leader! Terry Borcheller is back on top of the Grand-Am Cup championship standings after a tough race at Homestead-Miami Speedway slowed all of the leading contenders. The race was delayed one week due to hurricane activity in Florida and ...
Terry Borcheller is back on top of the Grand-Am Cup championship standings after a tough race at Homestead-Miami Speedway slowed all of the leading contenders. The race was delayed one week due to hurricane activity in Florida and qualifying was cancelled in the abbreviated race weekend, but a full field still took the green flag on Sept. 18.
Borcheller, of Gainesville, Ga., again teamed with Devon Powell of Port Perry, Ont., in the No. 11 Powell Motorsport Cadillac CTS-V. Powell started ninth on the grid set by team points, but moved to the lead after seven minutes of the three-hour race. He dropped back briefly, but regained the lead at the one-hour mark and held it until he encountered a mechanical problem at 1h28.
Powell thought the problem was related to a toe-link, but the crew was unable to pinpoint the cause, so Borcheller started his stint, returning to the track two laps behind the race leader. He also had difficulty with the car and provided feedback that confirmed a loose toe-link. Borcheller was then able to anticipate the car's moves and stay on track. He regained one lap and moved up to finish eighth.
"Devon was going down the back straightaway and the car just jerked to the right. He thought something broke, so he brought it into the pits. They couldn't find anything, so we did our driver change and I went out," Borcheller explained.
"I confirmed something was wrong, and Devon diagnosed it, that it was probably a toe-link that was loose. It made the car very difficult to drive; it was very unstable. I would go into a turn and try to turn left and the car would actually steer to the right. It was intermittent, but it did get to the point where I could predict it and still run laps that were pretty decent."
Borcheller now leads the Grand-Am Cup driver championship by 10 points ahead of his former co-driver, Craig Stanton of Long Beach, Calif. Three races remain in the 2004 series, with 105 potential points. "As far as the points go, it's really positive because everybody who was in contention for the championship finished behind us," Borcheller said.
Borcheller finished the weekend with a Rolex Sports Car Series race on Sept. 19, also on the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway infield road course in Homestead, Fla. He started the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Pontiac-powered Doran JE4 from sixth on the grid, set by team points. He charged ahead at the green flag and claimed second place on the second lap, three minutes into the two-hour 45-minute race. Then trouble set in at 15 minutes, as the throttle stuck open twice and sent Borcheller off-track, requiring two pitstops to replace tires and clear the car's grill.
"I moved up to second and then the throttle stuck," he said. "When I went off-track, I flat-spotted the tires and got dirt in the grill, so I had to come in and clean that off. They couldn't find out what caused the throttle to stick, so they sent me back out. On the out-lap, the throttle stuck again. I had to use the pit-lane speed button to keep from going into the wall because it was the quickest thing I could grab. The car was going wide open. It was in a section of the track where you don't use the brakes, you just do a big lift [off the throttle] at the last minute to help rotate the car. I went to do the big lift and the car just went full-throttle straight."
The team lost three laps, but once the problem was fixed, Borcheller regained one lap and moved up from 32nd to 18th before handing off to Christian Fittipaldi of Key Biscayne, Fla., at 1h4. Fittipaldi also made up one lap and worked through the field to finish ninth.
Borcheller and Bell Motorsports will conduct a test with Hoosier Tires at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Monday, Sept. 20. Borcheller will then travel home to compete in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Sept. 25.