Fontana, CA -- The HRPWorld.com Racing team took home their second straight second as Acura scored another 1-2 finish in their march towards the 2002 Grand Am Cup Sports Touring II Manufacturers Championship. In qualifying on Friday, Wayne ...
Fontana, CA -- The HRPWorld.com Racing team took home their second straight second as Acura scored another 1-2 finish in their march towards the 2002 Grand Am Cup Sports Touring II Manufacturers Championship.
In qualifying on Friday, Wayne Nonnamaker put the #41 King Motorsports Acura Integra LS on the outside row of the STII grid.
"The car was really hooked," commented Nonnamaker after qualifying. "I just never got a clean lap to challenge for the pole. I am not sure if we had enough to get first, but I would have liked to have had a clean shot at the pole."
After qualifying, the HRPWorld.com Racing team had all day Saturday to prepare the #41 and #42 King Motorsports Integras for the Sunday morning race. On Sunday morning, the Grand Am Cup endurance race ran as a preliminary race to the Indy Racing League, which meant that as the race was finishing up, the thousands of fans that were coming to see the IRL race were filling the stands.
It looked like the race might run with very little caution as there were a lot of run off areas off the track. However, it only took three laps before the first caution flag to appear for a wrecked car. On that first caution, the #41 King Motorsports Integra pitted to put Will Nonnamaker in the driver's seat, replacing younger brother Wayne. The #42 Integra stayed out on the track with Tony Nuzzo at the wheel.
A little over half an hour into the race, Nuzzo had contact with the #88 Ford Focus and was forced to pit when the car started behaving like it had a cut right front tire. The HRPWorld.com Racing team took advantage of the unplanned pitstop to put finishing driver Don Velcio in the car, change tires, and put fuel in the car.
The track was green for the next 30 minutes of the race until a yellow with only half an hour to go in the race bunched the field up again. The #41 King Motorsports Integra ducked into the pits to change tires and relieve Will Nonnamaker for a fresh and rested Wayne Nonnamaker.
Things got exciting as the race went back to green. Wayne was running down the second place #5 and third place #05 Miatas but with time running out in the race, it didn't look as if the two Miatas could be caught. The three exchanged fastest race laps, and on the final lap, Nonnamaker caught the two Miatas. Coming off the California Speedway banking and into the infield, Nonnamaker got the first Miata under braking. Coming off the last turn of the infield section, Nonnamaker got a run on the #5 Miata with Charles Epsenlaub driving. Coming down the front straight towards the finish line, Nonnamaker pulled alongside and as they were going across the finish line, the #41 King Motorsports Integra took the second place spot by only three feet or 0.017 of a second.
"That was as exciting as it gets," said Nonnamaker! "Charles and I ran clean through the whole race, and he was real fun to race against. Of course in the car I had to think I could pass both third and second on that lap, but realistically, I was just hoping to get third. The crew did an amazing job all day long on our pitstops, and these cars ran faultlessly."
The next stop for the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series is Phoenix International Raceway, April 18-20. The series will race twin 250-mile races, separating the Grand Sport and Sport Touring fields for the first time.