Watkins Glen Qualifying races report

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – James Weaver caught Didier Theys with two laps remaining, and went on to score his fifth Grand American Road Racing Association SportsRacer victory of the season in Friday evening’s opening action of the Bosch Sports...

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – James Weaver caught Didier Theys with two laps remaining, and went on to score his fifth Grand American Road Racing Association SportsRacer victory of the season in Friday evening’s opening action of the Bosch Sports Car Summerfest at Watkins Glen International.

Irv Hoerr scored a come-from-behind triumph in the GT race, winning overall in an American GT Camaro.

In addition to awarding full Grand-Am championship points, the events set the 53-car grid for Sunday’s Six Hours, the 10th and final event of the Grand-Am’s inaugural season.

While the races were scheduled for 18 laps, 100-kilometers on the historic 3.4-mile circuit, the SportsRacer event was shortened to 10 laps due to darkness. Weaver lost the lead in turn one at the start to Theys, but managed to outbreak him entering the Inner Loop on the eighth lap. The victory increased Weaver’s SportsRacer points lead to 19 points over Theys in the driver’s championship. “This was the best race I’ve ever had at night, because it was generally racing at night, you couldn’t see a thing,” said Weaver, who will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger in Sunday’s race. “It was really exciting, like driving down a country road on the way back from the pub, as a designated driver, of course!”

Buddy Rice, a five-time winner in 2000 Toyota Atlantic competition, won in SportsRacer Lights in his Grand-Am debut. He edged Larry Oberto by 1.3 seconds, although Oberto managed to capture the class championship for himself and teammate Ryan Hampton.

In the GT race, Roock Porsche driver Hubert Haupt made a spectacular charge on the first lap, moving from 10th to first. Hoerr, gridded 26th, gradually worked his way into contention, passing Haupt for the lead on the 12th lap. It was Hoerr’s third triumph of the season, including a SportsRacer triumph at Phoenix. Terry Borcheller gained second overall and took the GTO lead two laps later, going on to score his sixth victory of the season in the division in the Saleen Allen Speedlap Saleen SR. In GTU, Darren Law finished fourth overall and led the class from start to finish, winning over David Murry. It was Law’s fifth GTU victory of the season, and clinched the championship for G&W Porsche teammate Mike Fitzgerald.

Andy McNeil lost the American GT points lead when the Comer Camaro, driven by John Finger, retired early and finished seventh. Ken Bupp finished second in the class – passing the Spirit of Daytona Camaro of Craig Conway on the last lap. Doug Mills, Bupp’s teammate, now holds a one-point lead over McNeil and seven points over Conway and teammate Doug Goad entering the finale.

Friday’s races carried full Grand-Am points, both for the drivers and their co-drivers entered in the event. Saturday’s Watkins Glen International schedule includes a three-hour Motorola Cup race, in addition to sprint races for the U.S. F2000 National Championship and U.S. Formula 3 series. Sunday’s Six Hours takes the green flag at 11 a.m. For complete information, visit www.grand-am.com.

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