Pontiac GXP.R Third At VIR Edwards and Collins Podium in GT Alton, Virginia, April 28, 2007 - Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards drove the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R to a third place finish in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series ...
Pontiac GXP.R Third At VIR
Edwards and Collins Podium in GT
Alton, Virginia, April 28, 2007 - Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards drove the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R to a third place finish in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway. In the team car, Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis finished 12th with the Racers Edge No. 30 GXP.R coming home in 17th.
Collins started the No. 07 Banner GXP.R from the third row following his fifth place qualifying effort earlier in the day. Thirteen laps into the race, the Californian went off at the exit of turn fourteen and took a trip down the Virginian country side. When he recovered Collins was forced to pit, but the excursion resulted in no real damage to the Pontiac. What first looked like a mishap turned into strategy. The team returned Collins to the fray on the lead lap and he returned 33 laps later to relinquish the seat to co-driver Paul Edwards. Edwards was able to finish the race without another pit stop for a podium finish.
"What looked like early disaster turned into a blessing," Edwards said. "Kelly's off forced us into an early pit stop strategy which became the call of the day. The third place finish was as a good as a win for us today. The car was really consistent. We really don't have the power to be aggressive in traffic, so we have to be patient and let the race to come to us, today it did."
Tim Lewis Jr. took the green flag in the team No. 06 Banner GXP.R from his tenth place qualifying position. He was able to run steadily in the top ten before handing over to driver/owner Leighton Reese. Reese went on to finish the Pontiac in 12th place.
"I didn't have the greatest of days behind the wheel," Reese said. "The car was under me the whole race and Tim did a great job at the start and ran most of the race. Paul and Kelly did a great job to come back from what looked like early doom. The team deserved that podium after a somewhat lethargic start to our season."
In the No. 30 Racers Edge GXP.R, new comer James Gue started the race and ran as high sixth place. The team from Florida was destined for a top five finish when a left rear wheel issue forced extra pit stops with Mark Pavan at the wheel, relegating them to a 19th finish.
"The car was a top five runner today," Pavan said. "We were taking a second a lap out of the front guys and then we had the wheel problem. I think the rear wheel got misaligned on the hub and that caused a big vibration. We proved we could run at the front today, a big step forward for us."
-credit: gm racing