SCC: Villaconn Phoenix race recap

All Three For Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona, April 20, 2001: Road racing with the Grand Am Cup is a traveling road show that involves many players. When the Villaconn International Team Transporter arrived in Phoenix for the third round of ...

All Three For Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona, April 20, 2001: Road racing with the Grand Am Cup is a traveling road show that involves many players. When the Villaconn International Team Transporter arrived in Phoenix for the third round of the 2001 street stock championship, it was finally packed with three BMW Z3 Coupes.

Since the beginning of the season, the plan had been to run three BMWs. After many long hours back in the shop, Matt Connolly and crew were finally able to breathe life into the #38 Urrea Tools-sponsored ST Class BMW. Here in Phoenix, the Coupe (now affectionately known as Frankenstein) was debuted by regular drivers Gregory White and Ray Shaffer. Despite being down on power, the car practiced and qualified well - a relatively trouble-free first weekend.

"We can workout the power deficiency," commented Shaffer after watching CO-driver, Gregory White bring the Coupe home in 9th from 11th on the grid. "What impresses me is how solid and stout this little car is!"

The #36 HMS Motorsport-liveried Z3 of team owners, Al Villamil and Matt Connolly qualified 8th and ran as high as the top five during the three hour event. Contact with another car required a lengthy visit to the pits for exhaust repair, dropping the pair down the running order.

"We've learned that we need to shorten our exhaust pipe" added team manager and car chief, Ricky Marerro. "As it is, it's just too vulnerable to damage from a rear end hit. We'll make the necessary adjustments before the next race at The Glen." By crossing the line 7th in class, Villamil and Connolly brought home the team's best result of the weekend.

Up to the halfway point, the #34 Arizona BMW Z3 Roadster Club-supported Coupe of Jeff Trask and Bransen Patch looked to have the race in hand. Trask had turned in an excellent qualifying effort to place the Z3 third on the grid. When the leading Acura hit trouble, Trask assumed the lead.

The win was not to come this day however, as the Villaconn front runner dropped a valve during Patch's stint behind the wheel. "We showed them we can hang with the big dogs," explained Trask in typical California fashion. "Cars break and that's the way it goes. Everyone did a great job today and our car was awesome!"

Watching all the action from the team's hospitality area were over 20 members of the local Arizona BMW Z3 Roadster Club. "We really enjoy Grand Am Cup style racing and want to spread the enthusiasm wherever our team travels," offered car owner, Al Villamil. "Joe Marko at HMS Motorsport was kind enough to increase his support so we could send everyone home with something special to remember their day at the Grand Am Cup races."

Villaconn International will now prep the team's three BMW Z3 Coupes for the series return to the historic Watkins Glen circuit on May 18-20th. Watch for updates as well as news of Villaconn's support of The Inner City Youth Racing program at www.Villaconn.com.

-VI-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bransen Patch , Matt Connolly