Grand-Am Cup Points Battles to be Decided in Six-Hour Enduros at Virginia International Raceway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 26, 2006) -- With less than two weeks until the Grand-Am Cup Series twin six-hour finales at Virginia International ...
Grand-Am Cup Points Battles to be Decided in Six-Hour Enduros at Virginia International Raceway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 26, 2006) -- With less than two weeks until the Grand-Am Cup Series twin six-hour finales at Virginia International Raceway--October 6-8--teams, drivers and manufacturers are undoubtedly feeling the pressure as every points battle is tight heading down to the wire.
In the Grand Sport (GS) class, No. 97 Under Armour/Turner Motorsport BMW M3 co-driver Anders Hainer carries a slim, seven-point advantage over No. 81 Wheel Enhancement/Synergy Racing Porsche 997 teammates Patrick Long and Brent Martini to VIR. With six hours of racing deciding the title, anything can happen.
Sitting fourth in the GS standings is the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports Porsche 997 duo of Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, each with 210 championship markers. No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason--although a long shot to win the title with 199 points currently--remain mathematically eligible.
All of the drivers vying for the GS championship have spent time in Victory Lane in 2006. Gleason and Auberlen won back-to-back races in the season's midpoint at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio, while Lally and Pumpelly were victorious at Phoenix International Raceway in May. Long and Martini scored their first victory of the season in Trois-Rivieres two races ago, while points leader Hainer and co-driver Boris Said scored their first win at Miller Motorsports Park on Labor Day Weekend.
The No. 97 Turner Motorsport team, which will be shared by Hainer, Said and team owner Will Turner in the Grand-Am Cup finale, holds a similar, seven-point edge over the No. 81 Synergy Racing team in the GS team standings.
Turner Motorsport is looking for a clean sweep next weekend, as Street Tuner (ST) class co-drivers Don Salama and Turner--sharing the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i--have an 11-point lead over the No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S brother combination of Hugh and Matt Plumb (253-242) heading into the finale.
Defending ST class champion David Haskell and his No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 team owner/co-driver Sylvain Tremblay are tied for fifth in the standings with 229 points apiece.
No. 12 Performance Motorsports BMW Z4 co-drivers David Tuaty and Jason Potter (225 points) and No. 01 Clearscada/GM Performance Division Chevrolet Cobalt teammates Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran (224 points) are all still eligible for the driver's crown.
Early in the season, it looked as though the No. 01 duo would run away with the championship, winning four of the first six races. Bad luck lately, however, has yielded three-straight finishes of 18th or worse, opening the door for the competition.
Perhaps the tightest points battles come in the manufacturer category. In GS, Porsche holds a five-point edge on BMW (286-281), while in ST, Acura's margin over Chevrolet is just two points (282-280).
The green flag drops on the Wheel Enhancement GS Enduro presented by EMC Mechanical at VIR on Saturday, October 7 at 3 p.m. ET, while the Street Tuner cars will settle the 2006 season Sunday, October 8 at 1 p.m. ET. Practice sessions for both classes will take place on Friday, October 6.