DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 9, 2002) - Doncaster Racing won the Grand-Am Cup Series six-hour race, part of the Dark Dog Grand American Finale at Daytona International Speedway, en route to capturing this year's Grand Sport I team championship. Drivers Scott Maxwell, David Lacey and David Empringham piloted the team's #76 Porsche to a 7.554-second victory to give Maxwell the class driver championship, as well.
The #76 Porsche entered the race with a one-point deficit to the Powell Motorsports #11 Corvette. The two cars battled for the lead early in the race, but an extended pit stop by the #11 car to repair a loose exhaust pipe gave the Porsche a one-lap lead over its rival. The Corvette's exhaust woes continued throughout the evening, relieving the pressure on Maxwell and the Doncaster team who needed only to finish ahead of Powell to take the championship. The #11 Corvette finished fifth overall, one lap down to the leader.
Sylvain Tremblay and Shelby Wellman took second overall in the SpeedSource #70 Porsche, passing Cort Wagner and Brent Martini in the G&W Motorsports #81 Porsche in the final hour.
The much anticipated battle for the Grand Sport II championship between Shreiner Racing and Max Q Motorsports-TF Racing was quickly dissipated in the opening hour of racing. After several exciting battles throughout the season, the two championship contenders both suffered trouble early in the race. The Max Q #53 Mustang fell victim to engine woes, while the Shreiner #30 Mustang had alternator problems.
The #53 Mustang, that entered the race with a two-point lead, was eventually forced into the garage when it could not get up to speed. However, the #30 Mustang was able to make repairs and return to the track for a third-place finish in the GS II class, giving Shreiner Racing and drivers John Shreiner and Jeff Lapcevich the class championships.
"Right at the beginning, about 45 minutes in, we lost the alternator," explained Shreiner. "But we got back out and then two hours later we lost the fuel pressure. I don't know how we did this. It's just amazing."
"We had a big fire during our first pit stop. I thought it was all over for us. One of the return hoses for the fuel caught on fire. It was pretty spectacular. I thought our night was over with. But the crew got the car going again. We just got back on our pace and we made no mistakes," explained Lewis.
The Villaconn International #34 BMW Z3 came into the race with the largest advantage of the four class leaders with 11 points over the Team Lexus #0 IS300 in the Sport Touring I team point standings. However a series of problems throughout the race dropped the team to a 19th-place finish. The poor finish coupled with the Team Lexus victory awarded Team Lexus the ST I team championship.
"We never imagined we would do this, and this has been a very hard year with a lot of incredible teams that we duel against," said team owner Chuck Goldsborough, who helped pilot the winning #0 entry. "Considering up until this race we had never won a race this year... we had been on the podium many times but we have never won a race. I'm happy to give this championship to Lexus and all of the crew, because we have a full volunteer crew and they worked their tails off for this."
Team Lexus driver Jean-Francois Dumoulin was also able to maintain his lead in the class driver standings with his second-place finish in the #2 Lexus IS300 to capture the ST I driver championship.
"The day started out not too good. In qualifying, I made a mistake and we lost a motor," explained Wayne Nonnamaker. "The crew did an amazing job and changed the motor in four hours. The win goes to the crew as much as anything. The car ran throughout the whole race. I can't say enough about the team. It was great."
The Grand-Am Cup Series will honor its 2002 champions in a Tribute to Champions at DAYTONA USA on Sunday night.
The 2003 season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway on January 31, 2003 during the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend. Tickets to the 2003 Rolex 24 are on sale on the Daytona International Speedway website at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE.
Additional information about Grand-Am Cup may be found online at www.grandamerican.com.