Phoenix, AZ - The weekend began very well for the USFilterÂ® Planet Earth Motorsports team. They took the pole in the super competitive Motorola Cup C2K class with their ...
Phoenix, AZ - The weekend began very well for the USFilter® Planet Earth Motorsports team. They took the pole in the super competitive Motorola Cup C2K class with their #41 Comptech Acura Integra GS-R with the 1999 Motorola Cup Touring Champion Will Nonnamaker behind the wheel. Will was very pleased with the close racing in the class, and specifically Nonnamaker was very pleased with the performance of Paul Rossi, the Motorola Cup Technical Director. "It looks like Rossi has done the job correct, because we have three makes of cars in the class within a quarter of a second of each other. I feel Saturday's race won't be won by the fastest car, but by the smartest driver with the smartest team behind him. Saturday is Earth Day, and it would be a great thing to bring the Planet Earth Motorsports gojo Acura Integra GS-R home first."
The GOJO® Chevrolet Corvette C5 driven by Bill Pate qualified seventh in a strong Super Grand Sports class that saw Porsches, Dodge Vipers, Corvettes, and Saleen Mustangs battling for the top spot. Joe Nonnamaker, Pate's co-driver and the team owner, was please with the seventh place starting spot, and looked forward to a good race on Saturday. " The car was running very well. The car is very different to drive than anything I've driven before. It teaches you a new respect for horsepower."
When the race came around, Dick Starita and Wayne Nonnamaker started the Comptech Acura Integra GS-Rs. Joe Nonnamaker started the Corvette. The race was just settling into a nice pace when the #41 Integra, driven by 21 year old Wayne Nonnamaker, began to have difficulties with its transmission. A quick pit stop just past the one hour point of the three hour timed event fixed the car so it was drivable, and allowed the team to put pole sitter Will Nonnamaker in the car. When Will Nonnamaker got into the car he was sitting in eighth place in class. By the end of the race, Nonnamaker had clawed his way back up to fifth in the class.
During this time, the #42 car was making a stellar run to the front of the pack. When Starita relinquished the driving controls to Paul Dubinsky he had moved up to second place. When Dubinsky rejoined the pack, he was running in third place. A few untimely yellows moved Dubinsky back to fourth, and the chase for third was on. Dubinsky ran lap after lap in pursuit of the #6 Hyundai Motorsports effort. On the final lap, Dubinsky had managed to come within one car length of placing himself and Starita on the podium in third place, but it wasn't to be their day.
The #43 GOJO® Corvette started seventh and was running a steady pace when a black flag was displayed for the car to make a stop-and-go for passing under the yellow, an incident the driver and team don't recall. The Corvette came in to make its scheduled pit stop, and the following lap served their stop-and-go penalty. The extra stop put the team five laps behind the leaders, and Pate, who took driving duties over for [Joe] Nonnamaker, was running to the finish. In the end, Pate brought the car home to a seventh place finish. "This car is a blast to drive out there. The track is a nice track, and traffic played a very major role in our race. With fifty cars out there, it is very difficult to pass unless you are one or two seconds faster than the car you are trying to overtake," said the finishing driver, Pate.
The team will make its next stop at Homestead Motorspeedway on May 5-7. For coverage of the event, please tune in to TheRaceSite.com, Your North American Sports Car Racing Source.