-Am entries achieved impressive reliability, with ten Can-Am cars finishing in the Top Twelve, the twelfth-placed car only 16 laps down after 6 hours. The Carolina Turkey Ford R & S Mk 3 entries finished fifth and sixth overall and 3-4 in Can-Am, only two laps behind the racewinners. The MOMO win "bookends" the Can-Am season to date, with MOMO winning at Daytona and Watkins Glen with Dyson winning the three consecutive "sprint distance" events at Homestead, Mid-Ohio, and Minneapolis. Porsche scored the first-ever "marque sweep" in USRRC GT racing by taking all three GT classes. The Champion Porsche 911 GT1 of Thierry Boutsen and Ralf Kelleners finished third overall, on the lead lap with the 1-2 Can-Am finishers, and won GT1 by a lap over the fourth-placed Ford Panoz GTR of Raul Boesel, Eric Bernard, and Andy Wallace. The Champion Porsche started second in class; Boutsen set the GT1 Fast Lap. The Champion Porsche led GT1 for 127 of the 171 lap distance (Kelleners 42 laps, Boutsen 85) as three GT1 cars exchanged the GT1 lead seven times. David Brabham led the first seven laps before crashing out in the Ford Panoz GTR Andy Wallace placed on the class pole. Bernard and Boesel led 37 laps in the runnerup GT1 Panoz. Stuart Hayner and Roger Schramm finished third in GT1 in their Chevrolet Camaro with Shane Lewis and Vic Rice fourth in GT1 in the Chevrolet-powered Mosler Raptor. Porsche has won both 1998 USRRC GT1 endurance classics, the Daytona 24 Hours and Watkins Glen 6 Hours; the Ford Panoz entries won the three consecutive "sprint distance" events at Homestead, Mid-Ohio, and Minneapolis. Angelo Cilli, Dale White, and Trip Goolsby teamed to win GT2 in their Westward Ho. Casinos Porsche 911, with Cilli leading the final seven laps of the event after John O'Steen (88 laps) and Larry Schumacher (54 laps) had led GT2 for the first 142 laps before GT2 Fast Qualifier O'Steen crashed out. John sustained minor injuries and was hospitalized for routine observation. Schumacher set Fast Lap in GT2; the Schumacher entry placed second in GT2 with GT2 point leaders Scott Sansone and Cameron Worth third in GT2 in their Mazda RX-7. Porsche now has three 1998 USRRC GT2 wins by three teams (Konrad at Daytona, Schumacher at Mid-Ohio, White/Peterson at Watkins Glen) with BMW achieving two (Massari-Muller at Homestead, PTG at Minneapolis.) The PTG BMW Watkins Glen 6 Hours winless "jinx" continued as the team again failed to win GT3 in the classic, bowing to an Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 1-2 led by Randy Pobst and Terry Borcheller, who won by a lap over their teammates Darryl Havens, Cort Wagner, and Kelly Collins. The best PTG BMW M3 finished third in class, three laps down, with Marc Duez, Peter Cunningham, and Ross Bentley at the wheel. In 1997, a BMW M3 won GT3 in the 6 Hours, but the entry was from MATTCO Racing. The GT3 class saw three cars driven by five drivers produce three lead changes. The Pobst/Borcheller Porsche led 119 laps (Borcheller 66, Pobst 52) of 155, with Borcheller leading the final 67 (89-155). GT3 Fast Qualifier Bill Auberlen (PTG BMW M3) led GT3 for the first twenty-four laps; he also set GT3 Fast Lap. Bill's teammate Mark Simo led eleven laps but the car retired after 49 laps with mechanical problems. The runnerup Job Porsche 911 led one lap with Kelly Collins at the wheel. The defeat was the first for PTG BMW in five USRRC GT3 events. Terry Borcheller (Saleen/Allen Ford Saleen Mustang) won T1 and Lance Stewart (DC Sports Acura Integra R) won T2 in Saturday SCCA World Challenge action at Watkins Glen; each became 1998's first four-time racewinner in their class, and each continues to lead his class point standings. Borcheller's victory was his third consecutive in T1; he won "flag to flag" from the pole, setting Fast Lap for a "sweep" of the T1 honors. The ViperSpeed Dodge Vipers of Bobby Archer and Neil Hannemann finished second and third, with the Realtime/Comptech Acura NSXs of Peter Cunningham and Pete Halsmer fourth and fifth. Lance Stewart won T2 from third starting position, taking his first lead on the final lap; he was then hit by Realtime/Comptech's Pierre Kleinubing, lost the lead, but won the race when the SCCA assessed a two-second penalty to Kleinubing. Kleinubing and his teammate Michael Galati finished 2-3 as Acuras swept the top three spots. T2 produced three leaders (Galati eleven laps, Kleinubing seven laps, Stewart one) and five lead changes. The victory was the second consecutive in T2 for Stewart. SC proved to be the initials of choice at Heartland Park Topeka as Steve Carlson (Phillips 66 Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won the NASCAR RE/MAX Challenge race on Saturday and Stacy Compton (RC Cola Ford David Hodson F150) won Sunday's Lund Look 275 K NASCAR Craftsman Truck event. Terry Cook was second in a Chevrolet with Jimmy Hensley third in a Dodge as all three marques mounted the podium. The last three Craftsman Truck events have produced a win for each marque. Mark Martin's victory (Valvoline Roush Ford Taurus) in Bristol's Goodys 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race Saturday night was Ford's first Winston Cup "short track" victory of 1998. Jeff Gordon (first Bristol event), Bobby Hamilton (Martinsville), and Terry Labonte (Richmond) won the first three 1998 "short track" races in Chevrolet Monte Carlos. If Fords take the remaining 1998 "short track" events the Blue Oval can tie the Bowtie Brigade at three 1998 "short track" wins apiece. In 1997, Ford won the first "short track" race (Rusty Wallace, Richmond) plus the final three (Dale Jarrett at Bristol and Richmond, Jeff Burton at Martinsville) after Jeff Gordon won the season's first Bristol and Martinsville events; Ford won the 1997 "short track" honors four to two. Kevin Lepage (Channellock Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won Bristol's NASCAR Grand National event; the victory was Kevin's second in the series but first of 1998 as he became the fifteenth driver to win a 1998 BGN event.
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