SCC: Phoenix: Planet Earth Motorsports race report

First win for Orison Corvette. Series - Grand Am Cup Event - United Auto 250 at Phoenix International Raceway Team - Orison Marketing - Planet Earth Motorsports Drivers - Shane Lewis and Joe Nonnamaker Phoenix, AZ -- The ...

First win for Orison Corvette.

Series - Grand Am Cup
Event - United Auto 250 at Phoenix International Raceway
Team - Orison Marketing - Planet Earth Motorsports
Drivers - Shane Lewis and Joe Nonnamaker

Phoenix, AZ -- The #43 Orison Marketing Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette took the victory in the United Auto 250 at Phoenix International Raceway. The team has won in the Sports Touring I and Sports Touring II class in the past, but this was the first win for the team in the Grand Sports I category. As part of Orison Marketing and Planet Earth Motorsports' dedication to the environment, 10% of the earnings from today's victory will be donated to the Prescott (AZ) Earth Day Network, a local environmental cause group.

The race started out with Joe Nonnamaker starting the car from seventh on the grid. Nonnamaker drove the first half hour of the race and relinquished the Orison Marketing Corvette to Shane Lewis at the first caution flag period. The strategy worked wonderfully as it allowed Lewis to take the lead when everyone else had to pit for fuel.

Lewis was leading when the second caution came out halfway through the three hour race. The blistering pace that Lewis had been running put the entire field except the top three cars a lap down to the #43 Corvette Z06.

When the race went back to green, the #11 Powell Motorsport Sunoco Corvette with Doug Goad closed to within a second of Lewis. For the last ninety minutes of the race, Lewis and Goad ran within ten seconds of each other, but Goad could never move in front of Lewis the entire race.

"I am just ecstatic! It is great to be back on the top-step of the victory podium," enthused Lewis."I knew this Orison Marketing - Planet Earth Corvette could do this, I just didn't know it would be so soon. Everything just worked this weekend. I think Joe and I can get a couple more wins this season. I want to thank Joe and the Orison Marketing team for giving me such a great opportunity. We had some incredible battles out there today and the 11-car never let us rest. Devon and Doug were always right there breathing down our neck. This was about as much fun as you can have in a race car!"

Lewis, fresh out of the winning green, blue and black Corvette, beamed as he reflected over the weekend."Looking at the time sheets you'd think this weekend was a cake-walk for Joe and I but it was far from it. We definitely had our struggles but we would always get it together when we rolled it out on the track. The guys [Planet Earth Motorsports' crew] had to change engines after the first day of practice and we came right back out and set fast time the next day. That is a testimony to how hard everyone worked over the winter and since Fontana. When we lost the horsepower in the engine at Fontana and fell out of the lead with just 25-minutes to go it was heartbreaking but no one let it get to them.

"Then with about 15 [minutes] to go we lost all of our oil pressure and I thought' oh no, here we go again' but she held together. When I came around and saw the white flag I thought,' come on, where's the checkered?' but I just kept pushing and pushing until I saw it. Just an awesome effort by everyone on the Orison - Planet Earth team."

"The car was superb," said an ecstatic Joe Nonnamaker. "Shane worked real well with (Crew Chief) Mike (Thomas) and Bill Pate to get the setup right. The car was fast. When the yellow came out, our strategy was to get out, put Shane in and let him drive. We didn't intend for it to be two and half hours for him to drive, nor did we intend for it to be this hot.

"I am not sure if Goad were ahead of us if we could have caught him. We were ahead and he could never catch us though. We lost a motor earlier in the weekend, and Shane had oil pressure problems at the end with the motor. But we finished and we won, so it doesn't matter. Motors can be replaced."

Phoenix Promotions handles the preparation of the cars for the Planet Earth Motorsports campaign. Phoenix Promotions took delivery of the Corvette in 1999 as part of a special run of Corvettes that General Motors made in 1998 purely for racing. Phoenix Promotions then made their move into the GSI class in 2000. In 2000, the team put together some strong runs, running in the lead at several points, but could never put together a complete race.

In 2001 the team started the season out with a second place finish with the Corvette at Daytona. At the second race, the Corvette was parked for the season when Joe Nonnamaker broke his neck in a practice accident at Homestead. The Corvette was brought back out of the back of the shop for the 2002 season.

"With taking all last season off we were worried about being behind on the development of this car," said Crew Chief Mike Thomas. "Thankfully the General Motors teams have been very open in sharing information. Thanks to their help, and some really good test sessions this year we have been able to be on top of the development curve."

The Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series will next compete the Sports Car Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International, June 21-23. Tickets are available online at www.theglen.com.

Orison Marketing, L.L.C. specializes in advanced environmental products and custom "green programs". Their unique approach to problem solving provides the customer with safe, effective, and economical long term solutions for cleaning, maintenance and corrosion related issues. Their services and products are utilized worldwide in the military, commercial industry, and retail.

Planet Earth Motorsports was founded in 1996 by Will Nonnamaker in an effort to educate the automotive industry about environmentally safe practices.

Phoenix Promotions is a professional race car preperation shop that has been racing in professional street stock endurance racing since 1984. The team has a record of thirty victories, twenty five pole positions, twenty two fastest race laps, four Manufacturer Championships, four Driver Championships, and four Team Championships. In addition to the #43 Orison Marketing Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette that competes in the Grand Sports I class of the Grand Am Cup, Phoenix Promotions is also repsonsible for the preparation of the HRPWorld.com Racing team that competes in the Sports Touring I and II class of the Grand Am Cup.

Websites of interest:
www.orisonllc.com/
www.p-e-m.com/
www.grandamcup.com/
www.phoenixproracing.com/

-pem/wn-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Mike Thomas , Will Nonnamaker , Joe Nonnamaker , Bill Pate , Doug Goad