Phoenix: Grand Touring race report

Edwards and Magnussen Record Second Win of 2005 Season in Phoenix GT 250 PHOENIX (September 9, 2005) -- Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen, who debuted their No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in July and won the...

Edwards and Magnussen Record Second Win of 2005 Season in Phoenix GT 250

PHOENIX (September 9, 2005) -- Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen, who debuted their No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in July and won the next race at Watkins Glen, claimed their second victory of the season in convincing fashion in the Phoenix GT 250 under the lights Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Edwards and Magnussen, running in just their third race together this season, finished 36.036 seconds ahead of their closest competitors, Tom Milner and Kelly Collins in the No. 21 F1 Air BMW M3.

"We were a lot faster on the banking, and the BMWs seemed to be going pretty wide," Edwards said. "We were able to hold it tight and get a run out of there. We started out on scrubbed tires, and I overshot it a bit on the first couple laps, expecting too much from them. The balance of the tires came back and I was able to charge forward and give the car to Jan with the lead."

Edwards qualified the No. 64 machine on the pole position--the Pontiac GTO.R's first-ever pole--and led the first 27 laps of the race. Joey Hand, driving the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3 that finished third with Ian James, battled with Edwards for the lead in the last few turns of Lap 27 before taking it outright in Turn 2 of the following lap. Edwards regained the lead on Lap 49 before ending his stint on Lap 80 out in front.

With the No. 64 Pontiac and No. 16 BMW on pit road, Collins took BMW Team PTG's No. 21 machine to the front of the pack until Lap 100, leading the field by seven seconds at one point in the run. The No. 64 Pontiac, driven by Magnussen and clearly the fastest car on the track, charged back to the front and took the lead for good heading into Turn 1.

"It was a good stint," said Collins. "They told me (Magnussen) was closing in, and that it was inevitable that he was going to get me. We ran a good race, and Tom did an excellent job in the beginning."

By the time the race was over, Edwards had led 58 of the 80 laps during his stint, Magnussen led 52 of the 72 laps he was on the track, and the No. 64 machine crossed the finish line with only the No. 21 car on the lead lap.

"The track suited the car very well," said Magnussen. "Before the race, (team owner) Kevin (Buckler) talked to me about saving the tires. It was a key to the win, and we needed to stay on the same pace. We didn't have any problems with the car, and I thought it was quite an easy race -- a really good race."

The 152-lap race ran without a full-course caution -- the first caution-free Rolex Series race since the 2002 season finale at Daytona -- and was the only GT class stand-alone event of the season. TRG's other new GTO.R, the No. 65 machine driven by Marc Bunting and Andy Lally, led one lap during the pit stop cycle and finished fourth after qualifying eighth. Craig Stanton, the GT points leader coming into the race, co-drove the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup with David Murry to a fifth-place finish. Stanton's streak of top-six finishes this season was extended to 11.

With the runner-up finish, Milner recorded his sixth podium result in the last eight races. He won with Bill Auberlen at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Round 4, and took the class victory with Collins at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago.

"Our race was pretty uneventful," said Milner. "I got held up at the beginning of the race by a couple cars, but I cut the gap with the lead cars and I was saving tires, which paid off in the end. The car was okay all weekend, but in the race, the car was the best it's been. That's two weeks in a row that I've seen the car at its best in the race."

Stanton leaves Phoenix still atop the GT class standings with 304 points with three races remaining on the calendar. Hand's third place finished moved him one point ahead of Murry for second place (287-286), while Lally and Bunting are tied for fourth at 283.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , David Murry , Bill Auberlen , Kelly Collins , Andy Lally , Craig Stanton , Marc Bunting