SCC: Powell Sunoco Corvette wins Daytona

A season opening win at Daytona for the Powell team. Kicking off the Rolex 24 hour race weekend the Powell team won by almost 40 seconds in the two-hour Grand Am cup race that kicks off the famed Daytona Speed Weeks Month of Racing. Motorola,...

A season opening win at Daytona for the Powell team. Kicking off the Rolex 24 hour race weekend the Powell team won by almost 40 seconds in the two-hour Grand Am cup race that kicks off the famed Daytona Speed Weeks Month of Racing.

Motorola, sponsor of the series for the past four years, cut their sponsorship weeks before the first race of the season, so the series began at Daytona under the auspices of the Bill France family's NASCAR Grand American road racing organization.

The Powell team's dominance of the first race of the Daytona Speed Weeks, showed they were ready to begin the new season where they left off last year, when they won the final event of the season at Virginia by a lap. This Daytona win makes it three Powell wins at the prestigious Daytona race track. And of course, with the Corvette C5R winning the 24-hour main event, life in the world of Corvette lovers everywhere is pretty well perfect.

"The Sunoco Corvette had to win," Devon Powell reported, "I was very nervous in this race as I had built this new Corvette out of my last year's Mosport wreck. It was important that it finish. For me the handling was okay with slight push, but the engine oil temperature was high and that worried me. The Porsche was very strong, and I battled with it throughout the first hour, and I was really happy to be able to hand our Corvette over to Doug in first place."

A lightening fast pit stop by the Powell crew led by Dave Stevenson of Uxbridge, Ontario, got the car out 30 seconds quicker than the second place Porsche, and with Doug Goad behind the wheel the car pressed on - threatened all the while by the twin turbo Porches and the other Corvette teams.

"The handling push got worse for me and the oil temperature kept climbing" Doug Goad reported." I was worried, but the synthetic oils we use in our Sunoco Corvette offer a good margin of protection; so even though I was seeing 270 degrees Fahrenheit oil temperature at 6500 rpm (that's at 180 miles an hour!) with just 30 pounds of oil pressure, I felt that the motor would take it. But as the handling got worse, I had nothing for the #37 Corvette of John Heinricy, and he got by me after a few laps of fighting him off. I was just not quick enough in the infield"

Maybe not fast enough - but smart enough.

Goad kept out of the way of slower traffic (76 cars started the race,) a tactic that eluded Heinricy, whose brilliant drive ended five minutes after passing the Sunoco Corvette.

"John hit a slower car" - SAID Joe Aquilante team owner of the #37 Corvette. " It was his fault and he told me so, the pro that he is. We were not real confident that the car would last, but Lester (Heinricy's co-driver) and John did a great job. THIRD PLACE WAS A BONUS"

Equally pleased were Joe Nonnamaker and Bill Pate in the #43 Corvette who finished Second, making it an all-Corvette podium.

"The Planet Earth team worked hard for this," Joe Nonnamaker reported, "and we are proud to be with the Sunoco folks on the podium. What a great day for Devon and Doug! Devon built the winning car himself, and this was Encompass Corporation's first race joining Sunoco as sponsors of the Powell team. As a team owner I know how difficult it is to find sponsorship so my hat's off to the Powell team."

Next race in the 10 race Grand Am cup is a 3-hour event at Homestead, Florida, March 2 - part of the Nextel 250, featuring NASCAR Craftsman trucks.

Powell Motorsport races with Sunoco, MAKERS OF Ultra94 ethanol enhanced gasoline, available in Ontario, Canada - the highest octane on the street.

We also race with the sponsorship of Encompass Services Corporation. Encompass provides mechanical, electrical and/or janitorial services in each of the 100 largest U.S. markets and employs over 30,000 staff at 250 locations. Encompass is the largest provider of facilities systems and solutions in the United States.

www.powellmotorsport.com

-Wayne Nonnamaker

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers John Heinricy , Wayne Nonnamaker , Joe Nonnamaker , Bill Pate , Devon Powell , Doug Goad , Joe Aquilante