Fellows-O'Connell Look To Set More Records as American Le Mans Series Visits Mosport BRASELTON, GA - For Ron Fellows, it's a hectic week of racing at his home track. For teammate Johnny O'Connell, it's racing at a place that he considers a home...
Fellows-O'Connell Look To Set More Records as American Le Mans Series Visits Mosport
BRASELTON, GA - For Ron Fellows, it's a hectic week of racing at his home track. For teammate Johnny O'Connell, it's racing at a place that he considers a home away from home.
For the two American Le Mans Series champions, the sixth annual Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport could mean adding to their already-long list of accomplishments as the professional sports car racing series makes its only Canadian stop of the season Aug. 6-8. The two co-drivers are on the verge of setting or tying several series records and have a strong chance of doing so in the two-hour, 45-minute timed event.
The factory Corvette drivers are in the midst of one of their best seasons, having won four of the five ALMS races held so far. They are on track to win their second consecutive ALMS driving championship together and what for Fellows would be a record third straight.
Mosport International Raceway is the home track for Fellows, who lives in nearby Mississauga, Ontario. Racing at Mosport creates a busy week of media and personal appearance demands in the Toronto area, as well as extra-long lines of fans wanting to wish their home-country driver well as they wait outside the Corvette Racing paddock area. But Fellows, one of the most popular drivers in the ALMS, always goes out of his way to accommodate as many people as he can and seldom leaves anyone disappointed..
Fellows and O'Connell have driven their Chevrolet Corvette C5-R to the GTS class victory three straight years at Mosport and a fourth win this year would tie an American Le Mans Series record for the most consecutive wins by drivers at a single venue. The two drivers already own a share of the record, having won their fourth straight at California's Infineon Raceway a few weeks ago. Two other drivers, Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen, have, together and separately, won four straight in the GT class at Sebring International Raceway.
O'Connell could also become the first driver since the formation of the American Le Mans Series in 1999 to score five wins at the same venue. In addition to his three GTS wins with Fellows, O'Connell owns an overall win at Mosport, having won the inaugural ALMS race at the 2.45-mile track in 1999 while driving a Panoz Prototype with Jan Magnussen.
In the most recent ALMS race at Portland, Ore., on July 25, Fellows and O'Connell scored their 20th career wins in the series, and a win at Mosport could move them into a tie with Maassen for the most wins in series history at 21. Maassen, though, might have something to say about that as the German driver is returning to the series in the Mosport race and will drive the BAM! Porsche as he seeks his 22nd career win. Maassen has been racing in Europe this season but will run the last four ALMS events of 2004.
"You really take them a year at a time," said Fellows. "You really don't think about the fact that you have a winning streak going. Obviously, a home track win for me is nice no matter what, but it doesn't matter how many times we've won; it's old news. You've got to go and win it again. Generally you're only as good as your last race."
"I've always thought of Mosport as a second home because it's my favorite," said O'Connell, who lives in Flowery Branch, Ga. "Ron and I have been doing this for such a long time, I think we know how to win races. The Corvette guys are fast (in the pits) and champions. The key to winning in tight races like these is putting yourself into the right position and we've been doing that the whole season."
Attendance for the Mosport ALMS event has been steadily rising each year, a fact that is heartwarming for Fellows, who saw his first race of any kind when he watched the stars of Formula One perform at Mosport when he was 12 years old. He always looks forward to the arrival of Mosport on the ALMS schedule.
"There's no question that with it being the home track there's a lot of demands on my time," said Fellows. "But hey, it's once a year so there's nothing wrong with that. If we didn't have the people come out to watch our races, we wouldn't be able to do this. We appreciate the people coming out to support us and waving that Maple Leaf.
"The crowd has been building every year," he said. "Hopefully we can get another win. Home track . it's important."
The Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport will get the green flag at 12 noon (Eastern) on Sunday, August 8. Official practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday, August 7, along with an open-paddock autograph session featuring all ALMS drivers. Ticket information is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling 800-866-1072.
CBS Sports will have live television coverage of the event from 2-4 (Eastern), while the race will also be televised live in Europe by MotorsTV beginning at 18:00 (UK time).
The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage of Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race that can be heard at no charge online at www.americanlemans.com. IMSA Live Timing & Scoring on www.americanlemans.com will be operational for all ALMS practice sessions, as well as during qualifying and the race.