Daytona III: Dyson Racing wins season finale

Dyson Racing captures Dark Dog finale victory, third-straight team champion at Daytona. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 10, 2002) - The Dyson Racing Team ...

Dyson Racing captures Dark Dog finale victory, third-straight team champion at Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 10, 2002) - The Dyson Racing Team #16 entry picked up its fifth win of the season at the Dark Dog Grand American Finale at Daytona International Speedway today, earning the team its third-straight Rolex Sports Car Series team championship.

Doran Lista Racing's #27 Judd-engined Dallara entered the race with a five-point lead in the team point standings, but brake trouble resulted in a fourth-place finish for the team. That left Dyson Racing's pair of Ford-powered Riley & Scott cars to battle with the Robinson Racing Judd Riley & Scott for positions on the podium.

The Robinson Racing entry began to fade and finished 33 seconds behind the leader. Butch Leitzinger, in the #20 Ford, held more than a minute lead over his teammate Chris Dyson in the #16 machine with less than 10 minutes remaining in the race. However, Dyson Racing's #16 car had to win the race in order to capture the team championship.

With only minutes remaining in the race, Leitzinger brought the leading #20 Ford into the pits to hand it over to team boss Rob Dyson. Although the elder Dyson made it back onto the racetrack in front of his son, it was no time before the rookie driver was passing his father to capture the win and championship.

"I was planning on getting back into the car at the end. It had nothing to do with where we were and how it would effect the points," said senior Dyson. "I thought that we could get in and out and still keep the lead. I wasn't dogging it out there, or slowing up or waiting for him to pass me. We got in and out as fast as we could with a driver change and tires. We had a little handling problem all day that we were chasing. I got in the car at the end and I was planning on doing that all along. I told the boy's that I'm finishing up this race in my car and that's the way it is."

The fourth-place finish by Doran Lista Racing was good enough for driver Didier Theys to hold onto his lead in the driver point standings, giving him his first Rolex Series crown.

Terry Borcheller and the Rand Racing #8 Nissan-powered Lola clinched the SportsRacing Prototype II driver and team championships after the first lap of the Dark Dog Finale. However, Borcheller's stint behind the wheel of the #8 car was not fruitful, as he was penalized for missing the chicane and dropped well behind his teammates in Rand Racing's #7 Nissan.

However, Niclas Jonsson was clipped by the American GT-leading #46 Corvette of Morgan-Dollar Motorsports as it tried to pass in a turn, resulting in suspension damage to the #7 Nissan that dropped it to second in class. That left Anthony Lazzaro to pilot Rand Racing's #8 machine to its seventh SRPII win of the season.

"It was a bad race for me, but Anthony brought it home today for sure. That's what's so awesome about a really good team," said Borcheller. "(The championship) is not just for the drivers. It goes to the crew guys. It goes to the team owner and the decisions he has to make. It goes to your co-driver. When you have all the right pieces and you got really good people, when one person is not having a good day everybody else carries the ball. That's what happened to us today."

The on-track encounter did little damage to the #46 Corvette of Rob and Charles Morgan, and the father-son duo drove to their second victory of the season together. The win clinched the American GT team championship for the rookie team that also contests a truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"Its always good for me to drive with my son, particularly when we win, particularly when we win GT overall and clinch a team championship. Rob did everything I just kind of drove it home. He put it in the lead, and we had a good solid lead, so all I had to do was hold on to it. We had a great day today, a great car and a great co-driver," said the elder Morgan.

Kerry Hitt wrapped up the AGT driver championship after his first lap, but was unable to go the distance after his ACP Motorsports #19 Corvette fell victim to transmission trouble that took it out of contention for the team title.

Scuderia Ferrari of Washington entered the Dark Dog Finale with a firm grasp on the GT points lead thanks to its five-race winning streak. While the winning streak came to an end in the Finale, the team and drivers Cort Wagner and Bill Auberlen captured the GT team and driver championships with their sixth-place finish in the class.

The Perspective Motorsports #24 Mosler MT900 R led the class early in the race, but suffered mechanical problems at the midway point that put it out of the race. That allowed the ACEMCO Motorsports #26 Porsche GT3 R to move into the GT lead, where it built a strong lead over the G&W Motorsports #81 Porsche.

However in the closing laps of the race, the leading ACEMCO Porsche was hit by the #33 Ferrari, diminishing its lead in the class. With only two laps remaining, Darren Law was able to maneuver the #81 Porsche into the lead for the win.

"I'm a little frustrated. This whole team has worked so hard this year being a new team and we've come a long way. The whole crew just prepped an excellent car, and I think that we showed here that we are out there and we should be taken seriously," said ACEMCO driver B.J. Zacharias, who was in the car when it spun.

The Konrad Motorsports #31 Saleen S7R led the GTS class for the first half of the race before an off-track excursion through the grass in the chicane sent the car into the pits for several laps, allowing the Graham Nash Motorsports #85 Saleen to pick up its first win in the series.

The Rolex Series will kick off the 2003 season at Daytona International Speedway with the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Tickets are currently on sale on the Speedway website at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Additional information about the Rolex Series may be found online at www.grandamerican.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Didier Theys , Bill Auberlen , Rob Dyson , Anthony Lazzaro , Terry Borcheller , Darren Law , Charles Morgan , Kerry Hitt , Chris Dyson , Cort Wagner
Teams Dyson Racing