PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Joe Varde and David Amick won the three-hour Motorola Cup road race at Phoenix International Raceway, covering 138 laps, winning the race by :02.8 seconds, and averaging 69.181 miles per hour on the 1.51-mile road course/oval track.
Sharing the Team Amick/Grand-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Viper, Amick kept the car in the top five during the first half of the race, before turning it over to Varde on lap 75 for the run to the finish. Varde took the lead on lap 96 when he passed Doug Goad's Powell Motorsports/Sunoco Chevrolet Corvette. Goad, however, took back the lead on lap 127 for only one lap, before purposely letting Varde by.
"We had set up the car to cool everything except the driver," said Goad, a two- time Motorola Cup champion, "and I was just used up. Championships are made up of good finishes, not by risky race wins."
"This is only my third career road race," said Amick, Batesburg, S.C., and every new track we go to, I go out in our backup Viper and follow Joe on the test days. I'm going to school under the master and taking notes."
"We just couldn't get the chassis to hook up to the track," added Varde, of Charlotte, N.C., "but late in the race when everybody's Hoosier tires got the same temperature, we were equal to the cars that had been faster. We also did the race on one gas stop, and many of the Corvettes made two stops."
Varde and Amick also won the most recent race in the Motorola Cup series at Sebring, Fla., allowing Varde to hold onto his slim points lead, with Amick in second place.
John Heinricy and Stu Hayner finished second overall in the Phoenix American Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette; Hayner led the first 65 laps of the race. Goad, Farmington Hills, Mich., and co-driver Devon Powell, Port Perry, Ontario, followed them to the checkered flag.
John Schreiner of nearby Coolidge, Ariz., won his first professional race less than a year after attending his first driver's school. Schreiner shared a T-F Racing/ Zippo Motorsports Mustangs with David Brown, Pahrump, Nev., to win the Grand Sports class. It was the first professional racing win for both men. "The car was a little loose all day, but I learned to drive around that," said Schreiner, "and the Zippo crew did a wonderful job on our pit stop."
Winning the Sport-Touring class were Mike Keravich, Yaphank, N.Y., and co- driver Steve Colletti, Port Jefferson, N.Y., in the Power Team Acura Integra Type R. It was the first win for Keravich in the Motorola Cup series, and the second for Colletti.
Quebec drivers Didier Schraenen and Mark Craig drove the factory-backed Hyundai Tiburon to the C2K class win with an eight-second margin over former Indy car driver Peter Halsmer and Honda engineer Bryan Johnson in a Honda Civic Si developed, built and 75 percent driven by Honda of America engineers from the company's central Ohio manufacturing facilities.
The Motorola Cup field was 50 cars strong, largest of the Grand-American Racing Assn., weekend at P.I.R. The race featured seven lead changes among five drivers, and had four full-course yellow flag sessions totaling 23 laps and 45 minutes.