Pumpelly & Lally Take Grand-Am Cup Victory in Avondale Mazda GS 200 PHOENIX (May 13, 2006) -- Spencer Pumpelly started from the pole position in the No. 49 Porsche of Lexington/CDOC Porsche 997 and led throughout his stint before handing off to...
Pumpelly & Lally Take Grand-Am Cup Victory in Avondale Mazda GS 200
PHOENIX (May 13, 2006) -- Spencer Pumpelly started from the pole position in the No. 49 Porsche of Lexington/CDOC Porsche 997 and led throughout his stint before handing off to co-driver Andy Lally, who went on to win the Avondale Mazda GS 200 by 11.808 seconds over Anders Hainer and Boris Said in the No. 97 Under Armour BMW M3 in Saturday's Avondale Mazda Grand Sport 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Pumpelly took the green flag just after 1:00 p.m. local time and when his opening stint was complete on Lap 58 of the 101-lap event; his lead had ballooned to more than 20 seconds. It is the second podium result for the No. 49 Porsche on the season, as the duo also finished third two races ago at Virginia International Raceway.
"It feels great to get a win," Pumpelly said. "This is my first GS win, Andy's first GS win, and our first win together. We've shared a lot of cars in the past, but we've never found victory lane, so that feels really good. It also feels good to get a win for Marcus Motorsports. This group is not a new team but a new team to Grand-Am Cup and they've done an incredible job getting this car dialed-in. For my stint, I knew if I could keep some tire under the car and just do consistent laps, I could maintain the lead and hand over the car and let Andy take us to the win. I think everything came together really well."
The two-hour timed event ran without a full-course caution period, and after the series of green flag pit stops among the leaders, Lally picked up where Pumpelly left off and led the rest of the way to give Marcus Motorsports the overall victory on the 1.51-mile, 11-turn circuit. The performance moved Lally and Pumpelly to the top of the Grand-Am Cup Grand Sport (GS) driver standings after four of 10 races. Lally and Pumpelly lead Brent Martini and Patrick Long by two points, 88-86.
"It really was a hot day," said Lally. "On top of that, I waited about 20 minutes to turn my cool suit on, and as soon as I did that, really hot water came piping through my suit, so I had to shut it down pretty quick and just remain insulated for the rest of the time. Spencer made it a lot easier than I've ever had to come home with a win, because he started up front, opened up a gap and then maintained it. Our guys did an awesome stop, and we chose to do just two tires. It was a bit of a gamble, because if we would have gone yellow, we would have been done. The tires held up well, and it's excellent for the points. Our goal is to be able to challenge for the championship in this class too."
Hainer qualified the No. 97 Turner Motorsport machine fifth, and worked his way through the field during his stint. The Swede inherited the lead when the No. 49 Porsche made its driver change, but the No. 97 BMW came down pit road just one lap later and Said took control. It was the best result of the season to date for Said and Hainer, topping a previous best of fifth in the VIR 200. It also improved Said and Hainer's position in the GS driver standings considerably, as they are just five points behind leaders Lally and Pumpelly and three behind Long and Martini.
"We had a great race," Hainer said. "The car was very well prepared. It was a really good experience to go out there and be able to race. Going out there and chasing somebody and passing somebody clean, getting passed, whatever it was, it's a great feeling. We had a pretty strong car up front. Boris told me early on, 'make sure you preserve the tires.' That was the best move we did. We went out pretty hard and caught a bunch of people and then from there, we just maintained the tires. I think that was our key strategy today. It worked out pretty well."
"Anders did a great job in the car," added Said. "The more we run together, the faster and faster he gets. He's a part-time guy. He runs a successful business and doesn't really spend as much time behind the wheel as some of us. When we started a few years ago, we were seconds apart, now he's on the same tenth. He did a great job in the beginning. I think we had a car, and we were slowly catching them. With about 15 to go, we had fuel pickup problems and had to back off and just preserve the thing to finish second. It was a great team effort and it was a lot of fun out there. It's nice when there are no full-course yellows."
Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen made it two Turner Motorsport BMWs on the podium with a third-place run in the No. 96 BMW M3. It was the second podium result of the season for the No. 96 duo, as Gleason and Auberlen also finished second in the 2006 Grand-Am Cup season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Martini and Long came home fourth in the No. 81 Wheel Enhancement/Synergy Racing Porsche 997 to keep pace in the championship standings, while Rob Finlay and Michael McDowell co-drove the No. 15 Playboy Racing Ford Mustang GT to a fifth-place result. It was the third consecutive top-eight result for Long and Martini, and was the second top-five performance of the season for Finlay and McDowell.