Dyson Wraps up Championships with win in Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2001) -- Rob Dyson, of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., cheered from the pits as Englishman James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, of State College, Pa., drove his Dyson Racing Team...
Dyson Wraps up Championships with win in Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2001) -- Rob Dyson, of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., cheered from the pits as Englishman James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, of State College, Pa., drove his Dyson Racing Team #16 Ford-powered Riley & Scott to victory in the Grand-Am Finale at Daytona International Speedway. The win clinched both the team owner championship for Dyson and the driver championship for Weaver in the SportsRacing Prototype class.
However, the final win of the season did not come easily, as Leitzinger had to battle back to overtake Andy Wallace in the Champion Racing #38 Porsche Lola in the closing laps of the race. The Dyson machine, which had led for most of the race, fell back to second during a late pit stop under yellow. Wallace held off Leitzinger for several laps after returning to green, giving fans some amazing nose-to-tail racing around the 3.56-mile road course, but eventually Leitzinger was able to make a pass for the lead after going through a local caution for a car off course.
"I thought he'd have to work very hard to get past me," Wallace remarked on what he was thinking with his former teammate on his tail. "But I got stupid on the yellow. I didn't see where the incident was and he did. It was parked over in the dark. So I lifted off for the yellow flag, and he blew by me."
Randy Pobst, of Melbourne, Fla., started off the season in Daytona's Victory Lane when he captured the GT win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. He also wrapped up the season in the same fashion, this time with Kim Hiskey, of Monroe, Wash., in the Crazy Redhead Racing #15 Porsche GT3 RS. The Crazy Redhead car was in second place after a pit stop to put Hiskey behind the wheel, but radiator trouble from the leading Porsche forced it to retire, moving the series' only female driver into the lead.
"What a wonderful way to finish our season out. It's so exciting," Hiskey said during her third appearance in Victory Lane this season. "I was just in the car thinking, 'No mistakes. No mistakes.' We pulled it off."
Finishing behind Hiskey was Matt Drendel, of Hickory, N.C., in the G&W Motorsports #81 Porsche GT3 R. The podium finish helped G&W capture the team owner championship in the GT class for the second-straight year, while Drendel's co-drive Darren Law, of Phoenix, clinched the class driver championship.
In their first-ever Rolex Series race, Rand Racing picked up the win in the SportsRacing Prototype II class. Anthony Lazzaro, of Atlanta, drove the #8 Nissan-powered Lola for nearly three hours before turning over the reigns to Terry Borcheller, of Phoenix, taking the place of team owner Bill Rand, who was unable to make it to the race.
"We kind of used this as more of a test to get ready for the 24 hour," Lazzaro said. "We really weren't ready to come here and run yet, but we thought it would be a lot better to be here testing on the racetrack than it would be to miss out on the track time."
Archangel Motorsports Services finished a lap down from the winning SRPII entry, but still managed to take second in the class. The podium finish helped secure the team owner championship for the #21 Nissan Lola, as well as the driver championship for Andy Lally, of Northpoint, N.Y.
The Park Place Racing #5 Saleen S7R cruised to its seventh GTS win in nine races, with driver Chris Bingham, of Bellevue, Wash., picking up the GTS driver championship. Although the team was a dominant force in the class this season, its absence at the Rolex 24 At Daytona cost it the team owner championship. Cole Scrogham picked up his second team owner championship of the year in the GTS class with the #07 Porsche GT2.
"It's pretty unbelievable right now," Scrogham said. "To win two championships in one year -- to be honest, you just can't imagine what this is worth.
The Flis Motorsports Team X-1R #09 Corvette picked up the American GT victory, as well as the team owner and dual driver championships. Craig Conway, of Daytona Beach, held a one-point lead over co-driver Doug Goad, of Farmington Hills, Mich., heading into the Finale. The team's strategy to arrange a tie for the championship worked, allowing both drivers to share in the glory.
"I've been a lot more nervous this week than I thought I'd be," Goad admitted after the race. "I'm glad it went the way it did. It's just phenomenal. It is so, so neat. I'm thrilled for Craig. This is the first one for Craig."
The team owner, driver and manufacturer champions will be honored in a ceremony at DAYTONA USA on January 5, 2002, during the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Days.