The following has been taken from *The Halifax Chronicle Herald* on-line edition - www.herald.ns.ca 05/19/95 PACE CAR GOOD BET TO WIDEN WSC LEAD By STEVE BEZANSON Sports Reporter They are the new kids on the block. And at this stage of...
The following has been taken from *The Halifax Chronicle Herald* on-line edition - www.herald.ns.ca
05/19/95 PACE CAR GOOD BET TO WIDEN WSC LEAD
By STEVE BEZANSON Sports Reporter
They are the new kids on the block. And at this stage of their careers, it's hard to tell the players without a program. But in the near future, drivers such as Jim Pace of Jackson, Miss., Fredrik Ekblom of Kumla, Sweden, Jeremy Dale of Toronto, Fermin Velez of Barcelona and James Weaver of Wiltshire, England, hope to command the same respect as the Mario Andrettis and Dale Earnhardts of the racing world. ``This is the second full year of the World Sports Car series and it's definitely growing,'' said Pace, who along with 22 other drivers will compete Sunday in the three-hour Exxon WSC and Supreme GT race, the highlight of this weekend's Moosehead Grand Prix at CFB Shearwater. ``There's more cars, more people, and I think there's a lot more public awareness of it,'' Pace said. ``But at this point, it's little different from other forms of racing because a lot of times, the cars are the stars. People come to see the Ferrari. Or they come to pull for the Oldsmobile or the Buick or whatever their particular make is, more so than for any particular driver. ``Obviously, we'd like them to pull for the driver and if they don't have a favorite, they can certainly pull for Jim Pace.'' Pace, who will combine his talents with Leigh Miller and Stan Wattles in Car No.0, is the points leader after three races on the WSC tour. He started the year with the Jim Downing team from Atlanta but switched to Miller's Florida-based team after the third event, at Road Atlanta on April30. ``Just the consistency of good, top finishes have put me in a position to be leading the series,'' said Pace, who finished third at both the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, and fifth at Road Atlanta. ``This is my first time in this car (Kudzu Buick) and with this team. But they've done their work, seen the track, and we're looking forward to making a strong showing." With Dale, Steve Millen and Fabrizzio Barbazza all sidelined due to serious injuries sustained in the Road Atlanta event, the Moosehead field is down in numbers. ``The accidents in Atlanta took two or three cars out of the field and we're sorry for that,'' Pace said. ``For that reason, it's not our strongest field, but there should still be a high quality of racing.'' For Pace and the rest of the competitors, coming to Halifax is a double-edged sword. ``Very few of the drivers have been here, so there was that unknown,'' Pace said. ``What's the track going to be like? Is it going to be a safe track? What are the fans going to be like? Is it going to be a well-attended race?``But on the other side, the feeling was: here is something new - an opportunity for us all to go out on a level playing field. ``Those who are capable of learning and adapting quickly are going to do well.'' Pace said he is happy to be here. ``It's always nice to come to a new venue and increase exposure for World Sports Cars. ``You don't necessarily want to go to the same racetrack time after time. ``With the WSC series, we have a new and different type of car, and if you can take it to a new and different market area and expose it to a new group of fans, that's what is going to help the series to grow.'' Locally, all eyes will be on the Halifax duo of Dave Smith and John Nicholson, who will compete in the GTS-1 class. ``I think they've got a pretty good shot and I look for them to be in the top five,'' race director Terry Dale said. ``They're good drivers with a lot of experience, and Smith has been a master at our previous Moosehead races. ``Their car is well-prepared and if sheer enthusiasm can do it, they should do well.'' Smith will pilot the No.70 Chevrolet Camaro through the first and third hours while Nicholson will be in the cockpit during the middle hour. ``Their car may not have as much horsepower as some of the others but this is not a long, grinder course like Daytona,'' Terry Dale said. ``They should be able to make up some ground in the corners. ``Also, you're talking about a three-hour race and anything can happen.''
SKID MARKS - World Sports Cars have the capacity to generate in the area of 600 horsepower. One horsepower is the force it takes to lift 575 pounds one foot in one second. - Besides the WSC race, which is slated for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, the program includes the Mitchum F1600, TRAC Tour and Super Stock Shootout events. The Moosehead GP is the fourth stop on the 13-race WSC tour. - In a fax received from Los Angeles on Thursday, Craig T. Nelson, star of the television sitcom ``Coach,'' said he will not be competing in the WSC race as originally planned. ``It came from out of the blue and was just a one sentence note saying he was sorry that he couldn't make it,'' said race director Terry Dale. ``There were no details but he's currently shooting a movie and the rumor going around is that the insurance company and movie people don't want him involved.''
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