Phoenix: Dunlop race summary

Dunlop durability key to victory at Phoenix. PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 23, 2002) - If the UnitedAuto 200 at Phoenix International Raceway proved anything, it was that good tire strategy can be a key to victory and dependable Dunlop tires can win ...

Dunlop durability key to victory at Phoenix.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 23, 2002) - If the UnitedAuto 200 at Phoenix International Raceway proved anything, it was that good tire strategy can be a key to victory and dependable Dunlop tires can win races.

Nick Jonsson and Marino Franchitti teamed to win the SRP II class in what was the fourth race of the 2002Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. Boris Said drove the distance by himself to win the GT class. Victory went to teams banking on Dunlop durability as each of the winning cars went the 133-lap distance around the 1.51-mile PIR road course with just one pit stop.

Jonsson and Franchitti, driving a Nissan Lola for Rand Racing, took the class lead for the first time just 12 minutes into the race. The duo led the class battle for the remainder of the event and moved as high as second in the overall scoring late in the event before finishing fourth in the field of 26 cars.

"We found a very good set up the first day we were here," said Jonsson. "You really have to set the car up to make the tires last the whole stint."

During the final half hour, Jonsson battled the Intersport Racing SRP class entry for third place overall. "I pushed as hard as I could in those last few laps," Jonsson said.

The SRP class is for the most powerful prototype race cars. The SRP II class includes slightly less powerful prototype cars.

Franchitti, the brother of CART driver Dario, set a track record for SRP II cars in qualifying when he turned a lap of 56.339 seconds (96.487 miles per hour). He said after the race, "We got the pole position, fastest lap and won the race. How could it be any better?"

Said, driving a BMW M3 for Bell Motorsports, pitted just after the halfway point and was the only driver in the field to go the distance by himself.

"In the beginning I was hard on the front tires," said Said. "On the second run, the tires were perfect. I adjusted my driving style and pushed the rear tires."

Said's victory came after a terrific race at the front of the GT field. He took the lead on the 100th lap.

Like Jonsson and Franchitti, Said was happy with the tires on his car.

"It's a great tire," Said said. "I think it's good that they have a spec tire. In some series they run a spec tire and the thing is hard. I'm sure these would be competitive if (other tire companies) were running here too."

For additional information on the complete line of Dunlop automotive, truck, motorcycle and racing tires, visit online at www.dunlop.com, or contact the company at P.O. Box 1109, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240-1109, or toll free at (800) 321-2136.

-dunlop/le-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Marino Franchitti