Cup lead Terry Borcheller of Gainesville, Ga., maintained a slim lead in the 2004 Grand-Am Cup driver championship with a second-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on Oct. 9. Borcheller's co-driver, Devon Powell of...
Terry Borcheller of Gainesville, Ga., maintained a slim lead in the 2004 Grand-Am Cup driver championship with a second-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on Oct. 9.
Borcheller's co-driver, Devon Powell of Port Perry, Ont., qualified the No. 11 Powell Motorsport Cadillac CTS-V sixth on the 47-car grid with a lap of one minute 39.533 seconds on the 2.3-mile road course. He had a fast race start, but was penalized when an official judged him to have improved his position before the green flag. He worked his way back from last to seventh before pitting for a driver change just past the one-hour mark of the three-hour race.
Borcheller started his stint from 14th in the GS class and worked up to fifth before a pitstop at 1h57. A caution period started two minutes later, allowing the rest of the field to pit under the yellow flag and dropping him to 15th in class. Back on track, he was trapped behind a slow-moving ST car that held him off-pace for more than two laps. When the race resumed, Borcheller charged through the field on worn tires and took second place just four minutes before the checkered flag.
The finish left him with a four-point championship lead over Craig Stanton of Long Beach, Calif., with one race, in Fontana, Calif., and 35 points remaining in the season.
"I drove my heart out!" Borcheller said. "It comes down to the championship now. I didn't have any other choice - I knew that I had to finish either in front of or directly behind Craig to stay in command of the championship. It was exciting, but it was very frustrating. It was exciting because it was really hard, hard racing. As I got closer to the lead, the positions to gain became much more difficult. The frustrating part was the car was a handful. With a weight penalty of 150 pounds [assessed by the series], it's very difficult to manage the same tires over two hours. And we really need to hit the setup at Fontana to be in a position to win the championship."
Rain played havoc with Borcheller's Rolex Sports Car Series race on Oct. 10. The race was slowed by six caution periods that consumed 84 minutes - more than half of the two-hour 45-minute race - so pitstops were out of sync and tire choices were a gamble. As Borcheller explained, "The conditions were always changing and at the end of the race, they were absolutely treacherous. The line was dry, but it was so hard to pass because off-line was soaking wet."
Borcheller started on the front row after qualifying the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Pontiac-powered Doran JE4 second in 1:20.907, four seconds faster than the previous record. He pitted for fuel during an early caution and dropped to sixth, but moved back up to fourth during his 1h34 stint. A fast pitstop put Borcheller's co-driver, Christian Fittipaldi of Biscayne Bay, Fla., back on track in third position. He was dicing for second place on the slippery track when he crashed just seven minutes from the finish. The pair finished 12th in the Daytona Prototype class.
"Everything was coming together for us. From the beginning of the weekend, it was a real strong car, the best it has been in a long time. That was inspiring for the team," Borcheller said. "We beat the [championship-leading] Ganassi team out of the pits, which was awesome! We were in position to be on the podium and possibly win, and we haven't been in that position for a long time, so it was really a good feeling."
Borcheller will team with Johnny Mowlem of London, England, in the No. 63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R for the American Le Mans Series season finale, at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., on Oct. 16.