Nov. 2, DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Politeness and courtesy shown to fellow competitors earlier in the Motorola Cup road racing season is long over with. Championships in each of the four classes are ready to be awarded, and it's time to, as one contender put it, "take no prisoners."
The Drivers Championships in the four classes - Grand Sports, Sports, Touring and Compact, may or may not end in the same order the points are, going into the final event of the ten-race season on Sunday, Nov. 7 at Daytona International Speedway.
The race will last three hours on the famed 3.56-mile combination road course and oval track, where horsepower will rule the day. The hottest race is in the Sports class. A single point separates Lance Stewart, Jupiter, Fla., a 15-year veteran of production-based race car competition, and 23-year old Andy Lally, Northport, N.Y. Whoever finishes ahead of the other, wins.
Stewart drives the Team Hurricane Acura Integra R owned and co-driven by John Bourassa, Hobe Sound, Fla., while Lally is teamed with Howie Liebengood, Vienna, Va., in the Team Spartanburg BMW Z3 Coupe.
In Grand Sports, Touring and Compact, defending Motorola Cup champion Doug Goad, Farmington Hills, Mich., John Wymore, Milwaukie, Ore., and Bob Beede, Falmouth, Mass., are the leaders, but Wymore is involved in a massive intra-team battle.
"We have no 'team orders,"' says Wymore, who heads the Planet Earth Mazda team's leaders, Canton, Ohio, brothers Will and Wayne Nonnamaker, by two points. "We would have won the last race at Sebring had we not started to run out of gas with a few laps to go, so now it's time to take no prisoners." Wymore will share his Mazda MX6 with Dick Starita, Palm City, Fla. Planet Earth Mazdas have won the last three races at Daytona. It's also that time of the season for all racers to remember the Manufacturers Championships are just as important as individual titles, and make an effort to thank the car manufacturers who have supported them all season, and there is no greater battle than the one between Ford and Pontiac in the Grand Sports class.
After nine races, Ford Mustang drivers have come back from a deficit to lead Pontiac Firebird drivers by five points. For a Pontiac to win the championship, three other different makes of cars have to be between them and the best-placed Ford Mustang Cobra.
A new Chevrolet Camaro LS1 now becomes the spoiler, owned by East Coast Chevrolet dealer Tom Oates, and driven by two of the finest in the business, John Heinricy, Holly, Mich., and Stu Hayner, Yorba Linda, Calif., both veterans of the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona.
To counteract that, Canadian Formula Atlantic star Kenny Wilden, also a graduate of precursors to the Motorola Cup series where he used to race a Pontiac, has been entered in a Multimatic/Coca-Cola Ford Mustang Cobra alongside Scott Maxwell.
Trans-Am Series star Johnny Miller, Johnson City, Tenn., will also drive one of the four Zippo Motorsports Ford Mustangs owned by Bradford, Pa., neighbors John Kohler and Gary Smith. It is the independent Zippo-backed team which has put Ford back in the hunt, after a win by Kohler and Smith, and two by Barber Dodge Pro Series runner-up Todd Snyder, Sheffield, Mass., and Mark Ackley, Horseheads, N.Y.
Associate sponsors of the Motorola Cup series are Hoosier, Sunoco, Deringer, STP, Castrol and Speed Stick.
Championship Driver Point Standings After 9 of 10 Events:
Grand Sports Class 1- #11 Doug Goad, Sunoco/Pennzoil/Powell High Performance/Pontiac Firebird, 217 pts. 2- #11 Devon Powell, Sunoco/Pennzoil/Powell High Performance/Pontiac Firebird, 215 pts. 3- #22 Michael Culver, Bombardier Aerospace/BMW M3, 168 pts.
Sport Class 1- #10 Lance Stewart, Honda/Acura/Acura Integra R, 229 pts. 2- #7O Andy Lally, Lear/Zims Crack Cream/Racemarque/BMWZ3, 228 pts. 3- #10 John Bourassa, Honda/Acura/Acura Integra R, 199 pts.
Touring Class 1 - #43 John Wymore, US Filter/Mazda MX-6, 225 pts. 2#41 Will Nonnamaker, US Filter/Mazda 626, 223 pts. 3#41 Wayne Nonnamaker, US Filter/Mazda 626, 223 pts.
Compact Class 1 - #27 Bob Beede, Kendall Motor Oil/Honda of Keene/Honda Del Sol, 250 pts. 2#27 Bill Fenton, Kendall Motor Oil/Honda of Keene/Honda Del Sol, 244 pts. 3- #6 Mark Craig, Hyundai Motorsports/Hyundai Auto Canada/Hyundai Tiburon, 207 pts.