Powell Motorsports returns to victory lane at California's Grand-Am Cup 250. FONTANA, Calif. (March 24, 2002) -- Defending series champions Powell Motorsports returned to Victory Lane today after winning the Grand-Am Cup 250 on California...
Powell Motorsports returns to victory lane at California's Grand-Am Cup 250.
FONTANA, Calif. (March 24, 2002) -- Defending series champions Powell Motorsports returned to Victory Lane today after winning the Grand-Am Cup 250 on California Speedway's new road course. The #11 Sunoco/Encompass Corvette battled for the lead early in the race, but dropped as low as eighth place after a pit stop. However, the powerful Chevy engine pulled the #11 entry back to the front for the team's first win of the season.
Devon Powell started the race lined up on the outside pole beside Darren Law in the G&W Motorsports #01 Jennifer Fund Porsche GT3 Cup. The pair of Grand Sport I cars battled for the lead throughout the first half of the race, until Powell brought the Corvette into the pits to hand the reigns over to Doug Goad.
"That Porsche can certainly make up ground on us in the infield. We are lucky that the road course portion ended where it did, and we were able to get back onto the oval," Powell admitted.
After the team's second pit stop under caution for fuel, Goad came back onto the track in eighth place overall. But as soon as the green flag dropped, Goad dropped low in the trioval to jump back into the top-three overall. "It's a big race track, and we used it all," Goad joked in Victory Lane. Slowly he picked off the other Grand Sport I cars in front of him to reclaim his position as the leader, where he stayed for the remainder of the race.
The #66 SpeedSource Porsche GT3 Cup slid into second-place behind the Corvette, and was soon joined in the top three by Speedsource's second GS I entry, the #70 Porsche, when it passed the #76 Doncaster Racing Porsche with only five laps remaining.
For the second-straight race, the Grand Sport II class gave race fans an exciting finish. After leading for most of the second half, Max Q Motorsports' #56 Tradition/Zippo Mustang Cobra R was trying to hold off a serious threat from the second-place #26 Budget Rent A Car Mustang of Snipes Ford Motorsports in the final laps. With only three laps remaining the #26 Mustang tried to make a pass on the banking, but ended up getting into the #56 Mustang, sending them both off course.
An angered Nick Longhi quickly exited his #56 Mustang and ran over to the Snipes Ford Mustang to voice his disapproval of the pass attempt just as Bell Motorsports' #54 Performance Friction Brakes BMW M3 passed by to take the lead. With his nearest competitor more than a minute back, Forest Barber carefully maneuvered the BMW around the track for the final laps to capture the GS II victory. The win was the second of the weekend for Barber's co-driver Terry Borcheller, who won the SportsRacing Prototype II class in Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series race.
The wreck of the two leaders also allowed Istook/Aines Motorsport Group's #04 Audi S4 and Shreiner Racing's Mustang to move onto the GS II podium.
Andy Lally started Team Lexus' #0 IS300 in front of the Sport Touring I field, and although it shuffled throughout the top-three during the race, team owner Chuck Goldsborough was able to bring his Lexus back to the front during his stint behind the wheel. But Goldsborough had 2001 driver champion Bob Endicott on his tail in the #64 King Motorsports Acura Integra R, and with five laps remaining, Endicott was able to pilot the Acura past the Lexus to the take the lead.
Goldsborough could not manage to get his Lexus back in front in the few remaining laps, as King Motorsports picked up its first win of the season. The #77 Power Racing Integra, which consistently ran among the ST I top-three throughout the race, finished in third.
The battle for the lead in Sport Touring II paled in comparison to that for second in the class. Bill Fenton started his #27 Acura Integra LS at the front of the class, where it stayed for most of the race except for a few laps around pit stops. However, a pair of Mazda Miatas and another Integra jockeyed throughout the race for the remaining spots on the podium.
The #5 DTM Engineering Miata and #05 Caduceus Motorsports Miata ran in the second and third places, respectively, for the final 30 minutes of the race, but the defending class driver champion was waiting to make his move in the fourth-place #41 HRPworld.com Integra. On the final lap, Will Nonnamaker was finally able to make his pass to finish the race in second place, followed by the #5 Miata.
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. Tickets are currently on sale for the event and may be purchased online at www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com.