Phoenix: Race report

Dyson captures first win of season. PHOENIX (April 20, 2002) -- Two-time Rolex Series champions Dyson Racing Team captured its first victory of the season in the UnitedAuto 200 presented by azcentral.com at Phoenix International Raceway tonight.

Dyson captures first win of season.

PHOENIX (April 20, 2002) -- Two-time Rolex Series champions Dyson Racing Team captured its first victory of the season in the UnitedAuto 200 presented by azcentral.com at Phoenix International Raceway tonight. James Weaver and Chris Dyson piloted the team's #16 Thetford/Norcold Ford-powered Riley & Scott to a one-lap lead over the #27 Doran Lista Racing Judd-engined Dallara, snapping the team's and driver Didier Theys' three-race winning streak.

"It feels brilliant (to finally win). I hate being beaten; I don't like losing," Weaver said. "The car ran perfectly. It didn't miss a beat all weekend. The new motor setup was better, definitely easier to drive."

Weaver started the #16 Ford from the pole position for the first time this season. The team led the first 30 minutes and was able to maintain the lead during a flurry of pit stops by all the leading teams during the first caution. Weaver handed the controls over to Dyson during the team's first pit stop, but he was quickly passed on the restart by Buddy Rice, in the #6 Miracle Motorsports Ford Riley & Scott, and Fredy Lienhard Jr., in the #27 Dallara. The 24-year-old driver began to work his way back up and was back in the lead within 15 minutes.

Once back in front, Dyson built a strong lead over the field that the team easily maintained when it pitted to put Weaver back in the car. The Dyson Ford cruised to its first win of the season, marking Weaver's first win in Phoenix and Dyson's first Rolex Series victory.

"This is my first win in a big car. It feels great. We lost a tough one out at California a few weeks ago. This sort of softens that a bit, but I want to do this again," Weaver remarked.

The Doran Dallara finished second overall and last year's winner - the #37 Banana Joe's Judd Lola - took third place in the closing laps. Team owner/driver Jon Field held the third position late in the race until he was forced into the pits for a splash of fuel. That opened the door for the SportsRacing Prototype II-leading #7 Rand Racing Nissan Lola to move into third place overall. But Field's powerful Judd engine was more than the smaller prototype could hold off, and the Banana Joe's machine made the pass for third place with only two laps remaining.

"I just heard over the radio in a lot of static that someone was coming up on me. I thought they said the #47 and I couldn't figure out who the 47 was. I knew we didn't have any other competition in our class," Rand driver Niclas Jonsson said. "I pushed as hard as I could in those last few laps. I think I had the fastest race laps in the last two or three laps. I couldn't do much more in this car, but they are the bigger cars. They are supposed to be faster."

Rand's #7 Lola took the SRPII victory in its debut race after its points-leading sister car - Rand's #8 Nissan Lola - retired from the race with a blown engine on lap seven, ending a four-race winning streak for the car and its lead driver Terry Borcheller.

"Motor just let go coming down the front straight. No warning signs -- from perfect to nothing. It happens; that's racing. We've had a good streak. I'm not complaining. It's just unfortunate for the team," Borcheller commented.

G&W Motorsports #07 Momentum Motorcars BMW-engined Picchio was forced to start at the back of the pack after missing qualifying with electrical problems, but Darren Law charged his way up through the field to run with the class leader. However, the Picchio's troubles returned and the car was forced into the pits for minor repairs and adjustments several times, ending its hopes of a first win.

The GT class held the closest battle of the night as the Scuderia Ferrari of Washington #33 Ferrari 360GT, Crazy Redhead Racing #15 Porsche GT3 R and Bell Motorsports #54 BMW M3 ran within seconds of each other for most of the race, exchanging the lead. The #33 Ferrari was eventually forced out of the race with alternator problems, and the #15 Porsche dropped to third after a driver change, allowing Boris Said to move the #54 BMW into the lead. Said, whose co-driver was unable to make it to the race, was going it alone and credited his crew's quick pit stops with his first win in the series.

The Perspective Racing #24 Mosler MT900R took second place in the class, followed by the Crazy Redhead Porsche.

Flis Motorsports' pair of Corvettes dominated the American GT class for most of the race, with the #09 and #90 entries exchanging the lead several times. As the race drew to a close, Doug Goad held the lead in the #09 Corvette but was struck with transmissions troubles with only 14 laps remaining. He fought to maintain the lead, but was unsuccessful in the final lap with Jim Briody passing him in the team's #90 entry, capturing the car's third-straight win.

The Heritage Motorsports #48 Mustang took third place in the class after starting on the pole position.

Park Place Racing's #5 Saleen S7R earned its third GTS win of the season, this time with its new K&N Filters Racing sponsorship and driver Rodney Mall. It marked the first professional victory for Mall, who raced against the Saleen earlier this year in the #12 Ultima.

The Rolex Sports Car Series will next travel to Watkins Glen International for the 6 Hours of The Glen, part of the Sports Car Grand Prix, June 21-23. Tickets are now on sale for the event online at www.theglen.com.

-grand am-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers James Weaver , Boris Said , Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard , Jon Field , Doug Goad , Terry Borcheller , Darren Law , Buddy Rice , Chris Dyson , Jim Briody
Teams Dyson Racing