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Charlotte GT Opener Race Report

CONCORD, N.C. – Bill Cooper, of Bozeman, Mt., recovered from a poor start to dominate the Speedvision World Championship GT race at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. Reese Cox, of Marietta, Ga., and Peter Kitchak, of Minneapolis,...

CONCORD, N.C. – Bill Cooper, of Bozeman, Mt., recovered from a poor start to dominate the Speedvision World Championship GT race at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. Reese Cox, of Marietta, Ga., and Peter Kitchak, of Minneapolis, Minn., completed the top three. Cooper, driving the No. 01 Les Stanford/Pirate Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5, started from the pole, but fell to third on the series' first-ever standing start, as third-fastest qualifier David Schardt's Porsche 911 GT3 Cup took the point. Following a caution for a turn-one accident, Cooper re-took the lead on lap six and never looked back, taking a 2.993 second win over Cox, averaging 86.594 mph in the 65.25-mile contest. Cooper almost didn't make the race, as his car was damaged in a qualifying incident after taking the pole. "We're very lucky," said Cooper, who enjoyed his sixth-career win. "Even though I got the pole, qualifying was a disaster as we messed the car up on the second lap. We're happy to be back. The new car brought a lot of enthusiasm to the team and today it really paid off." Cox ran fourth at the start and moved to third with the retirement of defending series champion Bobby Archer's Dodge Viper, who suffered an engine failure. Cox followed Schardt until the final lap of the race, when he passed for second. Schardt slid wide in the corner and spun. His stricken Porsche was then collected by the Ferrari 355 of Matt Drendel. Neither driver was seriously injured. Cox's second place was his career best. "If people knew how hard we worked back in the shop, and what went on there, they'd be amazed we even make it to the races, let alone finish second," said Cox, driver of the No. 98 MTI Racing Corvette C5. "This is awesome. Hopefully a result like this will attract some sponsorship for the team." Driving the No. 3 Keewaydin/Toad Hall Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Kitchak ran a steady race to finish third. Having finished second in the 1999 Championship by a single point, Kitchak switched to a new car for 2000, and steadily moved up from his sixth starting spot to earn his seventh-career podium finish. "We've got some work to do on the new car," said Kitchak. "It's a good car, but we've still got a ways to go. The car got very loose in the corners–very loose in the banking. I actually had to lift in NASCAR turn four because it was oversteering. We're here this year to prove we're the best car. We thought we were last year, but we're going to have to try again this year." Series rookie Justin Jackson, of Alpharetta, Ga., finished fourth, ahead of Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., who earned the Borla Performance Award for his effort.

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Series PWC
Drivers Peter Cunningham , Bobby Archer , Justin Jackson