Daytona II: Doran-Lista race report

Theys and Leuenberger Finish Tenth in Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus at Paul Revere 250 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 2 - Benjamin Leuenberger and Didier Theys finished tenth overall and in the Daytona Prototype class in the wee hours of ...

Theys and Leuenberger Finish Tenth in Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus at Paul Revere 250 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 2 - Benjamin Leuenberger and Didier Theys finished tenth overall and in the Daytona Prototype class in the wee hours of the morning Friday in the Paul Revere 250 Rolex series race at Daytona International Speedway in the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus #27.

Leuenberger drove the first stint and passed Hurley Haywood for tenth on lap seven. With some pit stops by the leaders and some passing of other cars he was seventh by lap 27, and he moved into sixth one lap later.

Unfortunately that's as high up the scoring pylon as the team got, as the car ran out of fuel on lap 29 and Leuenberger, of Bellach, Solothurn, Switzerland, couldn't quite make it back into the pits. The car ran completely dry and stalled just a few pit stalls short, so the Doran-Lista pit crew had to push the car the rest of the way to its pit. All this happened about an hour into the two-hour-and-45-minute race.

"It was unexpected," team owner Kevin Doran said. "We knew we'd be close, but he just couldn't make it back to the pits when the fuel light came on when he was on the backstretch."

After refueling, putting four fresh Goodyear tires on and changing drivers, Theys was in 12th place. The team went another lap down when the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based driver had to come in about three laps later when the bottom belt of his safety harness came undone.

"I don't know why that happened; maybe there was dirt or sand in there," he said later.

A flat-spotted tire and some issues with the brakes cropped up later, but Theys was 11th on lap 58 when a yellow forced an 11-lap shootout. The team pitted for fresh rubber then to try to gain an advantage over the two other cars that were on the same lap at that point, and despite another yellow for debris before the checkered on lap 70, Theys was able to nail down tenth at the line.

Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli won the race in the SunTrust Riley Pontiac over Scott Pruett and Max Papis in the CompUSA Riley Lexus and the CITGO Crawford Pontiac of Tony Stewart and Andy Wallace.

The Michael Shank Racing DORAN JE4 Lexus ran as high as second before finishing eighth. The other two DORAN JE4s in the field didn't finish when they crashed together while racing for eighth place.

The race will be broadcast on Sunday at noon Eastern on SPEED.

For more information see www.doranracing.com, www.lista.com, www.listaintl.com, www.benleuenberger.ch and www.grandamerican.com.

The next race on the schedule is Aug. 6-8 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Driver quotes follow:

Benjamin Leuenberger: "For about three-quarters of my stint the car was good, but then the tires started to go and it was understeering in the slow turns. Then it changed and we had an oversteer.

"We may have a small problem with the fuel pump or the engine. I was quicker in the infield portion of the track but slower than the cars I was running with on the straights."

Didier Theys: "The balance was OK. We lost at least a lap when we ran out of fuel, and after that my belts came loose. There was a problem with the brakes too. We probably would have had a sixth-place car without those problems."

-dlr/lm-

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Series GRANDAM