PHOENIX (April 22) -- Late substitute Irv Hoerr took the lead with only three laps remaining in Saturday evening's Sun Automotive 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, and went on to win the second event of the inaugural Grand American Road...
PHOENIX (April 22) -- Late substitute Irv Hoerr took the lead with only three laps remaining in Saturday evening's Sun Automotive 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, and went on to win the second event of the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association season. Starting driver Jack Baldwin joined Hoerr the Peoria, Ill. veteran in the Robinson Racing Informix Riley & Scott, which was powered by a borrowed Judd engine.
Team owner George Robinson took ill on Friday and was unable to drive in the 200-mile event on the 1.51-mile road course. He called on Hoerr, a six-time IMSA/SportsCar champion, who flew to Phoenix from his home in Peoria, Ill. Hoerr took over from Baldwin on lap 72, and drove the final 61 circuits.
"This was a real tough week for us," said Baldwin. "We went through two motors and we had to fix the transmission. The Robinson Racing team worked hard all week."
The winning team won with an engine borrowed from Kevin Doran's Lista team. Hoerr blew the engine six hours prior to the start of the race, and the team struggled to find a motor before Doran stepped in to loan his backup Judd engine.
Baldwin and Hoerr averaged 89.135 mph in the race, which was slowed by only two caution flags. Mimmo Schiattarella and Ralf Kellners finished second, 48 seconds behind, in the Team Risi Ferrari 333SP after qualifying 21st.
James Weaver and Andy Wallace dominated the race in the Dyson Racing Ford/Riley & Scott, but a cut tire late in the race forced an unscheduled pit stop. Wallace recovered to finish third, followed by the Lista Doran Special/Judd of Fredy Leinhard and Didier Theys, and the late entered Hybrid Racing Riley & Scott/Ford of Mark Simo and Chris Bingham.
The Archangel Racing Chevrolet Magnum duo of Larry Oberto and Ryan Hampton were awarded the victory in the new SportsRacer Lights class when the Mazda Kudzu of Rich Grupp and Dennis Spencer was disqualified for an air box violation. Oberto and Hampton finished 10th overall, just ahead of Martin Snow and Stu Hayner in the Snow/Schumacher Nissan Lola, which developed an engine miss late in the race.
The Saleen/Allen Speedlab Ford Saleen of Ron Johnson and Terry Borcheller won the GTO class, finishing ninth overall. Other class winners were Rick Fairbanks and Bill Auberlen in GTU, driving the Genesis Racing BMW M3, and Craig Conway and Doug Goad in American GT, driving the Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Camaro.
The Grand-Am series next travels to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the May 5-7 Grand-Am Miami 250. For additional information, visit the official web site, www.grand-am.com.