Seven Rolex Sports Car Series Titles On The Line At Champions Weekend in California No. 21 PTG BMW; No. 38 TPC Porsche Take Team Titles; Porsche Wins SGS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 18, 2004) - Seven of 10 championships in the Grand American ...
Seven Rolex Sports Car Series Titles On The Line At Champions Weekend in
No. 21 PTG BMW; No. 38 TPC Porsche Take Team Titles; Porsche Wins SGS
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 18, 2004) - Seven of 10 championships in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series - including a tight Daytona Prototype drivers battle - will be decided in the season-ending Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend, October 29-31 (SPEED Channel, October 31 at 4 p.m. ET).
Daytona Prototype championship points leaders Max Papis and Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley have battled with the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor for the majority of the season. Only three points separate the top trio (327-324), and it is likely either the Ganassi teammates or Taylor will leave the California finale as the 2004 Daytona Prototype Champion.
Both the Ganassi duo and Taylor have three wins this season. Taylor and co-driver Max Angelelli most recently won the VIR 400 presented by SunTrust at Virginia International Raceway two races ago, while Pruett and Papis claimed their last victory in the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic.
No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford driver Andy Wallace - who has a pair of wins this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway - stands in fourth with 309 points and has a remote chance to win the championship. Angelelli is fifth with 301 points and Wallace' teammate Milka Duno is sixth (292 points). Both Angelelli and Duno remain mathematically alive in the championship but will be eliminated when their teammates take the green flag.
No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Jimmy Morales is seventh in the Daytona Prototype standings with 277 points. No. 27 Doran-Lista Racing Lexus Doran driver Didier Theys is eighth, nine points behind Morales. Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger - drivers of the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford - moved up to ninth with their first victory of the season two weeks ago in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.
The Daytona Prototype team and manufacturer championships are also still too close to call. The No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team leads the No. 10 SunTrust Racing team by three points - the same amount as the driver standings - with the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports entry in contention 24 points back. The manufacturer championship has developed into a two-horse race as Pontiac leads Lexus by only 13 points heading to California (369-356). The Daytona Prototype chassis constructor championship will also be decided with Riley holding a 24 point lead over Crawford (356-332).
Among the championships that have already been clinched are both team titles in the GT and SGS categories and the manufacturer crown in SGS. The No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 clinched the GT team championship with its seventh class victory of the season in the Porsche 250, while TPC Racing team will have the distinction of being the only SGS team champion. Porsche claimed the manufacturer title in that class at the VIR 400.
Although the team championship has been clinched in GT, the driver championship battle isn't over yet. No. 21 PTG BMW driver Bill Auberlen leads fellow PTG driver Boris Said by seven points (348-341). Because the two have such a healthy lead, the PTG BMW team will be guaranteed to claim the top two spots as long as each driver takes a green flag lap in California.
Auberlen's co-driver Justin Marks is third with 315 points, and with his class win at Barber, increased his lead to 17 points over No. 66 The Racer's Group Porsche drivers Chris Gleason, Ian James and RJ Valentine. The threesome finished 12th in class in that race and will need a strong finish in California to reclaim the third-place spot and avoid the PTG sweep.
No. 67 The Racer's Group Porsche driver Kevin Bucker is seventh with 293 points. Close behind is Said's co-driver of the No. 22 PTG BMW Joey Hand. He trails Buckler by nine points. No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari of Washington drivers Emil Assentato and Stephen Earle round out the top 10 with 269 points each.
The No. 21 PTG BMW team has won the 2004 GT team championship, but the race for second isn't over. The No. 22 PTG team has moved into second after a second-place finish last weekend and has 305 points. The No. 66 The Racer's Group team dropped to third, but trail the No. 22 team by only three points. On the GT manufacturer title front, BMW still leads Porsche heading into the final race (357-344), while Maserati is third with 280 points.
In addition to the team SGS championship for the No. 38 TPC Racing team, drivers Andy Lally and Marc Bunting have a healthy points lead heading into California. The duo added three points to their lead over TPC team owner and driver of the No. 36 TPC machine Michael Levitas heading to California with their class win one race ago at Virginia (345-329). No. 37 TPC Racing driver John Littlechild is fourth with 301 points. With a healthy points lead and a strong season to date, a TPC driver or drivers will be guaranteed to win the SGS championship after they take the green flag.
Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche driver Joe Nonnamaker is fifth in SGS with 282 points, Levitas' teammate in the No. 38 Porsche Randy Pobst is sixth with 276 points, while No. 47 Michael Baughman Racing Porsche driver Bob Ward and Orison-Planter Earth Motorsports driver Wayne Nonnamaker are tied for seventh with 260 points. Wards's co-driver of the No. 47 Michael Baughman is ninth two points back with 258, while No. 86 G&W Motorsports Porsche driver Mae Van Wijk rounds out the top ten with 210 points.
While the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche has taken the SGS team title, the No. 36 TPC Racing team leads the No. 41 Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports team by only six points in second place heading into the last race of the season (297-291). Porsche won the SGS manufacturer title two races ago in Virginia and needs only to win at California to sweep the 12-race season. Porsche leads Chevrolet by 160 points (382-202). Ferrari is third with 42 points.
Next weekend's Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend at California Speedway will air live on SPEED Channel at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 31. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-PIT-SHOP or by visiting www.californiaspeedway.com.
Grand American Road Racing Association, which sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is one of the fastest growing motorsports organizations in the United States. Established in 1999, Grand American's stated goal is to bring stability to professional sports car road racing in North America. The 12-race 2004 Rolex Series schedule and the 10-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to many key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.