Banner Pontiac GXP.R Wins Lime Rock Lewis Jr. And Reese Get First Win For New GXP.R Leighton Reese and Paul Lewis Jr. driving the No. 06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R won the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special...
Banner Pontiac GXP.R Wins Lime Rock
Lewis Jr. And Reese Get First Win For New GXP.R
Leighton Reese and Paul Lewis Jr. driving the No. 06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R won the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve GT Classic at Lime Rock Park today. Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards finished fourth and the Racers Edge GXP.R, driven by Drew Staveley and Mark Pavan, finished fifth.
Kelly Collins, in the No. 07 GXP.R, started from third place on the grid and quickly moved up to second, with teammate Leighton Reese following closely in third. On lap 33, of the two-hour-and-forty-five minute race, most of the field came in and served their compulsory pit stops that must be taken before the 45-minute mark. Upon returning to action Kelly Collins was able to take over the lead. Six laps later Collins suffered a flat tire, pitted for new Hoosier rubber and turned the wheel over to Paul Edwards. On lap 62, team owner and driver, Leighton Reese took the lead with a strong passing maneuver into turn one. Completing the laps led count for the new GXP.R GT racers was the No. 30 Racer Edge Pontiac with Drew Staveley behind the wheel when he raced to the point on lap 82.
Tim Lewis Jr. jumped in the No. 06 car after cycling through pits stops at three-quarter distance. The Florida resident proceeded to gap his pursuers by nearly a second a lap, bringing the Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R to the checker for the models first Rolex Series win.
"The car was as good in the race as it was in practice," Lewis Jr. said. "Leighton kept it at the front the whole beginning of the race and that put the pressure on me. On the restart I was able to maintain the lead and run consistent lap times. The engineers and the crew really worked to get us a good race car all through practice and it paid off. The weather conditions were the same as we practiced under and the car was right there the whole race. Great to get my first win in the series and thanks to Leighton and the crew for giving me the opportunity."
"Tim did a great job today," Reese said. "We were able to qualify well and that started the weekend off right. I was able to get out there and lead a few laps and that is a credit to this team and the GXP.R. We had practiced on junk tires, that had a lot of laps on them and that made us put a good race setup under the car. That gave us an edge on managing our tire wear. Tim got in and went out and put in lap times that were fast, getting a gap for the finish and our first win as a team in the series."
The No. 07 Banner GXP.R was able to lead laps early, but contact resulting in a penalty put them out of contention. Paul Edwards was coming into turn one, trying to make up positions, and ran into the side of the No. 30 Racers Edge Pontiac that was being pinched by a Porsche. The Grand-Am officials ruled Edwards' contact was avoidable awarding the Colorado resident a drive-thru penalty.
"It was a tough day for us in the 07," Edwards said. "Kelly had the flat tire early on forcing us to pit under green. I then had to make up positions and got into the 30 car, which is extra tough when it is a fellow Pontiac competitor. I had the penalty that sealed our fate. Congrats to Leighton and Tim, they ran mistake free and were rewarded with the win."
Drew Staveley, a finalist in SPEED Channel's SETUP show, led the first laps for the No. 30 team in Rolex Competition. Mark Pavan was the recipient of Edwards' avoidable contact. Regardless of the incident, Pavan was able to turn fast laps to bring the car home for another top finish in fifth.
"The whole weekend went really well," Staveley said. "The Racers Edge guys did a great job on the car. Mark's lap times were right there as well. I was able to lead some laps today getting by the 06 and that was special for the whole team. It is another top five finish for the No. 30, so a good day."
-credit: gm racing