ALTON, Va. (June 30, 2001) -- Powell Motorsports appears as if it cannot be stopped. The team picked up its fourth-consecutive victory at the Virginia Festival of Speed in the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series three-hour endurance race. Drivers...
ALTON, Va. (June 30, 2001) -- Powell Motorsports appears as if it cannot be stopped. The team picked up its fourth-consecutive victory at the Virginia Festival of Speed in the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series three-hour endurance race. Drivers Devon Powell, of Port Perry, Ont., and Doug Goad, of Farmington Hills, Mich., piloted the Sunoco/Encompass-sponsored #11 Corvette Z06 around the 3.27-mile road course to capture its fifth checkered flag of the season.
Although Powell started the race in the pole position, it was Dino Steiner, of Deland, Fla., in the Steiner/Majestic-sponsored #15 Porsche TT of Motorsport Technologies that led the first lap. His lead continued for the next two laps under caution as the Royal Purple #87 Mustang Cobra of DG Racing went airborne in turn 14 when it lost its brakes and went over the tire wall and into the trees. Driver Jim Briody walked out of the woods unscathed.
After returning to green, it only took Powell three laps before he had retaken his position in the front of the field. The Corvette relinquished the lead only twice, with the first time coming during a pit stop and second just past the two-hour mark of the race. The Porsche managed to maneuver past the Corvette in turn four on lap 57 and pulled out to a short-lived lead, as the strong Chevy engine roared back past the leading Porsche with just over 30 minutes remaining in the race. This time Goad pulled away to take the checkered.
"Last year was a developmental year," said Goad. "Everything has really come together now, and Powell Motorsports is keeping it perfectly maintained."
The Motorsports Technologies crew is well aware of the woes of developing a new car. "We got (our car) three days before Christmas as a street car in the shop," said Steiner. "Having three straight races is tough on us because we can not work on development of the car between races, because we are prepping for the next race."
The Zippo Manufacturing #47 Mustang Saleen SR of TF Racing took home third place overall and in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class finishing a lap behind the winner.
The Grand Sport (GS) class saw a fierce battle come down to the final laps between the Mears Motor Coach/Champion Porsche/Fikse/Dynamic Suspension-sponsored #70 Porsche 911 of Speedsource and the Sunoco/Denon-sponsored #19 Porsche 993 of Fiorano Racing. The Speedsource Porsche took the class lead when the Hebert/Theetge Motorsports #73 Acura NSX blew its motor at the start of the final hour. However, the Fiorano Porsche moved ahead a few laps later.
The pair of Porsches battled nose-to-tail for several laps until some paint was exchanged and the Speedsource car took the lead with only eight minutes remaining in the race. The Fiorano car was unable to battle back, giving David Haskell, of Plantation, Fla., and Sylvain Tremblay, of Pompano Beach, Fla., their third-straight class victory for Speedsource.
"I got a puncture in turn one early in the race," said Tremblay. "Then I got the stop-and-go penalty for passing under the yellow. But the crew just kept telling me over the radio to keep with it."
It was history in the making in the Sport Touring (ST) class, as Team Lexus placed the world's first Lexus IS 300 on top of podium. Chuck Goldsborough, of Baltimore, and Terry Borcheller, of Phoenix, drove the Lexus to the historic victory, amazingly on one set of tires.
"Strategy came into play, but there was a lot of luck too," said Goldsborough. "We had a lot of help from a lot of people to get this win. Everything just came together. We did the race on one set of tires, and that was our plan. My job was to keep the leaders in my sight during the first half of the race, but not to go out and push the tires or car. Then Terry got in it and took it to the front."
Borcheller did experience a lot pressure from the Chambersburg Waste Paper #34 BMW Z3 Coupe of Villaconn International, who pulled within a second during the final hour. However the car began suffering problems and lost speed on the straightaways, taking it out of contention for the win.
Planet Earth Motorsports scored another victory in the Compact 2000 (C2K) class, but this time with its Orangefield Citrus-sponsored #42 Acura Integra GSR in Victory Lane. The team's #43 Acura held an early lead, until it went off the track with mechanical problems. But the #42 Acura carried the team to victory once again with Wayne Nonnamaker, of North Canton, Ohio, and Roy 'Gator' Mitchell II, of Altras, Fla., sharing driving duties. The win came in the sixth race of Mitchell's career.
The Honda of America/Redline Oil/DC Sports-sponsored #92 Honda Civic Si of Honda of America Racing Team took second in the class, followed by the Kiel Pharmaceuticals #91 Honda Civic Si of QRC Motorsports. It was QRC Motorsports' first-ever podium finish.
The Grand-Am Cup competitors will next travel to Elkhart Lake, Wis., for the last of three-consecutive races. The Road America three-hour race will be held Saturday, July 7.