Haywood/France survived Phoenix for the win

Grand American Rolex Series repeat winners for the 2003 season, Hurley Haywood and J.C. France survived the early "street fight" to take the Phoenix International Raceway win. The Brumos Racing ...

Grand American Rolex Series repeat winners for the 2003 season, Hurley Haywood and J.C. France survived the early "street fight" to take the Phoenix International Raceway win. The Brumos Racing #59 Porsche-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype duo won the March Homestead event and have now extended their point lead.

"With a team like Brumos, it should be expected to win," race winner France said. "They are so professional and add a teammate like Haywood, what can you say."

The final lap for second overall was as exciting as the opening move in the race. Two GT class cars were in a battle in the final minutes. Bell Motorsports held the lead for the majority of the last laps over the Scuderia Ferrari until the final turns on the last lap when the Ferrari took the position.

The race started with a move by Terry Borcheller over the polesitter David Donohue going into the first turn. With the lead, the Bell Motorsports No. 54 Daytona Prototype Chevy Doran held off the hard charging Donohue, but not for long. Donohue put the Brumos No. 58 Porsche Fabcar back in the lead on lap two.

Following and waiting to pounce in the early going were Darren Law, No. 8 G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio, and the Brumos No. 59 driven by Haywood. The four DPs were racing in the early going as if each lap was the final one for the win. And this was just the beginning of a two-hour forty-five minute or 166 laps, whichever came first, endurance race.

Mistakes changed the complexion of the race, not one of the top four were spared. In the end Borcheller came out the leader and held the lead for most of the first hour (total 39 laps). Most effective was Law who had to make an early pitstop.

The fastest time for the first hour was laid down by Donohue (59.777 seconds) on lap 20 traveling at 90.938 mph. The speed made up for a slight mistake in the early going by taking the lead on lap 63.

Mixing in the top five overall was the early GTS leader is No. 48 Heritage Motorsports Mustang. During the driver change, a miscue in the pits cost them time; however they kept the class lead. Second in the first hour mark was the No. 72 Jack Lewis Porsche GT3 followed by Mosler No. 31 MT900R.

On lap 66, the team Brumos cars, traded the lead on and off between Haywood and Donohue prior to the driver change pit stops. Mike Borkowski took over for Donohue who made a surprise early stop.

"I got a little foolish," commented Donohue upon exiting the car. "I went side-by-side with Terry [Borcheller] and we had minor touching until we both spun and the damage from the hit caused damage to the left front [tire rub]."

Borkowski came back into pits due to smoke in the cockpit from the ongoing tire rub before returning to the track.

Boris Barber replaced Borcheller and France took the wheel from Haywood; both teams had problems during their pitstops.

"It was a great race, we had a lot of fun," stated Borcheller. "Everyone's working so hard. Had on and off bumping between Brumos car and myself. I may have nosed in and we ended up in spins. Darren [Law} and I traded a bit too."

"Well that is what 30 years of experience can do for you (on remaining calm)," commented the legendary Haywood. "You have to know when to push and shove, there was a lot of that going on out there. I just sat back and watched it all and picked by spot."

First full-course caution came out for the ChevyLeavy.com Racing Team No. 18 Camaro who was stopped on track.

Leader Law had to come in due to no headlights, rule is one headlight and one tail light must be on. Law was blacked flagged and the team used a flashlight to send Andy Lally back out on track.

"We cannot run without lights," Law commented about the black flag. "I have no idea what happened."

On the earlier race bumping, Law stated: "Yep, earlier we were getting each other out there, someone would get me, I would get them. Heck, we were having fun out there."

Leader back to green was France and the only DP in the top four as second-place Borkowski returned to the pits for continuing problems.

No. 33 GT Scuderia Ferrari of Washington was in second overall, first in class. The second GT was the No. Bell Motorsports BMW M3 followed by the leader in GTS, No. 48 Heritage Motorsports.

The second-place DP and fifth overall was Barber, two-laps down from the leader.

Looking like repeat winners this season, the Brumos No. 59 was clearly in the lead when France slowed and was off the pace on lap 115. The Haywood/France duo won the Homestead event.

Brumos' Bob Snodgrass commented about the team's chance for the possible back-to-back event win. "We had Hurley [Haywood] with us since the beginning, and young France is doing a good job. We put him [France] in a pressure situation at Homestead and again now."

With just over 15 minutes left in the race, the second full course caution came out which allowed some teams to change drivers, put on fresh tires for the final run for positions.

"Jamie [France] is doing a good job so we will leave him out for the finish," stated Haywood on the sprint for the win.

Green flag waved with ten minutes left, France just had to maintain his pace and bring the Brumos Racing Daytona Prototype home.

The top five overall were No. 59 Brumos DP, No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari GT, No. 5 Bell Motorsports GT, No. 48 Heritage Motorsports GTS, and the No. 58 Brumos DP.

Phoenix race results

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Terry Borcheller , Darren Law , Mike Borkowski , Jack Lewis , Bob Snodgrass , J.C. Fra