Craig Stanton Hope for Watkins Glen Win Washed-Away in Downpour WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., August 16, 2004 -- Craig Stanton started second in his return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Series at Friday evening's Sahlen's 200 at The Glen but would ...
Craig Stanton Hope for Watkins Glen Win Washed-Away in Downpour
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., August 16, 2004 -- Craig Stanton started second in his return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Series at Friday evening's Sahlen's 200 at The Glen but would finish a frustrated ninth in class (30th overall) after a mid-race accident. At the start of the two-hour race, the Long Beach, California driver quickly took over the SGS class lead in the 41 Orison Marketing-Planet Earth Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry. He ran there until a stirring battle dropped him to second. He was readying his assault to reclaim the lead when a sudden and torrential rainstorm struck in the final corner of the 11-turn Watkins Glen International "short course". The storm, which violently dumped several inches of water on parts of the circuit, sent eight cars into the styrofoam and tire wall at the outside of the turn and several more to the inside of the corner. Following a hard impact with the wall, the Grand-Am Cup point leader, who was fourth off the track, sat strapped in his car and watched as the back of his Porsche was hit by another car. Despite two major impacts, Stanton was unhurt, a testimony to not only the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup platform, Grand American safety rules and track forethought, but to his own physical fitness.
Craig Stanton: "I guess it looked like a lot harder hit on TV than it was. It really wasn't that bad. I feel just fine. I came around the corner, saw the rain and got off the power. Next thing I knew I went another football field on a sheet of water. I am disappointed. I had a great start and went through traffic real well. My strategy was to run and hide early knowing that we would have a yellow at any time. It was working but the TPC cars are very, very strong. So, when Levitas came up on me, I decided to let him go so he'd burn down his tires. We could have finished real well. By the time I needed [rain] tires, my teammates were in the pits so I had to go one more lap. I just had no idea that, on that spot on the track, the skies opened-up. I had just been through there a minute and 18-seconds earlier and I had more grip than anyone so I knew that was the place I wanted to make the move for the lead. No one around us had enough information to slow-up. I just hydroplaned all the way into the wall. There were cars everywhere, on the inside and the outside of 11. I am just glad that no one was more hurt than they were. I hope that everyone recovers quickly. This is a testament to how strong the Porsche is and to the track for getting enough cushion there to keep us from really hitting the fence. It's great to have all the safety equipment we have and, as these cars keep getting quicker, it's good to keep looking for the next step forward in safety for the drivers and the cars."
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