sweet podium Terry Borcheller of Gainesville, Ga., scored a valuable podium finish in the May 1 Rolex Sports Car Series race at Laguna Seca Raceway. After developing the first Daytona Prototype car and winning the series championship, the...
Terry Borcheller of Gainesville, Ga., scored a valuable podium finish in the May 1 Rolex Sports Car Series race at Laguna Seca Raceway. After developing the first Daytona Prototype car and winning the series championship, the Bell Motorsports team has struggled to compete with newer cars. Their effort paid off in the two-hour 45-minute race in Monterey, Calif.
Ralf Kelleners of Dusseldorf, Germany, qualified the No. 54 Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Pontiac-Doran JE4 sixth on the 51-car grid with a lap of one minute 25.073 seconds on the 2.238-mile road course. He started the race and moved up to third during pit stops before settling in fifth place. Borcheller took over at 1h40 and passed for third place on the final race restart, just 20 minutes from the finish.
"The team has worked so hard to get the car competitive, it was really sweet. It was one of the happiest podiums I can remember -- it felt like a win," Borcheller said. "Ralf drove a killer first part of the race and we had a really good car. The team really made some big gains with the car. We need to make the same gains again in order to go for wins."
Borcheller had a tough start to the weekend. He qualified the No. 33 Unitech Racing Nissan 350Z second on the Grand-Am Cup grid, but was moved to the back of the field when the car failed technical inspection because it was five pounds overweight. He fought a brake problem from the start and was finally forced off-track when the brakes failed just 27 minutes into the two-hour 30-minute race. His co-driver, Mike Cronin, Jr. of La Verne, Calif., did not drive.
"We had a great qualifying run -- the team did a good job giving me a fast car," he said. "We had signs of an issue with the brakes during practice, but we thought we got it fixed. In the race, I had to work the brakes more than normal because we started at the back. I didn't use them up, but the issue was highlighted by using them so much to pass everyone."
Borcheller fought a viral infection during the race week, but was able to race because of the ministrations of race physician Dr. Vincenzo Tota.
Borcheller will drive the No. 54 Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Pontiac-Doran in a Rolex Sports Car Series race at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant on May 21.