Rolex Series Points Battles Tighten Up After Miami 250 Said Closes on Auberlen in GT; Porsche Clinches SGS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 21, 2004) -- One Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series title has already been clinched and the ...
Rolex Series Points Battles Tighten Up After Miami 250
Said Closes on Auberlen in GT; Porsche Clinches SGS
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 21, 2004) -- One Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series title has already been clinched and the Daytona Prototype drivers championship and other series battles are as close as they have been all season following this past weekend's Miami 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Miami 250 was Round 9 of the 12-race 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series but that was enough for Porsche to clinch the Super Grand Sports (SGS) class manufacturers with a perfect race win record to date. After nine-consecutive victories, Porsche has built an insurmountable 130-point lead over Chevrolet (312-182) with only 105 points available in the year's final trio of races. The legendary German marque will also go in the history books as the only Rolex Series SGS manufacturer champions as the division will be merged with the GT category next season.
All class front-runners experienced trouble during the Miami 250 in the other Rolex Series championship battles, allowing the drivers, teams and manufacturers lurking in second place to gain ground heading into the final three races of the season. In the premier Daytona Prototype category, a scant 11 points now separates the top four drivers in the championship, the closest the points race has been all season.
Daytona Prototype co-points leaders Max Papis and Scott Pruett, who share the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, finished a season-low 10th in the Miami 250, and as a result, their points lead has been cut to just eight points over Wayne Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley (265-257). Taylor and teammate Max Angelelli finished second in Miami.
On the strength of his second win of the year, No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford driver Andy Wallace, maintained his fourth place-position but closed to within three points of Taylor. His co-driver, Milka Duno, is fifth with 237 points, while Angelelli is sixth, three points behind Duno.
No. 27 Doran-Lista Racing Lexus Doran driver Didier Theys is seventh with 228 markers, and No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing driver Jimmy Morales is eighth (223 points). Terry Borcheller, driver of the No. 54 Kodak Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran is ninth with 216 points, and No. 81 Rx.com G&W Motorsports BMW Doran driver Cort Wagner rounds out the top 10 with 213 points.
The No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team remains first in the team standings with 265 points. The second-place run at Miami moved the No. 10 SunTrust Racing team to within eight points of the leader, while the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports team is third with 245 points. In the manufacturer standings, Pontiac has a five point lead over Lexus (299-294). Porsche and BMW are tied for third with 215 points.
Both the No. 21 and No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMWs ran into difficulties during the Miami 250, ending BMW's win streak at seven consecutive races. Bill Auberlen, driver of the No. 21, was still able to hold onto the GT points lead but now has just a one-point advantage over PTG teammate Boris Said. Chris Gleason, Ian James and RJ Valentine, co-drivers of the No. 66 The Racer's Group Porsche, finished second in the GT class over the weekend and now trail Auberlen by only 21 points.
Auberlen's co-driver Justin Marks is sixth with 245 points. No. 67 The Racer's Group Porsche driver and team owner Kevin Buckler, who finished first in the GT class in this past weekend's race, is seventh with 241 points. Said's teammate in the No. 22 Joey Hand is eighth (220 points), and Stephen Earle and Emil Assentato, co-drivers of the No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Maserati round out the top 10 with 219 points.
In the GT team standings, the No. 21 PTG team continues to lead the No. 66 The Racer's Group team (278-261). The No. 22 PTG team is third with 241 points. BMW now leads Porsche by just one point in the manufacturer point standings (287-286). Maserati is third with 224 points.
While Porsche wrapped up the SGS manufacturers title, one of the teams that helped them clinch the crown faltered for the first time this season at Miami. Co-points leaders Andy Lally and Marc Bunting, drivers of the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche, finished outside the top three for the first time this season. The No. 38 machine experience trouble early in the race, but the duo was able to hold on to its points lead. TPC teammate Michael Levitas trails by just 16 points after his class win in the Miami 250 (278-262).
No. 37 TPC Racing driver John Littlechild is fourth with 255 points, while Wayne Nonnamaker, driver of the No. 41 Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche is fifth with 241 points. Teammate Joe Nonnamaker is sixth (236), No. 47 Michael Baughman Racing Porsche driver Bob Ward is seventh (213 points), while Ward's co-driver Michael Baughman is eighth two points back. Randy Pobst, Levitas' teammate in the No. 36 Porsche, in ninth with 209 points. Jean Francois Dumoulin fills out the top 10 with 170 points.
In SGS team standings, the No. 38 TPC Racing team remains first with 278. The No. 41 Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports currently stands second with 245 markers, followed by the No. 36 TPC Racing in third with 230.