Chevrolet Cobalt Extends Manufacturer Points Lead in Grand-Am Cup Series Eric Curran, Jamie Holtom Blaze to Second Straight Win MONTEREY, Calif., May 6, 2006 -- Chevrolet has a six-point lead for the coveted Manufacturer Championship in the...
Chevrolet Cobalt Extends Manufacturer Points Lead in Grand-Am Cup Series
Eric Curran, Jamie Holtom Blaze to Second Straight Win
MONTEREY, Calif., May 6, 2006 -- Chevrolet has a six-point lead for the coveted Manufacturer Championship in the Grand-Am Cup series Street Tuner class, thanks to a dramatic 1-2 finish by the Georgian Bay Motorsport ClearSCADA Cobalt SS Supercharged cars today at Laguna Seca Raceway.
Eric Curran passed teammate Jim Holtom with one lap to go in the 2 ½-hour race on the twisting 2.238-mile circuit, and to win the race and place the Cobalts on the top two steps of the podium. Holtom's co-driver, Daniel Colembie, earlier earned Team Cobalt's the first pole qualifying position.
Curran co-drove with Holtom's 18-year old son, Jamie, who started the race third and took the lead on lap 25, before turning over the driving to Curran on lap 34, dropping the team to 18th place on the pit stop exchange. The win was Curran's sixth in Grand-Am Cup competition and Jamie Holtom's fourth.
"Handling and overall grip play a significant role are the ultimate answers , especially on a twisty circuit like Laguna Seca," said Curran. "The emphasis on chassis development by Mike Kuznicki's Georgian Bay guys and the GM Performance Division engineers has resulted in a very efficient suspension setup that allows for higher cornering speeds, and that gives us better acceleration out of turns."
"The top BMW, Mazda, Acura and Honda teams, and now Subaru, threw everything they had at us this weekend. But our drivers ran clean races and stayed out of trouble, and our calculated pit stop strategy worked to our advantage," said GMPD's Ken Wasmer, who supervises the Cobalt program in the Grand-Am Cup series. "This win is extra-special for us, to win on the West Coast and at Mazda's home track."
"Because of accidents, we only had 11 laps of green flag racing in the first 47 laps," Wasmer added. "We were risking our cars being trapped back in the order if the last 28 laps played out the way the first 47 laps did, but that didn't happen, and both Jim and Eric were able to get out and run and then watch many of our competitors have to come in for late fuel stops ."
The Team Cobalt California cars also performed quite well on their home track, until both were victimized in off-course excursions by other
drivers. Team owner Tom Lepper qualified 10th quickest in the 29-car field, sharing the car with his son, Jeff. V. J. Mirzayan qualified 14th fastest in the 29-car field, driving the #98 entry from the Lepper stable with Jack Mardikian. They finished 18th, while the Lepper father-and-son duo, was credited with a 29th place finish.
Curran and Jamie Holtom, who backed-up their win two weeks ago at VIRginia International Raceway, have a 17-point lead in the Drivers Championship points over Jim Holtom and Colembie. The Georgia Bay Motorsports cars, owned and built by Mike Kuznicki, are also 1-2 in the Street Tuner class Team Championship points.
Speed TV will air the Laguna Seca race May 13 at 1 p.m., and May 15 at Noon ET.
Race four in the 10-race season is Saturday, May 13 at Phoenix International Raceway, where the Street Tuner cars will have their own race for the first time. The race starts at 6 p.m. ET for 200 miles of the PIR "roval" circuit.
The GM Performance Division offers all Cobalt SS Supercharged entrants a contingency program along with the engineering technical support currently provided at every Grand-Am Cup race. The program awards contingency money for every Top Five finish: $5,000 to win, $3,000 for second, $2,000 for third, $1,000 for fourth and $500 for fifth place.