PWC

Watkins Glen: Series round six preview

Pobst Leads World Challenge Championships To Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Now five races into the 12-race World Challenge GT Championship, the true contenders for the season-long Drivers' Championship have begun to emerge from the pack....

Pobst Leads World Challenge Championships To Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Now five races into the 12-race World Challenge GT Championship, the true contenders for the season-long Drivers' Championship have begun to emerge from the pack. It's been proven, however, that the individual race winners can -- and will -- come from anywhere.

Pobst leads the WC field to Watkins Glen.

Unfortunately for those drivers chasing leader Randy Pobst in the Drivers' Championship, this weekend's World Challenge Grand Prix of Watkins Glen won't be an easy place to cut into his 47-point advantage. In the last three World Challenge visits to the upstate New York track, the driver of the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 has four -- yes, four -- wins. Pobst earned three wins in the 2007 visit, winning in GT and sweeping the Touring Car doubleheader to become the first person to win three professional races in one weekend in the track's long history. He also won the 2008 GT race at Watkins Glen.

Pobst scored a fourth-place finish a year ago, his first in the Volvo. There's little doubt he'd like to add a Volvo win to his Watkins Glen resume, along with the 110 Championship points that come with it. Pobst earned a win and a runner-up finish at the Mosport doubleheader in the most-recent World Challenge event this season.

One driver hoping to break a recent slide is teammate Andy Pilgrim. After a pair of podium finishes to open the season, mechanical difficulties limited the driver of the No. 8 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 to 14th and 16th-place finishes at Mosport.

The defending race winner at The Glen is Dino Crescentini, who currently sits third in the Championship behind the wheel of his No. 4 Centric Parts/Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3. While it had been four years since his previous World Challenge win, Crescentini shortened that gap dramatically with a victory in Round Two at St. Petersburg. Another win this weekend would not only help his cause, but Porsche's stalking of current leader Volvo in the Manufacturers' Championship.

Crescentini will be joined in the GMG Racing stable this weekend by James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 and Bill Ziegler in the No. 05 Swisher Racing/GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3. Sofronas has a pair of podium finishes this year, and was on the podium a season ago at Watkins Glen.

TruSpeed Motorsports also represents Porsche's efforts in their Championship chase. Patrick Lindsay scored a podium finish in the first Mosport race in the No. 57 Horton Autosport/Neo Synthetics Porsche 911 GT3. Rob Morgan, in the No. 46 TruSpeed Motorsports/Querencia Porsche 911 GT3, and Charles Morgan, in the No. 47 Privacy Star/TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3, are also in the stable at Watkins Glen.

Pobst nearest Drivers' Championship competitor is Kuno Wittmer, who's recent three-race streak has included a win at Long Beach and a runner-up and a fourth-place finish at Mosport in the No. 13 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Viper, earning the most points of any GT driver over that span. As always, he'll be joined at Woodhouse Performance by teammate Jeff Courtney in the No. 99 Kenda Tire Dodge Viper.

Jason Daskalos, in the No. 5 Daskalos Developments Dodge Viper, and current GameStreamer Rookie of the Year leader Fred Roberts, in the No. 89 Direct Energy Home Services Dodge Viper, will operate under the Daskalos Roberts Racing banner.

Ron Fellows returns to World Challenge after winning his home race on Sunday at Mosport in the No. 2 Carlisle Companies/Cragar Chevrolet Corvette. Tony Gaples' No. 29 Kleinscmidt/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette will also represent the American muscle car.

World Challenge Touring Car and GTS -- The Action Heats Up

The hottest driver in the World Challenge Championships is also the youngest, as 18-year-old Robert Stout leads the Touring Car field to Watkins Glen.

Though the young driver is a rookie to professional racing, you wouldn't know it, as he's placed his No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC on the top two steps of the podium in every race but the first at Mosport (a fourth-place finish), including wins at Long Beach and the second Mosport race. Boosted mostly by Stout's finishes, Scion also leads the Touring Car Manufacturers' Championship over Volkswagen, Mazda and Honda.

He'll be joined this weekend by Dan Gardner in the No. 36 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lepper & Associates Scion tC. Gardner has split time in the car this season with Tom Lepper, but earned three top-five finishes in the first three races of the season as the pair compete in the World Challenge team championship.

Closest to Stout in the Drivers' Championship is Eric Meyer, driver of the No. 32 XOWii/Samaritan's Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8. Meyer has two podium finishes this season and has run in the top-five at every race.

Shea Holbrook made her World Challenge debut in an Acura at St. Petersburg, and planned to return Touring Car with a Honda Civic Si at Mosport. A test-day crash ended that trip, but a repaired No. 67 Autohaus/MD&F Honda Civic Si will finally debut at Watkins Glen. Holbrook not only races for herself, but each and every event she enters she uses to raise funds for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy

Rookie Brett Sandberg returns to Touring Car sitting third in the Championship, despite missing the Long Beach race. Driving the No. 28 Whitehall Stable Acura TSX, Sandberg is hoping for a podium at Watkins Glen, the closest race this season to his home in Allendale, N.J.

Carrying the Volkswagen hopes at The Glen is Don Istook in the No. 01 Revo Technik/Stoptech Volkswagen GTI. Istook brought his team to Mosport for his first Touring Car start of the season. He'll be joined by Colin Cohen in the No. 02 Istook Motorsports Audi TT at Watkins Glen.

Alex Ratcliffe will also make his Touring Car debut this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 62 Brimtek/LabRescue.org Lexus IS300.

Peter Cunningham and Nick Esayian lead the GTS field to Watkins Glen in their RealTime Acura entries. Cunningham, the all-time wins leader in World Challenge, opened the season with a pair of wins on the streets of St. Petersburg. Only a first-lap incident at Long Beach that damaged the front end of his No. 43 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX has kept Cunningham from the podium in all five races.

Esyaian has sandwiched a pair of third-place finishes to open the season and a pair of fourth place finishes at Mosport around a second-place GTS finish at Long Beach. His No. 34 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX trails only his teammate in the GTS Championship.

Ernie Jakubowski will battle the RealTime Acuras for the win at Watkins Glen in his No. 91 Fuchs/CDOC/Forgeline Porsche Cayman S.

With a large boost from RealTime, Acura leads the GTS Manufacturers' Championship standings.

-source: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Ron Fellows , Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Peter Cunningham , Rob Morgan , Nick Esayian , Don Istook , Kuno Wittmer , Dino Crescentini , Jeff Courtney , Jason Daskalos , Colin Cohen , Fred Roberts , Eric Meyer , Dan Gardner , Alex Ratcliffe , Robert Stout , Brett Sandberg , Shea Holbrook , Ernie Jakubowski , Bill Ziegler
Teams RealTime Racing , K-Pax Racing