Convincing GTS class win & 3rd place overall Fontana, CA - 8 June 2003 PM -- Only 4 cars, out of the 22 starters, finished today's race on the lead lap. All were the new Daytona Prototypes, all except one. The Heritage Mustang GTS (GTS formula...
Convincing GTS class win & 3rd place overall
Fontana, CA - 8 June 2003 PM -- Only 4 cars, out of the 22 starters, finished today's race on the lead lap. All were the new Daytona Prototypes, all except one. The Heritage Mustang GTS (GTS formula instead of "prototype formula) seems to be at the head of its class in carrying the fight to the more nimble prototypes. Team owner and driver, Dave Machavern of South Burlington, Vermont, and engineer/driver, Tommy Riggins of Jacksonville, Florida, brought home the bacon for the second time in five races this season.
A couple of times during today's race did it look as though the number 48 Heritage Mustang might have a realistic shot at the second overall spot, behind the number 58 Porsche prototype team driven by Donohue/Borkowski (David Donohue being the son of legendary Mark Donohue). Once was at around lap 69 (of 89 laps total), but pit stops worked out to allow the 59 Porsche team car to edge into the lead. Looking back, the Heritage team might not have taken 4 tires at its last stop, rather a gas'n-go might have allowed the team to vie for top-spot overall. Secondly, at the race's conclusion and with Tommy Riggins driving, the Mustang seemed to be steadily reeling in the Haywood/France driven number 59 Porsche. Riggins thought he would catch and pass the 59 car, and indeed nudged the Porsche on the twisty infield section with about 15 laps to go. There was some worry in the pits that the nose and cooling of the Mustang would suffer, but the damage was incidental.
Three caution flags did work in favor of the Heritage Motorsports Mustang during the early part of the event. This allowed for refueling and driver changes, of which there were two, Riggins starting and finishing, with Dave Machavern the meat between the bread. Only the final stop came under green. "We had a bit of strategy involved with the yellows," said Machavern. The Heritage team, looking back to Birmingham and Phoenix, seems to be above the curve in yellow flag strategy.
In all the 4 prior Grand American ROLEX races for 2003 there has been no other Mustang competing. Today there was an interloper, a Mustang GTS driven by a Winston Cup road course specialist and hired gun, one Boris Said, along with that car's (number 11) team owner Mike Davis. They did very well early on, briefly leading overall when other cars were pitting. This car was a serious contender for this event, but what seemed a routine pit-stop for the Said/Davis Mustang turned into a 4-lap re-working of engine belts. "That Boris Said car was strong," said Riggins. "He and that Davis fellow had a formidable effort here, but we threw it down for them (speaking of the gas peddle). They raised the bar and we had to leave it down as hard as we could the whole race. We are happy!"
At the green flag the Heritage Mustang was literally nipping at the taillights of the 59 Porsche. The time between second and third being less than a second. In a distant fourth place came the Chevy V8, rear engined Doran chassis Daytona Prototype driven by the Borchellar/Barber team. The Heritage team entered today's race with a GTS class points lead, which this win maintains for them.
Interestingly, all 3 winning cars are based in Jacksonville, Florida - a continent away and on the other end of Interstate 10 from the local of today 's event.
In 5 races this year the Machavern/Riggins duo have won twice (Phoenix and here), grabbing one second place (Birmingham).
Watkins Glen is the next race on the ROLEX series calendar, and happens on the weekend of June 21. Look for a lead-in release as time grows nearer.
TEAM MEMBER CAMEO (second in a series):
Jerry Tobin is part of the "over-the-wall" gang for Heritage Motorsports. Tobin handles the business end of the fueling rig during pit-stops and fills in where needed mechanically and is a fabricating specialist. Jerry works for other racing teams in other series and has his own fabricating business in Daytona, working in just about any material from composites to sheet metal and in all forms of competition, from sail-boating to aviation. Look for another team member profile in the next pre-race report, about a week and a half distant.