Birmingham: GM Racing race report

First- and Third-place Finishes for Pontiac at Barber SunTrust Racing Scores Another Victory to Keep Pontiac Ahead of Competition; Pontiac GTO.Rs Finish Fourth and Fifth in Class BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A caution-filled 250 mile race at Barber ...

First- and Third-place Finishes for Pontiac at Barber SunTrust Racing Scores Another Victory to Keep Pontiac Ahead of Competition; Pontiac GTO.Rs Finish Fourth and Fifth in Class

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A caution-filled 250 mile race at Barber Motorsports Park saw Pontiac teams successful with the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley in first-place once again. Rain slicked the track late in the race and made driving difficult for the entire field since there was never enough water accumulated on the track to necessitate rain tires, although some teams did change their tires. Also overcoming the slippery conditions was the team of the #6 Michael Shank Racing Pontiac Riley shared by Mike Borkowski and Kenny Wilden who led the race midway, fell back and then finished an impressive third.

"This is a good reflection I think of how strong this team is for us to have fought our way to the front twice," said team owner Mike Shank. "I really want to thank Paul Mears for having faith in us as a team, and days like this show how strong we are. We're really happy to be on the podium again, and are looking forward to having Paul back here with us again soon."

The race had its share of notable events; unfortunately they were not always favorable for Pontiac teams. The #66 TRG/Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Jorg Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi led a good percentage of the race and were looking to win but had to pit for fuel and gave up their leading position with only a few laps to go. It seems that the crew did not add enough fuel to the car's tank during the stop as Fittipaldi pulled off the track in the final lap and was given a ride back to pit lane by Scott Pruett in his #01 Lexus Riley. Adding to the spectacle of crashes for those at the 2.3-mile road course was a Daytona Prototype car which left the pits with an oil-filling hose still attached to it. It went a lap around the track spraying oil behind it, which probably didn't help track conditions once the rain started to fall.

Pontiac's win in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant helps maintain Pontiac's lead over Lexus in the battle for the manufacturers championship of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and puts Taylor and Angelelli to a 14 point lead in driver points.

Pontiac's two new production-based GTO.R race cars also both had very strong performances today with the #65 TRG car of Marc Bunting and Andy Lally finishing fourth in class and the #64 TRG GTO.R of Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen right behind them in fifth. The cars should only continue to perform better as the air intake restrictor they are required by Grand American to use will be reduced by four millimeters for the next race.

"This was a track that we could have been really quick at, although we had a pretty good run today," said Andy Lally, co-driver of the #65 car. "We have a rather large restrictor on the car right now, and with its reduction by Grand American for the next race we hope to be doing much better. Both cars were great today and we're really looking forward to the Glen with a little more power."

In other GM Racing news this weekend at Barber, Bo Roach and Tom Lepper drove their Franklin American Mortgage-backed Cobalt SS Supercharged to sixth place in Grand-Am Cup competition on Saturday. Close behind them was the Georgian Bay Motorsports/ClearSCADA driven by team owner Jim Holtom, who came into the race leading the points and finished seventh today with co-driver Ed Magner. Seventeen-year old Jamie Holtom (Jim Holtom's son), and co-driver Andy Lally, who also co-drives the GTO.R in the Rolex Series, were tenth in the SCADA Pack entry.

Pontiac will return to action on August 12 at Watkins Glen International for a weekend shared with NASCAR. The race will air on SPEED TV that day at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

-gmracing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Pruett , Andy Lally , Jörg Bergmeister , Marc Bunting , Bo Roach , Michael Shank
Teams Krohn Racing , Michael Shank Racing