Strong Field Ready for First-Ever Grand-Am Cup Series Visit to Dominican Republic DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 8, 2005) -- Several top sports car racers and a 36-car field will be a part of Grand-Am Cup Series history as the series makes its ...
Strong Field Ready for First-Ever Grand-Am Cup Series Visit to Dominican Republic
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 8, 2005) -- Several top sports car racers and a 36-car field will be a part of Grand-Am Cup Series history as the series makes its inaugural trip to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for Sunday's Miller Grand-Am Cup 200.
The race will be run on the 1.6-mile, 11-turn Las Americas Autodromo circuit, located just 15 minutes from the downtown area of the Dominican Republic's capital city. Cars competing in the Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport (GS) class are eligible, and 36 high-performance imports and muscle cars should be quite a treat for the Dominican race fans.
Leading the way will be Daytona Grand-Am Cup 200 winners Ian James and Tom Nastasi in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Ford Mustang GT. James and Nastasi brought the new generation Mustang home to victory in its Grand-Am Cup debut and established the retro-looking Ford as the car to beat heading into Santo Domingo. That said No. 55 Multimatic Ford Mustang co-drivers Scott Maxwell and David Empringham--who led early on at Daytona on their way to a second-place result--rank among the favorites this weekend along with their teammates in the No. 05 Multimatic Mustang, James Gue and Gunnar Jeannette.
However, while the Mustangs took Round 1, it didn't happen without a battle from the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 of Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen. Marks started the car from the pole position, and were it not for a mechanical failure, the No. 96 could have come out on top in the season-opener. No fewer than nine BMW M3s are entered this weekend, and any of them could break through with a victory.
Boris Said and co-driver Anders Hainer claimed a Grand-Am Cup Series triumph at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year and have teamed-up for 2005 in the No. 99 Anchor Racing BMW M3. Said and Hainer could win at any time, including this weekend. Also not to be overlooked are No. 60 Finlay Motorsports BMW M3 co-drivers Rob Finlay and Michael McDowell who finished third at Daytona. Other BMWs likely to figure in the outcome are the No. 09 Automatic Racing M3 of Jep Thornton and David Russell, the No. 16 Zoom Motorsports M3 of Canadians Alan Wortzman and Kenny Wilden, and the No. 90 Automatic Racing machine of David Riddle and Kris Wilson.
No professional sports car race is complete without a strong entry from Porsche, and the Miller 200 will be no exception. The 2004 Grand-Am Cup GS manufacturer champion will be represented by 17 cars, led by the 2004 championship-winning Team Sahlen. The team has entered five Porsche 996s this weekend, and any of them have the capability of battling for the victory.
Defending GS driver champion Craig Stanton will be another one to watch throughout the weekend in the No. 18 Race Prep Motorsports Porsche 996 he shares with Spencer Pumpelly and Mike Pickett. Stanton won a series-leading six races last year and heads to the Dominican Republic looking for win number one in 2005. Fresh from his GT class victory in last weekend's Rolex Series Grand Prix of Miami, Andy Lally also rates among the favorites this weekend in the No. 28 Race Prep Motorsports Porsche 996 he is entered to share with Tim Gaffney and Pickett. Likewise, after finishing fourth overall at Miami last weekend in a Daytona Prototype, Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson will be among the frontrunners this weekend in the No. 69 Krohn Racing/TRG Porsche 996.
Other powerful Porsches to watch are the No. 6 Zoom Motorsports 996 of Mike McCalmont and Darren Law, the No. 17 Doncaster Racing 996 of Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins, the No. 31 Bodymotion Racing 997 of Michael Bavaro and Michael Ellis, the No. 38 BGB Motorsports 996 of Mark Plummer and Guy Cosmo and the No. 81 Synergy Racing 997 of Brent Martini and Kelly Collins among many others.
After narrowly missing out on the Grand-Am Cup GS crown in 2004, Powell Motorsport brings a strong pair of Cadillacs to the Dominican Republic as the team looks to return to its winning ways. Devon Powell and Don Knowles lead the way for the Powell contingent in the No. 11 Cadillac CTS-V, while Normand Guindon and Marc-Antoine Camirand share the No. 07 Chemcraft CTS-V.
On-track activities get underway on Friday, March 11 with two, one-hour practice sessions. The Grand-Am Cup competitors get their first exposure to Las Americas Autodromo on Friday morning with a practice from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. ET, followed by a second practice from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Grand-Am Cup machines return to the race track for practice from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., with qualifying scheduled for 1:00 to 1:20 p.m. Sunday's race day schedule calls for a warm-up from 11:00 to 11:20 a.m., and the Miller Grand-Am Cup 200 takes the green flag at 2:00 p.m. ET. The scheduled distance is 206 miles (125 laps), and the race is subject to a three-hour time limit.
Live coverage, including race notes, news and live timing & scoring data will be available throughout the weekend on the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com.