Gue & Jeannette Score First Grand-Am Cup Overall Win; Haskell & Tremblay Take ST Victory in California FONTANA, Calif. (April 2, 2005) -- In a thrilling California 200 at California Speedway, Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 05 ...
Gue & Jeannette Score First Grand-Am Cup Overall Win; Haskell & Tremblay Take ST Victory in California
FONTANA, Calif. (April 2, 2005) -- In a thrilling California 200 at California Speedway, Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang took advantage of a Lap 65 restart to take the lead from Darren Law in the No. 6 Zoom Motorsports Porsche 996 and led the remaining seven laps en route to the first Grand-Am Cup Series overall victory for himself and co-driver James Gue (SPEED Channel, April 16, 12:00 Noon ET).
"On the restart I knew that our real only advantage was up the front straight, especially on the restart, and into the banking," Jeannette said. "The Porsches right now pretty much outhandle us because we're so heavy so I tried to kind of time it a bit but Darren (Law) timed it also and he was too early so I got a run on him. He had to stop before the green flag even came out so I kind of bobbled it a bit. But luckily, you know, the green flag came out right as I lifted and I just went down again and ended up getting him going into NASCAR (Turn) 1."
It was the second triumph in three races for the brand-new Ford Mustang in a race that featured five lead changes among five different drivers. The victory also moved Gue and Jeannette into the Grand Sport (GS) class points lead after three of 11 races. Gue and Jeannette lead Law and co-driver Mike McCalmont by 11 points (89-78).
"It was really exciting," Gue said. "I can't say enough about all the Multimatic guys and Ford. Obviously Gunnar did an outstanding job there at the end. (The car) remained consistent right to the end. I mean you could see Gunnar was turning his quickest laps right there so its just a testament to how good the car is."
Law--who led for nine laps--and McCalmont brought the No. 6 machine home in second place. It was the best Grand-Am Cup Series result of the season for a Porsche, and was the best showing since Canadians Greg Wilkins and Dave Lacey drove their Porsche 996 to victory in the 2004 season finale at California Speedway.
Anders Hainer and Boris Said made it three different manufacturers in the top three positions as they co-drove their No. 99 Anchor Racing BMW M3 to a third-place result. Said nearly took second place away from Law in the closing laps, but came up just short in his bid.
Zoom Motorsports had two cars finish inside the top-four positions, as Alan Wortzman and Kenny Wilden finished fourth in the No. 16 BMW M3. Wilden was passed for fourth by Bill Auberlen in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 on the final lap, but race officials ruled that Auberlen shortcut the course in the Turn 12-13-14 complex to gain an unfair advantage.
As a result, the No. 96 team was penalized five seconds after the race, dropping Auberlen--who led 16 laps in the race--and co-driver Justin Marks to fifth in the final rundown. Ian James also led 16 laps in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Ford Mustang, but the pony car wasn't in contention for the victory at the end of the race, relegating James and co-driver Tom Nastasi to a sixth-place finish.
Polesitter Terry Borcheller led a race-high 33 laps in the No. 33 Unitech Racing Nissan 350Z, but his co-driver, Mike Cronin Jr., encountered a mechanical failure after completing 47 laps, leaving both drivers out of the points with a 38th place GS class finish and a 56th place result overall.
In the Sport Touring (ST) class, defending ST champions Sylvain Tremblay and David Haskell co-drove their No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 to a dominating class victory in the California 200. Haskell claimed the lead from the No. 12 BMW Z4 of Daniel Colembie on Lap 3 and was never seriously challenged before handing the car over to Tremblay, who went on to win by more than a lap ahead of the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S of Bill Fenton and Bob Beede.
"We were very, very fortunate," Tremblay said. "David had a great opening stint there at the beginning and nobody wanted to win. Everyone had problems; the 27 car had his problems, the 12 car had his problems, so Dave just drove really well. The crew did a great call on that pit stop. You know, that was what really made the difference. The experience with the entire SpeedSource crew and the MazdaSpeed team, we called it right and it got us almost a full lap ahead so my job was very easy. He did all the work today."
The victory moved Tremblay and Haskell into the ST points lead after two of 12 races. They lead No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW 330 co-drivers Tim Pappas and Steve Pfeffer by five points, 63-58.
"In the first corner, the guy that was on the pole--one of the Acuras--actually got into something," Haskell said. "I don't know what happened but they spun, and I ended up going off in the grass and got back on and just started our race. It went pretty well from there. I just kept turning out the laps. The pit crew did the greatest stop. They usually do. We were doing well, but we had a real fast pit stop. We got in front of the pace car and got up a lap on everybody so from then on it was Sylvain (Tremblay). He just had to stay out of trouble so it was pretty easy. Sometimes you get them like that and you have to take them when you can because they're not always that easy."
The second-place performance for Beede and Endicott gave them their second-consecutive top-two finish at California Speedway, as they took the class victory in the season finale last year. Finishing third was Will Turner and Don Salama in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330, followed by Pappas and Pfeffer in fourth. Rod Strub and Ed Magner rounded out the top five in the No. 48 WTF Engineering Chevrolet Cobalt.
The California 200 will be televised on SPEED Channel at 12:00 Noon ET on Saturday, April 16. The next event on the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Series calendar is the U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend on April 29-30.