SECOND ROW QUALIFYING FOR POWELL MOTORSPORT CADILLAC CTS-V TEAM LEADS TO TOP 12 RESULT AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
Grand American technical adjustments for the Cadillac's led to the best qualifying performance of the season by Don Knowles, in the #11 Corsa Performance CTS-V. The race was disappointing, as both Powell team cars suffered pit stop problems. Devon Powell took over the #11 from Knowles to finish just outside the top ten. Normand Guindon handed over early to Marc-Antoine Camirand in the #07 Chemcraft CTS- V who fought back in the heat, regaining one of two laps lost in the pits, finishing well down the order. Roughly one third of the 75 car field failed to finish.
Don Knowles was happier than he has been in months. "The changes Grand Am allowed us certainly helped our competitiveness," the veteran driver reported after the race, "and I was disappointed to get hit on the left side during the race, as it hurt the CTS V handling. The heat and the driving out there were intense, so for Devon to overcome our slow pit stop and put the car back to 12th position in this very competitive field was pretty good."
The Cadillac CTS V races with a production LS6 V8 engine rated at 405 h.p. and Grand Am officials changed the required engine restrictor from 58 mm to 68 mm. Horsepower is up, and that is a good thing for the Powell team.
Lead off driver for the Comet Chemical #07 CTS V, Normand Guindon was in a somber mood after the race. "I agree with my team mate Devon (Powell, co driver of the #11 CTS V) these races have not been much fun for us. The car was much better here, and my co-driver Marc Antoine Camirand continues to be very fast, but I am a rookie driver, racing at five new circuits to me in succession, and there is serious competition from top line drivers and large 75 car fields. I will be happy to get back to my home track of Mosport next week. Watkins Glen is tough, and it was so hot out there it was unbelievable."
The #07 car experienced a sudden "limp mode" no power condition during the second re-start at lap 9. This was at the second of many caution periods during the race. Normand pitted, the team re-set the engine, Marc Antoine got in the car and while the car ran fine after that, `Mac' was able to get only one of two laps back that were lost in the pits.
The Cadillac CTS V cars will be prepared at the team headquarters just 20 kilometers from the Mosport track. "That's a relief!" said team leader John Powell, "our loyal, hardworking team members can rest and still prepare the cars and we don't have to drive three thousand miles to get to the track!"
Looking forward to the July break, the Powell team will re-work the CTS V cars after Mosport and prepare for as strong finish to the season. Devon Powell does not want to predict the outcome.
"Of course we know Mosport well, and we are thankful that Mark Raffauf and his Grand Am officials have found ways to permit our cars to be more equal." Devon continued, " So far this year, even though we have had an inlet restrictor and engine speed restrictions, the CTS V's are handling better and turning in faster lap times. But the BMW and Mustangs have been out of reach to us most of the year, and we are hopeful we can get closer still, with further competitor adjustments by Grand Am to permit equal competition. At this Watkins Glen race the cautions played against us, as it was hard to say how good we were at the end, the cautions came out every five laps or so, and I think our car works better over long runs."
Sixth race in the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Series, will be held June 18, 2005 at Mosport, Ontario. Race seven, in Birmingham Alabama is scheduled for July 29, 2005 giving teams a welcome break mid season
The Chemung Canal Trust 200 will be telecast on Speed channel on a tape delay basis. Check your TV guide or log onto SpeedTV.com for scheduled air times.