Phoenix: Doran-Lista race report

Doran-Lista finishes second at Phoenix Saturday night PHOENIX, April 20 - The Doran-Lista Racing team couldn't quite keep its three-race winning streak going Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway in the UnitedAuto200 Grand Am Rolex ...

Doran-Lista finishes second at Phoenix Saturday night

PHOENIX, April 20 - The Doran-Lista Racing team couldn't quite keep its three-race winning streak going Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway in the UnitedAuto200 Grand Am Rolex series race, but the Lebanon, Ohio-based team did the next-best thing and finished second.

The Doran-Lista Dallara Judd #27 of Didier Theys of nearby Scottsdale, Ariz. and Fredy Lienhard Jr. of Erlen, Switzerland and Santa Barbara, Calif., crossed the finish line a lap after the Dyson Racing Riley & Scott #16 of James Weaver and Chris Dyson did in the 133-lap race, which took a little more than two hours to complete. The Intersport Lola Judd #37 of Jon Field and Rick Sutherland had to pit for fuel late in the race but still regrouped to finish third.

The Doran-Lista team continues to lead the point standings among the Sports Racing Prototype (SRP) entrants. It now has 105 points to Dyson Racing's 85 and Intersport Racing's 64. Theys still tops the SRP driver standings, 105 points to Chris Dyson's 79 and James Weaver's 77.

Theys was in fourth place when the field took the green flag at 7:05 p.m. but it didn't take long for him to move into third behind the Dyson #16 and the Miracle Motorsports Riley & Scott #6 of Buddy Rice and John Macaluso.

The Dyson car still had the lead after the first round of pitstops, which were done under a full-course yellow to tow in Spencer Pumpelly's Porsche. As soon as the green waved, however, both the Miracle #6 and the Doran-Lista #27 got around him, so the running order on lap 30 was #6, #27 and #16.

That's when things really got exciting.

Lienhard Jr. was in the Doran-Lista #27 on lap 33 when it had a little off-track excursion in turn one that allowed Chris Dyson to move back into second. Lienhard quickly regrouped, however, and passed the Dyson #16 back two laps later to reclaim second place.

Dyson was able to pass Lienhard on lap 38 to regain second and push the Doran-Lista #27 to third. Dyson took the lead from Rice on lap 43 at 7:50 p.m. and that car was never again headed, but at 8:11 p.m. the Doran-Lista #27 had charged back into second place.

The dust and the dirt that was now lodged in the Doran-Lista #27's radiator due to the spin was causing problems with the car's water temperature, however, and at 8:14 p.m. team manager Kevin Doran brought Lienhard in to clean up the radiator and the rest of the car and to get fuel, tires and Theys. The Doran-Lista team lost about two laps during that stop.

Theys was able to make up one of those laps. He was back in third by lap 77 at 8:25 p.m. and in second by 8:33 p.m. before time ran out and the checkered waved.

"It was kind of a difficult race for us, because we had problems with the handling of the car all weekend," Theys said after the race. "We were lacking a little bit of downforce on this type of racetrack, which has very slow corners, not much grip and short straightaways. Our Dallara is designed for a faster track, but the Riley & Scott likes this sort of track.

"We had no major problems during the race, however," Theys continued. "We had a lot of understeer on the car, but Kevin [Doran] changed the tire pressures after my first stint to make the balance of the car better and then it was fine.

"Fredy did a good job in his stint. He had a little off-track excursion though and when I got back into the car the engine got a little hot, so we had to stop to clean the radiator. We lost two laps for that and we finished about a lap behind."

This race will be televised on Speed Channel on a tape-delayed basis on Saturday, April 27 at 5 p.m. EDT.

The next Grand-Am race is the Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on June 21-23.

"Our car will like the Glen better than Phoenix because it's more suited for it," Theys noted.

-dr/lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers James Weaver , Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard , Jon Field , John Macaluso , Buddy Rice , Spencer Pumpelly , Rick Sutherland , Kevin Doran , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing