PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 20, 2001) - In a long, hard fought three-hour battle the ...
PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 20, 2001) - In a long, hard fought three-hour battle the #15 Porsche TT of Motorsport Technologies finally earned its first victory of the season at the Grand-Am Cup Three-Hour Race at Phoenix International Raceway tonight. Starting on the outside second row, drivers Dino Steiner and Ian James relied not only on their Porsche's durability, but a little luck at the misfortune of other teams.
The pole-winning Corvette of the Phoenix American Motorsports team was plagued with electrical problems throughout the race that eventually resulted in its 39th-place finish. Outside pole sitter, #11 Powell Motorsports Corvette, took a strong lead later in the race only to pull into its paddock area without warning. Driver Doug Goad later reported he thought a timing chain had brought the demise of his team.
That misfortune gave the #47 TF Racing Mustang Saleen the lead. The #47 was coming close to lapping the second-place #15 car when a caution came out and the #47 pitted for fuel. It closed the gap between the two cars to only seconds, rather minute it had been. The #15 Porsche continued to gain momentum on the #47 Mustang Saleen, eventually pulling past it with only 20 minutes remaining in the race. Although the two exchanged the lead briefly, the #15 eventually pulled ahead to lead until the checkered flag.
Another close battle on the race track came in the C2K class, where the #41 Planet Earth Motorsports Acura Integra R and the #69 Honda of America Racing Team Civic Si went nose-to-tail for several laps fighting for the class lead. When #69 got caught up in the disturbance in turn nine, the #41 Acura was able to slide by to take the class lead and victory, as the #69 Honda finished only 0.5 seconds back.
The Speedsource #70 Porsche 911 picked up the GS class win, finishing 45 seconds ahead of the Fiorano Racing #19 Porsche 993. The ST class was easily captured by King Motorsports' #64 Acura Integra R, whose nearest competitor was the Spirit of Miami Acura at nearly two laps behind.
It was a disappointing night for the new Lexus IS300, which debuted at the Phoenix race. Although the team ran as high as third place in the ST class during the race, both cars eventually had to retire due to ignition problems.
Tonight's race was the third event of the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series. The Grand-Am Cup will now travel to historic Watkins Glen International for another three-hour race, May 18-20.