HART captures victory at soggy Sport Touring 250. ALTON, Va. (August 31, 2002) -- The Honda of America Race Team (HART) captured its second-straight win of the season today in the Sport Touring 250 at Virginia International Raceway. Pete Halsmer...
HART captures victory at soggy Sport Touring 250.
ALTON, Va. (August 31, 2002) -- The Honda of America Race Team (HART) captured its second-straight win of the season today in the Sport Touring 250 at Virginia International Raceway. Pete Halsmer and John Schmitt piloted the HART #00 Acura RSX to victory after a rain-soaked three hours of racing. Bill Fenton Motorsports also made it two-in-a-row by winning the ST II class.
Wade Gaughran led the field to the green flag, but his #14 Hyundai Tiburon's time at the front was short lived when both he and his teammate in the second Tiburon slid off the track in turn one. It was the first of many off-track excursions suffered by nearly every team during the race.
Schmitt managed to keep the #00 Acura on the track throughout his opening stint and handed the car over to Halsmer in the lead after 17 laps. "I really didn't think I'd be in the lead when we went down to turn one at the start. The Hyundai drove straight off the track and the BMW got off the line. So I got to get into the lead for a while," said Schmitt.
Halsmer began to work his way back up through the field by taking advantage of slides and spins by the leaders, and eventually recaptured the front spot. "Thankfully a couple of guys had some problems, or I don't think I could have gotten back to the front," said Halsmer. "Those guys ended up going off in front of me. I was running around back there in their spray. I don't know if I could have got by them."
A pair of Villaconn International BMW Z3s threatened Halsmer for the lead. The #36 entry of Bransen Patch and Don Salama slid past its teammates, Ken Dobson and Beau Buisson, in the #34 car to take over third place. The two BWMs moved up to second and third place when the second-place #64 Acura Integra R of King Motorsports was forced into the pits for fuel and oil.
Bob Beede and Bill Fenton Motorsports improved their lead in the ST II driver and team point standings after the victory of the #27 Acura. Beede and Eric Curran, joining the team for the first time, finished on the same lap as the ST I winners, a first for the class.
Scooter Gabel and Jonathan Lowman finished a close second in the DTM Engineering #5 Mazda Miata, while the father-son duo of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker took third.
The Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series will travel next to Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada. For additional information and tickets to the race, go to www.lecircuit.com. More information on the Grand-Am Cup Series is available online at www.grandamcup.com