MONTEREY, Calif. -- Two weeks after earning the biggest win of the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Corvette C5-R program at Road Atlanta, the two-car team was gathered at Laguna Seca for the American Le Mans Series GlobalCenter Sports Car ...
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Two weeks after earning the biggest win of the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Corvette C5-R program at Road Atlanta, the two-car team was gathered at Laguna Seca for the American Le Mans Series GlobalCenter Sports Car Championship. For the second time this season the Corvettes qualified 1-2 in the GTS class, with lead driver Ron Fellows just missing the track record by 0.05 second. Teammate Kelly Collins was slightly less than a half-second behind.
"I was much happier with the car today," said Fellows. "We seem to be finding more grip, and it was a little cooler, so today was much better. It was a good lap. A great job by Kelly Collins to put the other Corvette on the front row, too. We've got a good, ongoing battle not only between Corvette and Viper, but also between Goodyear and Michelin, and I expect more of the same tomorrow."
The team was down to one car when Collins' teammate Justin Bell was struck from behind by one of the Oreca Vipers on the second lap. The team spent two laps making repairs to the rear end and the two drivers would have a good day coming back through the GTS field to finish fourth.
Meanwhile, Fellows and teammate Andy Pilgrim could only stay in touch with the winning Viper of Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta to finish second, the fourth consecutive podium finish in American Le Mans competition. The two had a great dice near the end with the Viper of Tommy Archer and David Donohue.
"That might have been the worst traffic I've had to battle in a race," said Fellows. "I mean it was all race long. We got a bad break on that yellow at the end, but I don't think we were going to catch the 91 car, but we ended up getting bunched up and having a good fight with the 92 car there at the end."
"We really just played catch-up the whole time," Collins added. "We were two laps down when I got in the car after Justin got hit in the rear. It's one of those unfortunate things that can happen out there, but really did some damage. It ruined our splitter, our rear downforce, the transcooler, and the braking duct. But the team was encouraging the whole time, I did what I could do, kept it out of trouble, tried to help Ron as much as I could, and the team got a second-place finish. We're happy for that."
The Corvette team concludes its 2000 season in two weeks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
For the second consecutive race a driver who didn't have a ride in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series found his way to victory lane. Lee Tissot made his third start a good one, winning the Jacakroo Sauces 250 at Hickory, N.C.
Tissot fought off Mike Herman Jr. over the final five-lap sprint. Sean Studer, Jon Lerley and Bill Plemons Jr. rounded out the all-Goodyear top five. Points leader Bobby Gill was forced to take a provisional to make the race. He worked his way through the field to finish sixth and maintain his lead in the points standings.
Rick Fuller had a shot at winning the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series championship at Thompson, Conn., but he was involved in a multicar accident on lap 64, losing three laps and eventually finishing 18th. Polesitter Mike Ewanitsko was also eliminated in the same crash. Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher finished second and third on Goodyear Eagles in the finale. Tommy Cravenho won the race and Jerry Marquis earned the title.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws returned to Texas Motor Speedway and Pennsylvania driver Tim Shaffer showed he can be as tough as any Texan. Shaffer won the Thursday night preliminary race just days after a four-wheeler accident that required plastic surgery. Shaffer stayed ahead of Mark Kinser and Sammy Swindell during the final eight-lap sprint for a Goodyear 1-2-3 finish.
Kinser and Swindell earned top five finishes in the "A" Feature the next day, but the win went to Steve Kinser. The former two were fighting for the lead in traffic when Steve passed both in the low groove on lap 12. Mark Kinser's second place would elevate him to second in the points chase behind his cousin, while Swindell slipped to fifth in the race and third in the points. Stevie Smith finished third.