DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 31, 2003) -- After starting from the 44th position, the ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 31, 2003) -- After starting from the 44th position, the #119 Porsche GT3 Cup of Doncaster Racing weaved its way through the field to take the Grand-Am Cup Daytona 250 victory at Daytona International Speedway today.
Doncaster driver Robert Julien clocked the quickest lap time during Thursday's qualifying for today's race, but was forced to start in the 44th position when it was discovered that the team had failed to submit its qualifying driver name prior to the qualifying session, which is required by Grand American rules.
However, Julien quickly began to work his way through the crowd when the green flag fell and took the lead when the leading #81 Porsche of G&W Motorsports pitted for a driver change. The #119 Porsche built a strong lead before diving into the pits for a driver change and was able to quickly move back in front for the remainder of the race.
"It was a lot of fun. I think the slower cars were very courteous to us and let us by. So, it went pretty well," said Julien of the race to the front.
"Bobby did a good job out there to bring the car in first place. All I had to do was jump in it and keep it constant," added co-driver Jean-Francois Dumolulin.
Doncaster's #7 Porsche, of Greg Wilkins and Dave Lacey, started the 250-mile race in the 45th position, but was able to maneuver its way into second-place overall for a 1-2 finish by the team. The SpeedSource #66 Porsche, of Paul Mears Jr. and David Haskell, rounded out the overall podium with its third-place finish.
The father-son duo of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker had a victorious debut in the Grand Sport II class in the Planet Earth Motorsports #41 Porsche 911. Wayne Nonnamaker, who won the Sport Touring II driver championship with his brother Will last season, moved up to drive with his father for the 2003 season.
"Having SpeedSource behind helped a lot. That car was great to begin with, and the only thing that could have made this better is if we could have had Will with us and it could have been all three of us winning," said Wayne Nonnamaker.
Automatic Racing's #09 BMW M3 took second-place honors in the class with Jep Thornton and David Russell at the wheel, while Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber finished third in the JET Motorsports #54 BMW M3.
Pete Halsmer and John Schmitt opened the 2003 season with a win in the Sport Touring I class. While it was one of many wins Halsmer has at Daytona, it was a first for his co-driver Schmitt.
"It's the first one for me at Daytona, and it feels good. We did a lot of hard work on the car and just had to bring it home in one piece. It worked out pretty good," remarked Schmitt.
The pair raced the Honda of America Racing Team (HART) #00 Acura RSX S to the win over their teammates in HART's #69 Acura, which finished second in the class. The Team Lexus #0 IS300 took third in the class.
WTF Engineering celebrated its first Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring II win with Ed Magner and Caroline Wright driving the #48 Chevy Cavalier Z24 to the checkered flag. Wright becomes the first female to capture a class win in the Grand-Am Cup Series two-year history.
"First Grand-Am Cup win here - that's pretty cool. Just a great day. You know, I nicknamed this car Christine because its tried to kill me four times, and we finally beat the hex on this car," said Magner.
The Bill Fenton Motorsports #27 Acura Integra LS finished second in ST II, while the HRPworld.com #43 Acura was third in the class.
Additional information about the Grand-Am Cup Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.