SCC: Phoenix: ST race report

PHOENIX (April 19, 2002) -- Villaconn International's ...

PHOENIX (April 19, 2002) -- Villaconn International's #34 Primerica BMW Z3 dominated the UnitedAuto Touring 250 from start to finish at Phoenix International Raceway tonight. Ken Dobson, of Carmel Valley, Calif., grabbed the pole position earlier today during qualifying and piloted the BMW to a one-lap lead before handing over the controls to Beau Buisson, of Snellville, Ga., during the only caution of the race.

Dobson's dominance began as soon as the green flag fell. He quickly pulled away from the outside polesitting #64 King Motorsports Acura Integra R and increased his lead with every lap. Although several teams made their way into the top three, none could threaten the #34 BMW's lead.

"I just went out there and put my head down, and drove my heart out. It was good to know I was two laps up on everybody except my teammate. I knew that I had to give the car over to Beau with a good, comfortable lead because the tires were going to be going away at that point," said Dobson, who was preparing for his first pit stop when the yellow flag came out after David Haskell hit the wall in SpeedSource's #67 Porsche Boxster.

"We had a good, timely yellow and it made the driver change work fairly easy. What can you say about a picture perfect race? It doesn't get any better than this, and it's not very often they come along. I need some wood to knock on, but this is as easy as it ever gets." he added after grabbing Villaconn its first win of the season.

Villaconn's #36 entry, with Bransen Patch, of Matthews, N.C., and Don Salama, of Brookline, Mass., behind the wheel, gave the team a sweep of the top-two positions, finishing second overall. The #40 Acura Integra R, driven by Charlie and Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., held off a late threat from the #2 Team Lexus IS300 to garner third-place honors.

DTM Engineering picked up Mazda's first-ever Sport Touring II victory tonight with Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., and Scooter Gable, of Tampa, Fla., racing the #5 Mazda Miata to the front of the class.

"Its great to get a Mazda on the top of the podium for ST II. The track deteriorated as it typically does throughout the race, and we were trying to put a setup on the car that was going to be kind of a compromise setup," Gable explained. "It wasn't perfect, but you never know what the track is going to do. We kind of rolled the dice and it paid off. "

Espenlaub battled for the class lead early with ST II polesitter Wayne Nonnamaker, who eventually finished fourth in the #41 Acura Integra LS, however DTM was able to pull out to a strong two-lap lead by the end of the race.

Mazda swept the top of the ST II class when Jonathan Lowman, of Douglasville, Ga., and Rod Riley, of Winter Park, Fla., raced the #05 Caduceus Motorsports Miata to second place in the class. Tony Nuzzo, of Glen Head, N.Y., and Donald Velcio, of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, rounded out the class podium in the #42 Integra.

Tickets for Saturday afternoon's UnitedAuto Sport 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, as well as the Rolex Sports Car Series UnitedAuto 200 presented by, are available online at or by calling 602-252-2227. Additional information about the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series can be found online at

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Haskell , Ken Dobson , Beau Buisson , Paul Menard , Charles Espenlaub , Tony Nuzzo , Bransen Patch , Rod Riley
Teams SpeedSource