Brumos Racing takes Nextel Grand Prix of Miami. MIAMI, Fla. (March 1, 2003) -- Brumos Racing returned to Victory Lane today for its first professional race win since 1994, winning the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway....
Brumos Racing takes Nextel Grand Prix of Miami.
MIAMI, Fla. (March 1, 2003) -- Brumos Racing returned to Victory Lane today for its first professional race win since 1994, winning the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Veteran driver Hurley Haywood and up-and-comer J.C. France piloted the #59 Porsche-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype to the win in the 250-mile Rolex Sports Car Series race.
Haywood started the car on the second row, but faded back slightly during his stint at the wheel of the #59 Porsche. However, France was able bring the Porsche back to the front of the pack after their pit stop before handing the controls back to Haywood for the run to the finish.
"I kind of wore myself out (bringing the car to the front), but once we got up there a couple guys pitted and we had a pretty good lead so I was able to back it down a little bit and try to run the endurance race like Hurley was doing and try to save myself, the tires and the car. It was all there at the end. I think Hurley turned a 1:19 in his last couple of laps," remarked France about his first-ever road racing victory.
Starting the Nextel Grand Prix on the front row was not lucky for the pair of Daytona Prototypes that earned the top-two positions during Friday's qualifying. Brumos' other entry, the #58 Red Bull Porsche, led the field to the green flag and ran among the leaders for the first hour of the race until electrical problems began to plague the team.
"We had the pole here and had high hopes, but a switch fell out of the dash and was flopping around and ultimately shorted out and blew a big fuse. At least the car was safeguarded against burning down electrically," explained polesitter David Donohue.
The Bell Motorsports #54 Chevy-powered Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype, which started in the outside pole position, retired from the race early due to overheating problems. "The problem is that we cannot get a handle right now on the engine overheating. We can run it for a while and everything is OK, but as soon as we try to lean on it a little bit the temps go up. As a result, we are just kind of cooking everything back in the motor area," explained team owner Jim Bell of the decision to park the Chevy Daytona Prototype on lap 79.
Scuderia Ferrari of Washington finished second overall and won the Grand Touring Division, earning the team the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge $1,000 winner's award. The #33 Ferrari 360GT jumped out to the GT class lead early in the race and slowly began to work its way up the overall leader board. When the leading #59 Porsche Daytona Prototype pitted on lap 44, the Ferrari moved into the overall lead for eight laps until it too came in for a routine pit stop.
While the team was never able to reclaim the top spot overall, it easily held onto the GT class lead, finishing with a one-lap lead over The Racer's Group #66 Porsche GT3 RS.
"It's an awesome treat (to win in the Ferrari) - incredible. I've been thinking about this since last year - about what to do next with Cort (Wagner) - and it seemed like a great opportunity to be a part of a championship team with championship drivers," said Brent Martini of joining the 2002 GT championship-winning team for this season.
Local favorites Jon Leavy and Kenny Bupp grabbed the GTS class win with a third-place finish overall. The pair of South Florida natives piloted the Murray's Speed & Custom #18 Camaro to a one-lap lead over the Diman Racing #35 Corvette.
"It's not even fair (for us to race here), is it? It's our home track. It's like we know they knew us by name in every turn. It's the corner workers pulling for us. That's what did it. We can see them on every turn, 'come on local guys,'" joked Bupp in Victory Lane.
The Heritage Motorsports #48 Mustang, which started on the second row, led for several laps of the race in the opening hour, but the Mustang eventually fell victim to engine failure on lap 45.
The Rolex Sports Car Series will next travel westward to Phoenix International Raceway for the Phoenix 250, May 1-3. Tickets are currently on sale for the event and can be purchased online at www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com.
For more information on the Rolex Sports Car Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.