Cool Weather Makes for Fast Times In Homestead
Practice Speeds Faster Than All Five Class Records
MIAMI, Fla. (February 28, 2002) -- Cool weather on the opening day of Rolex Sports Car Series practice for Saturday's Nextel 250 allowed many teams to hit speeds faster than the current records in all five classes. This year's Rolex 24 At Daytona winner, Doran Lista Racing, was the quickest on the day with a 123.238 mph lap around the 2.4-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway road course. Didier Theys, of Phoenix, recorded the 1:10.108 lap in the #27 Lista Judd-powered Dallara, 0.352 seconds faster than the current track record.
The Lista Dallara was not the only SportsRacing Prototype quicker than the track record during practice. Englishman James Weaver clocked a 1:10.359 lap in the #16 Thetford/Norcold/Bosch/Goodyear Judd-engined Crawford. "This was the first time I've really driven the Crawford," said Weaver, who won last year's Nextel 250 in Dyson's Ford Riley & Scott. "The Crawford is just a bit more modern design than the Riley & Scott. Besides running a Judd engine, the chassis is different and there is more downforce."
The #37 Banana Joe's Judd-engined Lola came close to the track record when Jon Field, of Dublin, Ohio, clocked a 1:10.525 lap, only 0.065 seconds shy of the 1:10.460 record set by Weaver in qualifying for last year's race.
Terry Borcheller, of Phoenix, clocked the fastest SportsRacing Prototype II time of the day in the #8 Rand Racing/Risi Competizione Nissan-powered Lola during the early afternoon practice session. His 1:15.253 lap was 0.465 quicker than the current SRPII track record set at last year's race. Borcheller took to the track during the final session hoping to shave a little more time off, but he lost control of the Rand Racing/Risi Competizione Lola heading into turn one and shot across the infield grass and hit NASCAR turn one.
Although Borcheller exited the car without injury, the Lola sustained extensive damage. The crew reported that it will be able to repair the car, but doubts it will have it ready to take the track before the 2:30 p.m. qualifying session. The accident prevented Borcheller's co-driver Anthony Lazzaro from getting any seat time in the Rand Racing/Risi Competizione Lola. Lazzaro was busy with his Indy Racing League team during the earlier sessions.
Defending SRPII winner Archangel Motorsport Services had the second-fastest time in the class with the 711.tv #22 Nissan Lola.
Austrian Franz Konrad recorded 1:16.784 lap time in his #31 Konrad Motorsports Saleen S7R, 0.174 seconds faster than the GTS record set at the 2000 Nextel 250. The second Saleen in the field, the #5 Park Place Ltd./Magnadrive/Transgroup/Gatorz Saleen S7R, had the second-fastest time in the class with Chris Bingham, of Bellevue, Wash., taking a 111.772 mph lap.
The pair of ZIP Racing Porsches led the GT class, with Randy Pobst, of Melbourne, Fla., recording the quickest lap in the team's #35 Alliance Residential/Weather Tech/Alpinehut.com Porsche GT3 R. Pobst turned a 1:19.887 lap early in the final practice session before handing the Porsche over to Kim Hiskey, of Bellevue, Wash., the only female driver in the Rolex Series. In the closing minutes of the session, the tail of Hiskey's Porsche got loose, causing her to hit the wall as she exited NASCAR turn four.
The Porsche sustained severe damage to the entire left side, including the front and rear suspension. The crew was unsure if it would be able to repair the car in time for Friday's qualifying session. Hiskey exited the car under her own power, but was transported to Homestead Hospital for observation and X-rays.
The #09 Indicom Auto Group/Microflexinc.com/Goodyear Corvette led the American GT field during practice today, with driver Craig Conway, of Edgewater, Fla., recording a 1:19.918 lap, 1.043 seconds better than his own current AGT record. The #25 Musicalia/Trans Tar Corvette and #82 Wendy's Corvette also posted speeds quicker than the current record set at the 2000 Nextel 250.
There was some early damage to cars during the first afternoon practice session. The #07 Momentum Motorcars/USI BMW-powered Picchio broke a CV joint after only four laps, while the #28 Blackforest Motorsports Group Ford-engined Riley & Scott fell victim to drive shaft woes. Both cars were able to repair the damage in time for the final session of the day.
Qualifying for the Nextel 250 will take place on Friday afternoon. The race will get underway following the Indy Racing League's 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami on Saturday. The Nextel 250 will be aired live on SPEED Channel with coverage starting at 3:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available for the Nextel 250, part of 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami, on the Homestead-Miami Speedway website at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com. They may also be purchased by calling 305-230-RACE or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet.
Additional information about the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grand-am.com.