CARNAGE IN ALABAMA. Grand Am Cup time at Barber Motorsports Park and a top ten finish for the CTS V Powell team. Costly penalties for the Powell team cars, combined with a record number of caution periods due to wrecked cars spoil a stronger ...
CARNAGE IN ALABAMA.
Grand Am Cup time at Barber Motorsports Park and a top ten finish for the CTS V Powell team. Costly penalties for the Powell team cars, combined with a record number of caution periods due to wrecked cars spoil a stronger finish.
It's beyond the half way point to the 2005 season, four races remaining, one the very next week-end in Quebec Canada. With a staggering number of crashed cars and record number of track-side penalties, fans and crew members of Grand Am Cup racing must be wondering if the race drivers were touched by the hot Alabama sun. Or was it the moon?
So many of the cars racing in Grand Am Cup are seriously damaged, for so little reason, Grand American officials and hardworking race team crew members are surely scratching their heads. The Powell team leader is not a happy guy.
"We took some penalties for dumb moves," said team leader John Powell, "it was quite surprising . I didn't expect Don Knowles (lead off driver in the #11 car) to pass under the caution flag, and Norm Guindon in the 07 hit another car. This is uncharacteristic.; both drivers know better."
The good news, if there can be any in a race event with unprecedented crash damage, is that the Cadillacs were closer to the front than they have been all year. Don Knowles took a penalty as he attempted a pass, but it was a pass for the lead into corner 1.
"Not good when you pass under the caution right under the noses of the officials in the control tower" observed Powell. "especially when we had good track position. A drive through penalty costs an additional 20 to 30 seconds on the lap time, and in this competitive field of 60 cars or so, you just cant give it away like that.
"I didn't see the flag station" quipped Don Knowles, " but the drive through penalty I got was not as costly as the damage to the #11 car later in the race. T boned once again by a Ford, that makes it two times this year. But whatever, Devon got the car back into the top ten. I will do better next time"
The #07 Chemcraft Cadillac racing with Comet Chemical and Richelieu Hardware fared better than the #11 car this race. That in spite of even more costly penalties to the #07 car. Norm Guindon was having his best race this season when he tangled with another car in the heat of the moment and took a one minute visit to the pit stop penalty box; right after that Norm pitted with a suspected flat front tire.
"Norm was driving very well here" said Powell, " but once again penalties were a problem. The #07 car went a lap down. But when Marc Antoine took over the #07 car, he did not give up, and luckily got his lap back with a `wave by' during one of the caution periods. That worked to our advantage."
There were some very fast pit stops by the Powell team. Team member John Beitz replaced team leader John Powell for over the wall wheel changes, letting Powell do some spotting from around the track. It all worked. The pit work enabled the #11 car crawled back from nowhere to 13th at the end, and #07 had their second best result of the year, from a lap down in 38th place to 9th.
"Marc Antoine drove a phenomenal race considering that he drove 50 laps, and a fine top ten result was his just reward." said Norm Guindon at the end of the race. " my race was caught up with other cars, and I really did not mean to get into the #16 car. It was not intentional, and I took the penalty."
At the closing laps the Powell team cars circulated in 10 and 14th, swapping fast times, and took some joy when they were elevated in the final results, as several cars were penalized for rough driving, and the winning Porsche was tossed out of the race in technical inspection for an illegal engine. A strange end to a strange week end of racing.
Devon Powell says it was the moon.