SCC: Pobst and Levitas power to victory in Fontana

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SCC: Pobst and Levitas power to victory in Fontana

FONTANA, Calif. (June 7, 2003) -- With balding front tires and a determined will, GS I drivers Randy Pobst and Michael Levitas took their TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup entry to a narrow victory over the Doncaster Racing Porsche of Robert Julien and...

FONTANA, Calif. (June 7, 2003) -- With balding front tires and a determined will, GS I drivers Randy Pobst and Michael Levitas took their TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup entry to a narrow victory over the Doncaster Racing Porsche of Robert Julien and Jean-Francois Dumoulin in the 2003 Grand American 250 race Saturday at California Speedway.

#18 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup: Michael Levitas, Randy Pobst.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"This will go down as one of the most satisfying races for me," Pobst said. "It was tough from the start and all the way through." Pobst credits quick pit-stops for helping the team stay in the lead group. "We only changed rear tires on the car during stops. That made the car a bit slower in the corners but when the rear tires went off the balance got better, especially towards the end of the race."

The margin of victory was a mere .33 seconds. For the winners, it was their second victory in four events this year. Pole sitters Devon Powell and Doug Goad finished third in their Corvette Z06.

Pobst and Dumoulin battled furiously but very clean over the final 45 minutes. The lead changed hands several times. "Randy was good at the end, "Dumoulin said. "Earlier, I tried to save the car and then put the pressure on. The second to last lap I got under him a little but he was very strong coming off the corners at the end of the straight."

Dumoulin and Julien maintain their lead in driver points over fourth-place finishers Greg Wilkins and Dave Lacey.

It was a clean start with Powell leading in the #11 Corvette, followed by Porsches #7 of Greg Wilkins, #119 of Robert Julien and #18 with Levitas. It stayed that way for several laps until the #47 TF Racing Saleen Mustang of John Kohler and Gary Smith, which had been running a strong fifth behind the Porsches, pulled off course with mechanical problems.

The stop brought out the first caution of the afternoon, and several cars opted to pit for fuel including Powell.

During the restart, several cars touched on the back stretch and GSII pole sitter David Brown lost his brakes and shot into the chicane after crossing the infield grass. The result was a nose-to-side impact that sent the pack scrambling.

Powell, who had just returned from taking on fuel, was clipped, went off course, and when the dust cleared, literally, found himself several spots back. He re-joined the circuit, now down 10 positions, then spent the next 30 minutes working his way to third before pitting for a driver change. The Chevy couldn't muster a challenge from that point.

GS II winners Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber, who had started a dismal 32nd in their #54 BMW M3, worked their way up to the lead an hour and finished 18 seconds ahead of the #33 Nissan 350Z of Mike Cronin and Stu Hayner. "It was a team effort," Borcheller said later. "Forest brought me the car in the lead, everything was perfect with it."

In ST I, the Scott Schlesinger, David Haskell #68 SpeedSource Porsche Boxster maintained a 55 second margin to claim victory form the pole over second place finishers Andy Lally and Chuck Goldsborough in their Team Lexus IS300.

Leading an Acura Integra LS one-two-three finish in ST II were co-winners Howie Liebengood and Will Nonnamaker. Their margin of victory was 28 seconds over drivers Mike Keravich and Bob Beebe.

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Series GRANDAM