MIAMI, Fla. – The largest starting field of the Grand American Road Racing Association race weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway will be Saturday’s 56-car Motorola Cup series event, presented by NewTech Group International.
The three-hour race begins Saturday at 1:15 p.m. on the revised, 2.4-mile, 11-turn combination road course and oval.
After three of ten races in the series for “street stock” cars – modified versions of today’s highest-performance street cars – newcomers to the Motorola Cup series, although not racing novices, lead the points in all four classes.
Former Tampa resident Joe Varde, a two-time American street stock champion and 16-year veteran of this form of racing, leads the Super Grand Sport class points in the Team Amick/Grant-A-Wish Dodge Viper. Varde and co-driver David Amick, Batesburg, S.C., have won the two most recent races; Amick, who now has three career road races behind him, lies second in the points.
Amick’s team at Miami will field a pair of Vipers, powered by their eight-liter, V-10 engines. The second car will be he driven by his younger brother, Lyndon, and by Hank Parker Jr. Both are NASCAR Busch Series drivers who will fly to Miami after competing in Friday night’s Busch race at Richmond, Va. The pair shared the Viper at Daytona to open the season, and both led the race before a mechanical problem sidelined the car.
Canadian businessman Al Wortzman leads the Grand Sport class points in his first full year of Motorola Cup competition, driving the Mical Racing Porsche 993 with team co-owner Mike McCalmont, and professional driving instructor Darren Law of Phoenix.
Tied for second place behind them is the father-son team of Sam and Brett Shanaman, driving the WetFeet.com Pontiac Firebird. “Brett and I are very close, and we talk on the phone frequently,” said Sam Shanaman, Andover, Mass., “but racing in the Motorola Cup series assures me we’ll be together at least ten times this year. Any day I can go racing with my son – that’s a good day.”
The Sport-Touring class points leader, Jeff Trask, Santa Ana, Calif., is also the younger half of a father-son team, sharing the Team Spartanburg BMW Z3 Coupe with his 66-year old father, Don.
The C2K class points chart shows a tie between Honda of America Racing Team (HART) drivers Peter Halsmer and Bryan Johnson, who share a Honda Civic Si prepared by Johnson and a large collection of Honda of America engineers at the company’s Ohio assembly and manufacturing plants.
Halsmer, a two-time IMSA road racing champion and former CART driver, has one win and a pair of second place finishes this year with Johnson, Marysville, Ohio, as his co-driver. Johnson, 28, had only four years of amateur racing behind him before becoming a Motorola Cup series winner.