WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 27) -- James Weaver captured the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association championship, joining Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace in driving the Dyson Racing Riley & Scott Ford to victory in the Six Hours at ...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 27) -- James Weaver captured the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association championship, joining Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace in driving the Dyson Racing Riley & Scott Ford to victory in the Six Hours at Watkins Glen International.
It was the sixth victory of the season for Weaver, and second of the weekend in the Bosch Sports Car Summerfest. Weaver captured Friday night's qualifying race, and went on to average 93.410 mph in the finale.
Oliver Gavin and Jon Field finished a season-best second in the InterSports Judd-Lola B210K, six seconds behind. The event ended under caution after Greg Wilkins crashed his Porsche with only two minutes remaining. Wallace held a 20-second lead over Gavin before the caution.
"I had a great time. I had great teammates, and it's always fabulous to drive for Rob (Dyson)," said Weaver. "I was taking it easy in the early going, and then I nearly smashed into a BMW, so I got on with it and I was fine after that."
The Dyson trio led seven times for 118 of the 166 circuits, including the final 26. Wallace held a 24-second lead over Field when he made his final scheduled pit stop with 54 minutes remaining. Wallace stayed in the car, but had to pit again seven minutes later due to a fuel miscalcutation. Field made his final scheduled stop with 49 minutes remaining, but failed to remove his seat insert during the driver change, forcing Gavin to make a second stop. As a result, Wallace was left with a comfortable lead.
The best racing of the day was during the fourth hour, when Leitzinger held off repeated efforts by Gavin to take the lead. The Gavin-Field team led five times for 30 circuits, and Gavin turned in the fastest lap of the race.
Jack Baldwin and George Robinson finished third in the Informix Software Riley & Scott Judd, on the lead lap, followed by Jim Downing, A.J. Smith and Howard Katz in the Downing Atlanta Mazda Kudzu, and Norman Simon, Mark Simo and Michael Lauer in the Hybrid Racing Riley and Scott Ford.
Didier Theys entered the race in contention for the championship, and led three times for 27 laps. The team's bid for a third 2000 victory ended when co-driver Fredy Lienhard tagged the guardrail to avoid a slower car. Other contenders failing to finish included the Risi Competizione Ferrari 333SP of Ralf Kelleners, Mimmo Schiattarella and Eric van de Poele, which went out with an air box fire after running on the lead lap, and the second Dyson Racing entry, when John Paul Jr. spun in oil and crashed on his first lap after taking over for Elliott Forbes-Robinson.
Mike Fitzgerald won both the race and the GTU title, joining Darren Law in winning their sixth race of the year. The pair finished sixth overall, ahead of all the GT class competitors. David Murry, Lucas Lohr and Rick Polk placed second in the Kelly Moss Porsche.
Terry Borcheller and Ron Johnson took the Saleen Allen Speedlab team's seventh GTO victory of the year, and shared the driver's championship, in a Saleen SR. Erik Messley and Stu Hayner took second in a Dodge Viper.
Dennis Spencer, Rich Grupp and Ralph Thomas scored their first victory of the year in SportsRacer Lights, but Larry Oberto and Ryan Hampton managed to win the championship despite finishing third, well off the pace.
Spirit of Daytona teammates Doug Goad and Craig Conway won their sixth race of the year in American GT, finishing 11th overall in the Spirit of Daytona Camaro. Doug Mills won the class championship by virtue of a second place finish, teaming with Ken Bupp and Jon Leavy in a Camaro. Andy McNeil, who the championship up until Friday night's qualifying race, saw his chances evaporate due to a lengthy stop for a transmission change.
The race was slowed for 11 caution periods, with 38 laps under the yellow flag.