Howard-Boss Motorsports Wins Again For Pontiac Leitzinger/Forbes-Robinson Capture Victory at Mid-Ohio with SunTrust Team in Third; ...
Howard-Boss Motorsports Wins Again For Pontiac
Leitzinger/Forbes-Robinson Capture Victory at Mid-Ohio with SunTrust Team in Third; #65 Pontiac GTO.R Takes Second in GT Class
LEXINGTON, Ohio - In a heated battle towards the finish line, Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson won their second Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race behind the wheel of their #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype (DP). With seven laps remaining, Leitzinger took advantage of a restart after a caution to pull ahead of the #01 Lexus of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz and managed to hold Pruett off for the last few laps of the 400 km race.
"This was one of the most furious battles I've been in for a long time," said Leitzinger. For a long time I was trying to catch the #54 car and they were battling really hard. I finally got around them and then Scott (Pruett) got around and took the lead. The yellow flag helped us a lot. It was a really nice race - hard but fair. We were really close and we didn't really touch; one of the better races so far."
Leitzinger passed the #54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran of Terry Borcheller and Ralf Kelleners which led the race towards the latter portion, but fell back after they pitted for fuel. The #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley of Alex Gurney and Bob Stallings, which started from the pole position and led the first 36 laps, was hoping - like the Kodak-Bell team - for a yellow caution so they could pit for fuel. It didn't come in time for the teams but Pontiac still managed a hard-fought victory.
Making a spectacular comeback and taking third place (from starting 19th) was the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley shared by Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor. Having suffered a serious fire yesterday during qualifying, the team worked throughout the night to get the car race ready for this morning's final practice. Parts were shipped in from the team's shop in Indianapolis for the repair, and the sleep-deprived crew managed to provide the necessary support throughout the race.
"The whole of Bill Riley's group of guys were just unbelievable," said Wayne Taylor. "The car was so badly damaged that everyone thought we were done for the weekend and if anyone could have got the job done, these guys were it. Max (Angelelli) did his magic like he always does and we couldn't get a better team effort than we did from this group."
The SunTrust duo still remains on top in team and driver points, and the win by Pontiac keeps it in the lead in manufacturer points. A second-place finish by the #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R of Andy Lally and Marc Bunting helps Pontiac in the GT class manufacturer standings, and the pair were looking to finish on the podium next to their teammates in the #64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R co-driven by Paul Edwards and Ron Fellows (filling in for Jan Magnussen). Unfortunately, the car's front left suspension failed in the 83rd lap as the car led the GT class and they were unable to continue.
"I feel bad for Ron and Paul; they were doing so well," said Andy Lally. "For myself, it was a heated battle with the #21 BMW and we couldn't get by. I think we had the faster car, though. You hate to lose when the win could have been yours but we gained some ground in points and it's a big help towards the championship. We're also proving how competitive this car is - Jan and Paul won the last race - and we've had two other fourth place finishes so far. Not bad for starting mid-season."
The next leg of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will take place at Phoenix International Raceway. The 250 mile GT race will take place on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Phoenix time and the DP race will take place the following night at 7:00 p.m. Both races will be shown on SPEED TV; 8:00 EDT on Sept. 10 for the GT race and 4:00 EDT on Sept. 11 for the DP race.