Closing in on the Crown September 28, 2002, Bowmanville, Canada: The Grand Am Cup race weekend at Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada's beautiful Mosport Raceway was crunch time for Villaconn Motorsports. With only two races remaining, scoring maximum...
Closing in on the Crown
September 28, 2002, Bowmanville, Canada: The Grand Am Cup race weekend at Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada's beautiful Mosport Raceway was crunch time for Villaconn Motorsports. With only two races remaining, scoring maximum points towards the Team and Driver's Championship was imperative for those seeking the 2002 crown. When the weekend was over (thanks to a strong dose of teamwork), it would be rookie sensation Beau Buisson who would emerge with the best shot at the title.
With their win at Mosport, Ken Dobson and Beau Buisson became the first pair of drivers to win three ST1 class races this season. Despite the result, it was not an easy weekend for the squad. "Thanks to mechanical problems with the BMW I only managed seven laps," explained Dobson. "For Beau it was another new track on which he only got about two dozen laps before experiencing mechanical difficulties himself."
"It took two days to sort out the problems," continued Dobson. "Qualifying was rained out so we got lucky when Grand Am decided to base the grid on points. That put us in second - the preferred line around turn one and into two. Gerald, Joe and Matt did an unbelievable job to get the Primerica Z3 ready for the race. Their effort was awesome. I started the race and battled with the GSII field pulling a great lead over the ST1 cars allowing Beau to drive it home - giving the beloved "Frankenstein" it's first win (the famous Black Villaconn BMW was renumbered from 38 to 34 on this weekend). Villaconn now sits in a great position to win the Team Championship, BMW has a chance at the Manufacturers Championship, and Beau is in position to win the Driver's Championship. Daytona is going to be a big race and it is going to take a great deal of focus to win. I know Gerald and Joe are up to it, along with the rest of the Villaconn gang."
Strong contenders all season, the pairing of Bransen Patch and Don Salama suffered a mechanical DNF that their Championship hopes didn't need. Patch explained that, "When the green flag dropped, the #36 HMS Motorsport Z3 was running very hot as a result of running the engine on the pre-grid in an effort to keep the battery alive. For the first few laps, the overheated engine was down on power helping me to lose positions in the field."
A hot motor and a weak battery were not to be the only battles facing the Patch/Salama BMW. "To add to the poor start, I was fighting a shifting problem coming out of turn five," offered Patch. "A binding linkage was making it very difficult to move from 2nd to 3rd gear, creating a multitude of missed shifts. I adjusted to the unresponsive shifting by keeping the car in 3rd going through turn five. With this compromise, I was able to maintain a decent race pace, picking up a few track positions before pitting for Don."
With Salama behind the wheel, the #36 Z3 took to the Mosport track in 6th position. Giving it his best, Salama worked his way up to 4th place before succumbing to the malfunctioning shifter only twenty minutes from the race's end. The pair would be classified 13th.
Matt Connolly once again joined CSL Racing's David Chenoweth as the squad continued to develop the BMW 330i sedan. "My race in the #22 BMW was personally very rewarding even though the finish was poor," explained Connolly. "I got into the low 1:36's which was my goal as I brought the car up to 5th at the start despite losing about 100 yards to the field thanks to a computer reboot when the green flag dropped. The 330i needs more development but it is getting closer."
With the victory of the renumbered "Frankenstein" at the hands of Dobson and Buisson, all three Villaconn team BMWs have now won a Grand Am Cup race. And it looks like the final round at Daytona on November 10th will once again be the deciding race for the Championship. Who says history doesn't repeat itself?