Tremblay Takes Record-Setting Win; Co-Driver Haskell Maintains Points Lead at Trois-Rivieres TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 6, 2005) -- A large Canadian crowd saw one of their own set a Grand-Am Cup Series record on Saturday,...
Tremblay Takes Record-Setting Win; Co-Driver Haskell Maintains Points Lead at Trois-Rivieres
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 6, 2005) -- A large Canadian crowd saw one of their own set a Grand-Am Cup Series record on Saturday, as Quebec native Sylvain Tremblay claimed his 19th career class victory while his No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 co-driver David Haskell maintained his lead in the Sport Touring (ST) class driver standings with their triumph in the Trois-Rivieres Sport Touring 150.
Tremblay took over the controls of the bright yellow Mazda in a Lap 58 pit stop and found his way to the lead when Tom Stewart brought the race-leading No. 98 Stewart Motorsports Acura TSX onto pit lane to complete the pit stop cycle on Lap 61. The day's lone full-course caution due to a crash in Turn 1 by Daniel Colembie in the No. 12 TC Kline Racing BMW Z4 on Lap 79 allowed second-place running Bob Endicott in the No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S to move into striking distance of Tremblay, but the Canadian quickly pulled away on the ensuing restart to take his second Grand-Am Cup Series victory at Trois-Rivieres.
Tremblay claimed a Grand Sport victory with then-co-driver Paul Mears Jr. in 2001, and just as it did on that day, today's victory also touched off a spirited celebration for Tremblay and the SpeedSource team. With 19 Grand-Am Cup class victories, Tremblay broke a tie with Wayne Nonnamaker for the most class victories in series history.
"It's great to have the records," Tremblay said. "I've been doing this longer than most people, and I started out as a rookie and now I'm looked at like a veteran. Some young guy will break it, so I'm not too worried about it. I'm worried about winning the next race, which is the most important thing to us. In 2001, I got of my car and the crowd went crazy for us. I wanted to do something for the fans. They are so die-hard. It was a little thank you to them for all the love and cheering they give us."
Haskell--who who also won the Grand-Am Cup Super Grand Sport race at Trois-Rivieres in 2001--started the race from the pole position in his bid to maintain his championship lead. Endicott's No. 27 co-driver, Eric Curran, got the drop on Haskell in Turn 1 on the opening lap and managed to lead the first 18 laps, but Haskell finally found his way back into the lead in Turn 9 on Lap 19. After taking over the lead, Haskell pulled out to a healthy advantage and led a race-high total of 39 laps before turning the car over to Tremblay.
It was the second-consecutive victory for Haskell and Tremblay, as the duo also won the ST class in last weekend's Barber Park 200 at Barber Motorsports Park. It was also their fourth victory in seven races this season, and Haskell maintained his two-point lead over Tremblay in the ST driver standings (202-200) with three races remaining. Haskell is 13 points ahead of third-place co-drivers Will Turner and Don Salama.
"You're always thinking about the championship a little bit," Haskell said. "These last two tracks (Barber and Trois-Rivieres) are really made for our cars. We have to take advantage and capitalize when we can. Everyone is so close in this series. We started up front, and since this is a hard place to pass, that was critical. The No. 27 Acura got in front of me, and it was so fast, but I just waited and waited and was finally able to get in front. It worked out for us today."
Turner and Salama finished second in their No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i, benefiting from an apparent brake problem late in the race on the Acura of Endicott and Curran. It was the best result of the season for Turner and Salama, topping back-to-back third-place performances at California Speedway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in April. The result also allowed the Turner Motorsport duo to move up one position in the driver standings to third.
"(The crew) told me to go out and short shift and take care of brakes and tires," Salama said. "I did that. At the end of the race, when other teams were having brake problems, we weren't. We're really happy. I just wanted to run a good pace. The No. 70 car was able to run just a little bit faster pace, but we knew we were in our groove. It was all about turning over a good car to Will, and we were fortunate. What made this rewarding is all the fans. They are great. Everyone wants to come back to Trois-Rivieres."
"We're still the bridesmaids," Turner added. "It's tough, we want to win one and we've come so close. We thought we were going to win this one. We set the cars up for the long part of the race because we knew a lot of the cars would have trouble. The consistency of the BMW really showed at the end of the race, as others were going down, we were still going fast. It's a great attribute to the Turner Motorsport crew and the consistency of the BMW."
Tim Pappas and Steve Pfeffer came home third in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i to place two cars on the podium for the Turner operation for the first time this season. The performance was their best since the duo finished third in the Grand-Am Cup season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
"I got in second and my teammate drove most of the race and kept us right in the front," Pfeffer said. "I really have to give him virtually all the credit for this third-place finish. I was given a fantastic car and had some lucky breaks during my stint. Someone's misfortune was our fortune. If the No. 27 Acura wouldn't have broken, we wouldn't be sitting here now. We're glad to be here. It's a lot of fun to be here in Canada. There isn't another venue where the race fans are stronger."
"We had a great time coming up here," Pappas contributed. "This is definitely the best venue we visit. Even though the track is tight, it's still a fun venue to drive. It's just been great to be up here. My stint was fine and the car was very good. Traffic in the beginning was actually worse than I thought it would be and tightened up the racing. In general, we're really happy. The Turner Motorsport guys did a great job as usual and the BMW was the ultimate driving machine. We have three more times to do it again. We'll see what happens."
Curran and Endicott soldiered home fourth despite the problem late in the race. It was Endicott's fourth top-four result of the season and was Curran's third top-four performance. Canadian Jim Holtom and co-driver Ed Magner filled out the top five in their No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt. For Holtom, the result was his fourth top-five showing in his past five starts, including victories in the Chemung Canal Trust 200 at Watkins Glen International and the Mosport 200 at Mosport International Raceway in June.