Canadian duo enjoys comfortable points lead heading into back-to-back races at home DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 3, 2003) -- With three victories and six podium finishes in the first seven races of the 2003 Grand-Am Cup Series, Toronto-based...
Canadian duo enjoys comfortable points lead heading into back-to-back races at home
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 3, 2003) -- With three victories and six podium finishes in the first seven races of the 2003 Grand-Am Cup Series, Toronto-based Doncaster Racing has built itself a comfortable 20-point lead in the premier Grand Sport I point standings. Now drivers Robert Julien, of Toronto, and Jean-Francois Dumoulin, of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, are looking to expand their lead even more as the series travels to their homeland for back-to-back races at Mosport International Raceway and Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
"While a 20-point lead is nice, one mistake at any of the four last races can eliminate that lead in an instant," admits Julien. "Our advantage is that J-F knows both Canadian tracks very well."
"Even though we have a comfortable lead, the pressure is still there a little bit. We want to still win some races, especially racing in our backyard at Mosport," remarked Dumoulin.
The biggest threat to the drivers of the No. 119 Porsche is second-place TPC Racing. "Randy Pobst and I definitely have our work cut out for us in the upcoming Canadian races. JF and Bobby are very familiar with Mosport and Tremblant," noted TPC Racing driver Michael Levitas. "But JF and Bobby will be under a lot of pressure to play these races very conservatively, which is not the case for Randy and myself."
While the leaders of the Grand Sport I point standings hold a strong advantage over the field, the championship races in the remaining Grand-Am Cup classes continue to be a close battle race after race.
The Grand Sport II class has split leaders. While the father-son pairing of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker lead the driver point standings, it is not their Planet Earth Motorsports No. 41 Porsche 911 on top of the class team owner standings. Instead, the Mike Baughman Racing No. 46 Firebird leads the team owner points, with the Planet Earth Porsche posing a serious threat as it sits only two points behind.
However, the Nonnamakers' five-point advantage in the Grand Sport II driver points is anything but comfortable with Bell Motorsports drivers Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber on their tails.
"While I do feel confident about our lead, sitting five points behind us in the drivers championship right now is Bell Motorsports. They are a huge threat for the championship," admits Wayne Nonnamaker. "The team and driver combination of Terry Borcheller and Forrest Barber is identical to their lineup in their (Rolex Series) Daytona Prototype campaign in which they are only one point out of the championship. So in a way, we are competing against the exact same team and drivers that are almost winning the Daytona Prototypes class."
The top spots in the Sport Touring I class are also split between two teams. While Honda of America Racing Team drivers Pete Halsmer and John Schmitt hold a commanding 23-point lead in the driver standings, the TC Kline Racing No. 12 BMW Z4 tops the class team owner points. The BMW Z4 is closely followed by the Team Lexus No. 0 Lexus IS300, which trails by seven points.
The tightest points race in the Grand-Am Cup Series can be found in the Sport Touring II class. The Bill Fenton Motorsports No. 27 Acura Integra LS and its driver Bob Beede lead the point standings by the narrowest of margins over the HRPworld.com No. 43 Acura and drivers Howie Liebengood and Will Nonnnamaker. The one-point difference between the two teams is reminiscent of the close battle for the Sport Touring II championship last year between the pair, which resulted in a championship for HRPworld.com. However, this year Bill Fenton Motorsports hopes it will be their year to shine.
Tickets to the Sunoco 94 Mosport 3 Hour at Mosport International Raceway in Ontario, Sept. 13, can be purchased at the gate, while tickets to the Mont-Tremblant 250 at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Sept. 20, are available online at www.lecircuit.com. The Mont-Tremblant 250 will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on September 27 at 1 p.m. ET.