SCC: Watkins Glen: Powell Motorsport preview

Following its decisive victory over Porsche at Mt.Tremblant, Grand American officials add 250 lbs in ballast to the Cadillac, contending the CTS-V is too fast for the competition. Port Perry On. (June 14, 2004) -- The question that remains to be...

Following its decisive victory over Porsche at Mt.Tremblant, Grand American officials add 250 lbs in ballast to the Cadillac, contending the CTS-V is too fast for the competition.

Port Perry On. (June 14, 2004) -- The question that remains to be answered this weekend at the Grand Am Cup race in Watkins Glen is 'was it too good to be true?'. At 3000 lbs, did the CTS V have a unfair advantage winning in May, and will 3250 lbs neutralize the CTS-V's Grand Am Cup breakthrough in June? Race fans will find out Saturday; it will be a 250 mile, 3 hour time limit race.

Looking back at Grand Am Cup competition over the past years, Grand American's weight adjustment to the Cadillac really shows how good a car the CTS V really is in production form.

The CTS V had its genesis at the newly formed General Motors High Performance Vehicle Group. GM HPVO produces refined 'hot rods' from various name plates in the General Motors product line up. Under the watchful eye of veteran racer and GM engineer John Heinricy, the CTS sports sedan thus became the V series: an awesome sports sedan, with 405 horsepower 8 cylinder engine, 6 speed manual transmission, massive brakes and exceptional handling.

The Powell team felt quite simply that the CTS V win at Mt.Tremblant was an over due result, finally putting Porsche in its place following 15 consecutive victories in Grand Am Cup. It was way back in September 2002 when the Powell team's Sunoco Corvette last beat the Porsches. Not once in 2003 did any other car than Porsche win over-all in Grand Am Cup.

For the 2004 Grand Am Cup season, Grand American officials moved both the Corvette and the GT3 Porsche out of Grand Am Cup and into Rolex competition, leaving behind the Porsche 996, Audi A4, Mustang, Nissan and BMW in the top class.

The Powell team elected to stay with Sunoco in Grand Am Cup, and raced a five year old Firebird to fifth at the first race in Daytona January 2004.

Right after the stunning debut of the fabulous Pratt & Miller CTS V racer in the Speed GT World Challenge at Sebring in March, Grand American added the production CTS V to the list of eligible vehicles in the Street Stock Grand Am Cup Grand Sport class.

One race later at Homestead, the Powell team arrived with two newly built Cadillac CTS V's It was hardly an auspicious debut: the car Powell built for the Sachs/Snipes racing team raced to 12th, and the one built for Devon Powell and Mike Weinberg failed to make the race when a dry sump pump failed and destroyed the engine in warm up just prior to the race.

Next event at Phoenix, the Powell team's Sunoco CTS-V entry experienced various problems including an accident with another car. This bent the front suspension, and Devon and Mike scraped by with a lack luster 11th place result. The Sachs/Snipes car finished 14th.

In the meantime Terry Borcheller and Craig Stanton driving a Nonnamaker team Porsche 966 won all four races in a row.

At Mt.Tremblant last month, a great deal changed. The Powell team added the third CTS V they have built this year for GAC, the Rockland Standard Gear #02 car. Terry Borcheller, the victor of the first four races, left the Nonnamaker Porsche team and joined the Powell CTS V team to co-drive with Devon Powell. During practice at the Mt.Tremblant race, Cadillac Speed GT works driver and Le Mans Corvette winner Andy Pilgrim drove the Powell #11 Sunoco CTS V in practice, and gave some set up advice to the team.

"Andy really helped us, no doubt," said Team Leader John Powell, "Devon and Terry were very fast, consistent and heads up in the race. It is a total team effort; the hard work that Devon, Dave, Brady and Tim produce in the race shop, along with strategy from Vladimir and Paul at the track really counted for a lot towards the win at Mt.Tremblant."

Devon Powell not only drives the #11 Sunoco Cadillac, he does the work back at the shop. "I fabricated the weight box and filled it up with lead" he said "fixed the fuel cell, and reset the car. Whatever gets thrown at us, we are more determined than ever to keep winning. Terry is a super driver, a big help to us. If the Hoosier tires can handle the extra weight, Terry and I will get the job done. Mike Weinberg and Don Knowles are backing us up with the #02 Rockland Standard Gear CTS V, which we look to be strong at the Glen."

Round five of the Grand-Am Cup Series, will be held June 17 at Watkins Glen, New York. The Sahlen's 250 will be telecast on SPEED Channel Sunday June 27 at 2.00 p.m.

The Powell #11 Grand Cup GS cars race with Sunoco Ultra 94 ethanol enhanced gasoline, available throughout Ontario, Canada - the highest octane on the street.

The Powell #02 Grand Am Cup cars race with sponsorship from internationally recognised standard transmission experts Rockland Standard Gear. Rockland is a standard transmission re-manufacturing and wholesale parts distribution business located near New York City, USA.

The #11 Z06 Corvette also races with Chemcraft International Inc. Chemcraft is a North American leader in the supply of unique, high performance and environmental friendly industrial coatings for the wood finishing industry. The Chemcraft Wood Coatings Group are headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Port Hope, Ontario with active plants and warehouses across USA and Canada.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , John Heinricy , Devon Powell , Terry Borcheller , Craig Stanton , Don Knowles , Port Perry , John Powell