DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2001) -- David Haskell, of Plantation, Fla., was a lap and a half behind the race leader with half an hour left in the four-hour Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday, but when...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2001) -- David Haskell, of Plantation, Fla., was a lap and a half behind the race leader with half an hour left in the four-hour Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday, but when the leading Powell Motorsports Corvette pulled off the track with an engine failure, Haskell drove his Speedsource Porsche 911 to the overall and Super Grand Sport victory. Haskell and his co-driver, Selby Wellman, of Cary, N.C., scored their second win of the season and first-ever win at Daytona.
"This is unbelievable. I never dreamed I would be in Victory Circle in Daytona. I have raced here a whole bunch of times. This is an unbelievable feeling," Haskell exclaimed after pulling his Porsche into Victory Lane. "We were down to that 11 car, which is unbelievable competition. I told him to just keep going, keep going, keep going. You never know what can happen. Luck was on our side, and we came out victorious today. "
Despite losing what looked like it would be an eighth win of the year in the 10-race series, Devon Powell, of Port Perry, Ontario, and Doug Goad, Farmington Hills, Mich., were still able to celebrate the SGS team owner, driver and manufacturers championships. Having led most of the way in the 109-lap race, Goad pulled the car off the track after completing his 99th lap and radioed to his crew that the engine's timing chain had broken.
"Its too bad. Unfortunately the car lost third gear early on," explained Goad, who provisional point standings have tied for the SGS driver championship with Powell. "We're not quite sure what was wrong. The result of that was that we had to go straight up to second from fourth."
Finishing three laps back from the winning Porsche was the D.M.A. Racing Mustang Cobra of Nick Longhi, of New York, and Emil Assentato, of Locust Valley, N.Y., taking second overall, as well as the Grand Sport class win. It marked the first time a Grand Sport car has finished second overall in a Grand-Am Cup combined race.
"I just don't know how to explain it," Assentato commented. "It's just fantastic to come in second overall. The car ran flawlessly the whole race."
The RDR Motorsports #115 Porsche 993 was awarded the provisional third-place overall position, but the car was later disqualified during the post-race technical inspection for being underweight. That moved a second Grand Sport team onto the overall podium, with the Snipes Ford Motorsports #46 Mustang Cobra R taking third-place overall honors, in addition to second in class.
In their first-ever Grand-Am Cup race, Tony Kester, Michigan City, Ind., and Peter Baron, of San Mateo, Calif., drove the Competition Preparation #149 BMW 325 to the Sport Touring class win and a ninth place finish overall.
"I never drove the car before the race," Kester admitted after the race. The pair of drivers hope their luck will follow them over into Saturday night's Rolex Sports Car Series race, where they will resume their normal driving duties behind the wheel of a GT class Porsche.
A few more drivers from the Rolex Series pulled doubled duty this weekend, with Darren Law and Terry Borcheller, both of Phoenix, teaming up with Team Lexus owner Chuck Goldsborough in the #0 Lexus IS 300 to take second place in the ST class.
The Compact 2000 class win went to brothers Wayne and Will Nonnamaker, of North Canton, Ohio, who drove their Planet Earth Motorsports #41 Acura Integra to a 19th place finish overall. Their father Joe Nonnamaker made his return to the series after suffering a spinal injury during the Homestead-Miami race in March, taking second place in the Compact class with Roy 'Gator' Mitchell II, of Alturas, Fla., in the #43 Acura.
"It's going to be about three weeks before I wipe this smile off my face," Wayne Nonnamaker said. "It's been great. To finish one-two at the end of the season is fantastic."
Although the season's final point standings will not be released until next week, provisional standings show the Planet Earth team and Will Nonnamaker taking the team owner and driver championships in the Compact class. Bob Endicott, of San Pedro, Calif., and his King Motorsports team looks to have moved up in the standings after the Finale to take the Sport Touring honors, while Sylvain Tremblay and Speedsource continued their places at the top of the Grand Sport class.
The Grand-Am Cup champions will be honored during at a ceremony at DAYTONA USA on January 4, 2002, during the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Day.
The racing action will continue at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night with the Rolex Sports Car Series three-hour race beginning at 6 p.m.