Maxwell & Empringham Score Third Win in Four Races for New Ford Mustang at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif. (April 30, 2005) -- After watching two other sets of Ford Mustang co-drivers take victories in two out of the first three ...
Maxwell & Empringham Score Third Win in Four Races for New Ford Mustang at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. (April 30, 2005) -- After watching two other sets of Ford Mustang co-drivers take victories in two out of the first three Grand-Am Cup Series races, No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang drivers Scott Maxwell and David Empringham finally got their opportunity to taste the victory champagne following a triumph in the Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday (SPEED Channel, May 14, 1 p.m. ET).
Maxwell led the opening 12 laps of the race but ran afoul of a lapped car that damaged the car's brake system and cost him several positions prior to turning the car over to Empringham for the final stint. Despite the setback, Empringham managed to battle his way back to the front and took the lead for the final time from Ian James in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Ford Mustang with 16 laps remaining. He beat Darren Law to the stripe by 5.931 seconds to secure the victory.
"We came into the race on a real high," Empringham said. "We felt we had a car we could win with and there was certainly a lot of excitement. This is one of my favorite tracks and I hadn't won here, so it's pretty awesome."
It was the fifth career Grand-Am Cup Series overall win for both Empringham and Maxwell, but was their first since winning the 2002 season finale at Daytona International Speedway. It was also their second podium finish in four races after a second-place run at Daytona to open the 2005 season.
"It's a bit of a monkey off our backs (to get our first win)," said Maxwell. "We've had two bad races and have been looking forward to this race for a long time and it turned out really well."
Law and his co-driver Mike McCalmont came home second in the No. 6 Zoom Motorsports Porsche 996 for their second-straight runner-up performance. James and co-driver Tom Nastasi completed the podium with a third-place showing, which was also their second podium result of the season to go with a victory in the Grand-Am Cup 200 at Daytona in February.
Making it three Mustangs in the top four were James Gue and Gunnar Jeannette who co-drove the No. 55 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang to a fourth-place result. It was their third straight top-four performance, following a victory at California and a second-place showing in the Grand-Am Cup Miller 200 in the Dominican Republic. The result enabled them to maintain their lead in the GS driver standings after four of 11 races. They now lead McCalmont, Law, Maxwell and Empringham by seven points (117-110).
Anders Hainer and Joey Hand came home fifth in the No. 99 Anchor Racing BMW M3. It was Hainer's second top-five result in-a-row after a third place showing at California Speedway four weeks ago, while Hand made his first-ever Grand-Am Cup Series appearance. Hand was substituting for regular No. 99 driver Boris Said, who is competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race Talladega Superspeedway.
TREMBLAY AND HASKELL TAKE SECOND-STRAIGHT ST CLASS WIN IN DRAMATIC FASHION
Defending Grand-Am Cup Series Sport Touring (ST) champions Sylvain Tremblay and David Haskell claimed their second-straight ST class win in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 thanks to a daring pass by Tremblay around the outside of Bob Endicott in Turn 11 on the second-to-last lap. After making the pass, Tremblay had to stave off several challenges from Endicott's No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S to win by six-tenths of a second.
"It's the first time I've been here (to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca), so we were kind of behind the eight ball," Haskell said. "We talked about it a lot and had some good teammates to help us out. The next thing you know, we're passing a guy on the last corner entering the last lap."
It was Tremblay's 17th career Grand-Am Cup Series class victory, moving him to within one of Wayne Nonnamaker for the most career class wins. The win was doubly important for Tremblay and the team, as they were able to secure a victory for Mazda at the track that shares its name.
"As a factory sponsored team, we're looked at as setting the pace for the class," Tremblay said. "On top of that, we're the defending champion, and when we show up at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the people at Mazda are going to have high expectations. That's what we thrive on. The entire team -- co-drivers, crew, and the people at Mazda -- helped out David and I. I can't do what I did at the end without David and everybody on the team. It's an important win for us."
Endicott and co-driver Eric Curran finished second for the third-consecutive race, and they trail Tremblay and Haskell in the ST driver standings by 12 points (98-86) after three of 10 races. Class polesitter Don Salama and co-driver Will Turner finished third in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330, followed by Mike Liebl and Bob Beede in the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S. Jim and Jamie Holtom completed the top five in the No. 00 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt.