Field, Gavin Capture First-Ever Victory @Hiskey Makes Record Books as First Female Class Winner PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 21, 2001) - It was a night full of surprises at Phoenix International Raceway for the running of the Sun Automotive 200 tonight.
Field, Gavin Capture First-Ever Victory @Hiskey Makes Record Books as First Female Class Winner
PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 21, 2001) - It was a night full of surprises at Phoenix International Raceway for the running of the Sun Automotive 200 tonight. In a desert known for its brutally hot and dry climate, it rained. And just when the radar looked as though it would clear, more appeared on the horizon. However the Dyson Racing Team's Ford Riley & Scott managed to stay in the lead. Although several cars took their turn in the front of the pack, the #16 Dyson car always found its way back to the lead.
But as the rain grew harder, the #37 Intersport Racing Judd Lola stayed hot on the heels of the leader waiting to pounce. Puddles formed on the racetrack, and race officials brought out the first caution of the night due to standing water on the track. Although jet driers tried to clean the water, the rain grew harder and eventually forced a red flag.
Upon the restart it was a fight between Butch Leitzinger in the Dyson car and Oliver Gavin in the Intersport car. Gavin wove through lap traffic to catch the #16 Riley & Scott, but Leitzinger was managing to hold him off when the second caution of the night came out when a car stalled on the track. Realizing the tight time restraints, as the three-hour time limited grew closer, race officials cleared the car quickly allowing the track to go green again with 10 minutes remaining. However the rain had cleared, increasing the speeds, and it appeared the race would be able to finish on laps, rather than time.
Gavin began his pursuit of Leitzinger once again and as the two went into a hairpin turn at turn nine, Gavin dove lower than Leitzinger expected and the #16 spun out of control without being touched. The #37 Lola took the lead and the #16 Riley & Scott regained control and attempted to catch up. Although he grew close to the Lola, Leitzinger was unable to pass Gavin as he took the checkered flag for Intersport Racing's first-ever victory. Last years' winners, the #74 Robinson Racing team, took third place.
In another historic moment, Kim Hiskey crossed the finish line to capture the GT class victory with co-driver Randy Pobst. The pair piloted the Fordahl Motorsports/Crazy Redhead Racing Porsche GT3 RS to a strong lead from start to finish, losing it only briefly to the #57 Seikel Motorsports Porsche that eventually retired due to a leaky radiator.
Phoenix-native Darren Law and Matt Drendel took second in the GT class for G&W Motorsports, while another Phoenix native, Terry Borcheller, and Toney Jennings finished third in the JET Motorsports BMW M3.
The GTS class saw the Dodge Viper's first victory of the season, as Muzzy Motorsports' Ritch Marziale, of Mesa, Ariz., and Erik Messley outlast the #5 Saleen of Fordahl Motorsports. Although the Saleen held a strong early lead, a faulty lug nut on the right rear tire reeked havoc on the team, sending driver Chris Bingham onto the track with three dry slick tries and one rain tire at one point. Although the problem was eventually corrected, it cost the team lead and eventual win. The #99 Schumacher Racing Porsche GT1 finished third, only three seconds behind the #5 Saleen.
The Archangel Motorsport Services team's quest for its first 1-2 finish was doomed before the race even started tonight, as the top qualifier in the SportsRacing Prototype II class, the #21 Nissan Lola, stalled while exiting the pits to take its grid position with gearbox problems. The race started while the crew of the #21 struggled to repair the car that still sat in the pits. It was nearly an hour into the race before the Andy Lally was able to take the #21 onto the track. Archangel's #22 Nissan Lola, which was able to start the race, was unable to ever pass Porschehaus Racing's #89 Nissan Lola, as the team took its first victory of the season.
The Flis Motorsports Team X-1R Corvette found its way to Victory Lane for its second-straight race despite radiator problems. Although the #09 Corvette started in the front of the American GT class, it had to pit early in the race with radiator overheating problems. The team removed the cars hood in an effort to cool things down, but after only one lap brought it behind the wall for repairs. But the #09 returned to the track and the other AGT cars also suffered difficulties, allowing it to retake the lead for its second win of the season. The #85 Comer Racing team finished second, while the #11 Hamilton Safe Motorsports team was third.
The Sun Automotive 200 was broadcast live on Speedvision, and will be re-broadcast on Sunday at noon ET. The next stop on the Rolex Sports Car Series will be in Watkins Glen for the Six Hours at The Glen in May.