Doncaster takes championship with win at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (October 31, 2003) -- Doncaster Racing capped off their championship-winning season with a win tonight in the Grand-Am Cup Series finale, part of the Grand American Champions...
Doncaster takes championship with win at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (October 31, 2003) -- Doncaster Racing capped off their championship-winning season with a win tonight in the Grand-Am Cup Series finale, part of the Grand American Champions Weekend presented by Brumos Porsche at Daytona International Speedway. Drivers Jean-Francois Dumoulin and Robert Julien clinched the Grand Sport I drivers and team championships with their sixth overall victory of the season in the No. 119 Porsche.
"It was tight from the start to the end. It was really tight between me and Doug Goad at the end. We fought pretty hard. At one point, I didn't think I was going to get him. I just kept on pushing hard. I just got my one good move, and he got the car sideways and I was able to get by," said Dumoulin. "I'm really happy about winning. It's amazing getting the championship here at the last race at the Daytona. The team did a great job all year. It's a team effort."
The Canadian duo battled throughout the race with the Powell Motorsports No. 11 Corvette of Devon Powell and Doug Goad, with the lead exchanged between the two numerous times. In the closing minutes of the three-hour race, Goad and Dumoulin went back-and-forth in a struggle for the lead, but Dumoulin was able to finally pull away from the Corvette and take the checkered with a 2.9-second lead.
The Powell Motorsports No. 02 Corvette of Mike Weinberg and Don Knowles picked up its second podium finish of the season, finishing third in the season finale despite starting in the 50th position.
Dean Martin put the Rehagen Racing No. 58 Mustang Cobra SVT out in front of the Grand Sport II class on the opening lap of the race and never looked back. Martin and co-driver Larry Rehagen dominated the class throughout the race, winning by nearly a lap.
"For once, I caught all the breaks, instead of getting caught up in them. This is a brand-new car, finished just three days ago. I've been racing since 1980, and this was my first professional win. It's great to do it at Daytona. This is a Mustang track, you need horsepower here, and Sean Highland, who builds our motors, made sure we had it," remarked Rehagen.
The TF Racing/Max Q Motorsports No. 53 Mustang Cobra R of Nick Longhi and Emil Assentato made its first podium appearance of the season, taking second-place honors in the GS II class.
Planet Earth Motorsports clinched the class team and driver championships with the third-place finish of the No. 41 Porsche of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker.
"Tonight was just fantastic. I can't believe we won everything we came to do. We won the drivers championship, the manufacturers championship and the team championship, the triple crown for this year," noted Joe Nonnamaker.
SpeedSource picked up its third Sport Touring I victory of the season with the No. 68 Porsche Boxster of Scott Schlesinger and Sylvain Tremblay.
"It was an interesting race. I thought we lost it at least 10 times tonight. I got hit on one of the restarts, I was spinning, hitting cones. It seemed we did everything not to win the race, but we wound up winning anyway. Scott gave me a great car, and the crew made great calls," said Tremblay.
The Porsche beat the second-place Team Lexus No. 2 Lexus IS300 of Chuck Goldsborough and Ian James by 22 seconds. The Honda of America Racing Team No. 00 Acura RSX-S of Pete Halsmer and Michael Galati rounded out the ST I podium.
Although Halsmer took a higher finish in the season finale, it was his teammate John Schmitt who captured the ST I driver championship.
"This is my first championship, and I owe it all to Pete Halsmer and the HART team. Pete taught me so much this year. He's a great guy, and the support of the team was fantastic. It's too be we had to split up driving together at the last race, but it was more important to win the manufacturer's championship for Acura. We did that tonight, and we did everything we came to do," said Schmitt.
TC Kline Racing picked up the ST I team championship with its No. 12 BMW Z4, despite the car's early exit from the race.
The WTF Engineering No. 48 Chevrolet Cavalier of Ed Magner and Mike Kramer wrapped up the season the same way it kicked it off by winning the Sport Touring II class at Daytona. The Cavalier was able to move into the lead when both of the Bill Fenton Motorsports Acuras retired from the race early.
"We had a tough fight at the beginning of the race with the Fenton cars. We were going back and forth, and my tires were going away. We put Mike (Kramer) in at one and a half hours and gave him fresh tires, and away he went," said Magner. "I feel bad for those guys (Bill Fenton cars) having problems, but we have had so many problems this year. We've had bookends at Daytona. We won the first race of the year here and the finale, and nothing in the middle of the season."
The ICY/SL Motorsports No. 76 Mazda Protege of Bob Henderson and Chip Herr took second place in the class, while the Nuzzo/Ellis Motorsports No. 98 Mazda Miata of Donald Jacobs and Michael Ellis finished third.
Bill Fenton Motorsports clinched the ST II team championship despite its trouble in the finale. Driver Bob Beede picked up the top driver honors in the class.
The Grand-Am Cup Series will kick off the 2004 season in Daytona during the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, January 29 - February 1. Tickets are currently on sale for the event and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternatioanlspeedway.com or by calling 386-253-RACE.