Stanton Gains Ground in Grand-Am Cup Points Race; Wins VIR 250 with Co-Driver Murry Curran, Endicott Take First ST Class Win of 2004 ALTON, Va. (October 2, 2004) -- Former Grand-Am Cup Series points leader Craig Stanton moved a few steps...
Stanton Gains Ground in Grand-Am Cup Points Race; Wins VIR 250 with Co-Driver Murry
Curran, Endicott Take First ST Class Win of 2004
ALTON, Va. (October 2, 2004) -- Former Grand-Am Cup Series points leader Craig Stanton moved a few steps closer to regaining his points lead with a victory in Saturday's VIR 250 at Virginia International Raceway (SPEED Channel, Oct. 17, 12:00 Noon ET). .
After starting from the pole position, Stanton--who entered the race trailing points leader and former co-driver Terry Borcheller by 10 points (182-172)--saw his points deficit trimmed to seven when current No. 43 TheRaceSite.com Racing Porsche 996 co-driver David Murry muscled his way past Borcheller's No. 11 Powell Motorsport Cadillac CTS-V on Lap 56 of the 75-lap distance and led the rest of the way en route to a 7.478-second victory over Borcheller.
"These races are so competitive and so hard to win," Murry said. "The record looks like it's easy because Craig has won the majority of the races, but I can testify that it is not easy. A lot goes to the Nonnamaker team and a lot goes to Craig for putting this together and making it happen. I'm just happy to have him as a co-driver. I've been with the team for four races and I've won two of them. None of them are easy."
It was Stanton's series-leading fifth overall Grand-Am Cup Series victory of the season, but was his first triumph since winning at Watkins Glen in June. At the time of that victory, Stanton held a sizable lead in the Grand Sport (GS) class driver standings. However, he saw that lead disappear when a scheduling conflict prevented him from driving in the Mid-Ohio event in August. He now trails Borcheller, 214-207, with races remaining at Barber Motorsports Park next weekend and California Speedway on the weekend of October 29-31.
"We are a little closer," Stanton said. "We're not in the lead, but we've gained on Terry. We got first, but he got second, so we gained on him. We don't know what is going to happen. It's probably going to go down to the wire in California. It's going to be a nail bitter. Stay tuned -- it's going to be fun."
Borcheller started second and between himself and co-driver Devon Powell the No. 11 paced the field for 22 laps. However, despite his best efforts to fend off the challenge from Murry, Borcheller's heavily worn tires would not allow him to keep the No. 43 at bay. Nevertheless, Borcheller was able to hang on to second place and the championship lead.
Finishing third was the No. 17 Doncaster Racing Porsche 996 of Greg Wilkins and Dave Lacey, while Michiel Schuitemaker and BJ Zacharias brought the No. 35 Schuitemaker Motorsports Nissan 350Z home in fourth place. Mike Cronin Jr. and Mike Borkowski finished fifth in the No. 33 Unitech Racing Nissan 350Z.
In the Sport Touring (ST) class, co-drivers Eric Curran and Bob Endicott earned their first Grand-Am Cup Series class victory of the season in the No. 27 Acura RSX-S. It was the first ST win for Acura since the season-opener at Daytona, and was the third consecutive class podium for Curran and Endicott. The duo finished second two weeks ago at Miami and third at Mid-Ohio in August.
"It was a really good call on the pit stops," Endicott said. "We were the only ones that stopped on the first yellow, and it ended up working well for us. Eric kept us in there the beginning of the race. It was great for me -- all I had to do was drive it around."
It was Curran's fifth ST class podium result of the season, as he also finished third in back-to-back races at Phoenix and Mont-Tremblant earlier this year with former co-driver Bob Beede.
"It was a wonderful day," Curran said. "The car was great. It wasn't the fastest of the day, but in the end, Steve Wheeler, our crew chief, made the right call for the pit stops. Here we are. Together with Bob Endicott -- this is our first win of the year."
The Acura finished one lap ahead of the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of David Haskell and Sylvain Tremblay, while the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i of Tim Pappas and Beau Buisson filled out the podium. Chuck Goldsborough and Andy Lally came home fourth in the No. 3 Team Lexus IS300 with Shane Lewis and Tony Nuzzo rounding out the top-five in the No. 20 Nuzzo Motorsports Mini Cooper S.
After starting from the class pole position, class co-points leaders Will Turner and Don Salama finished sixth in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i. They continue to lead the ST driver standings, 239-221 over Tremblay and Haskell heading into next weekend's penultimate round of the 2004 Grand-Am Cup Series season. Today's VIR 250 will be televised on SPEED Channel at 12:00 Noon ET on Sunday, October 17.