Georgia, Florida drivers take GTS and GT Class at Panoz GT Pro Series during Atlanta Grand Prix BRASELTON, Ga., June 29 -- ROAD ATLANTA -- David Barr of Duluth, GA, drove off with the GTS class trophy while late entry Gavin Riches from Naples,...
Georgia, Florida drivers take GTS and GT Class at Panoz GT Pro Series during Atlanta Grand Prix
BRASELTON, Ga., June 29 -- ROAD ATLANTA -- David Barr of Duluth, GA, drove off with the GTS class trophy while late entry Gavin Riches from Naples, Florida, captured the GT cup during this morning's Panoz GT Pro Series event at the Atlanta Grand Prix here at Road Atlanta.
The 25-lap event was punctuated with hard, competitive driving among the 19 drivers in a race where both classes compete simultaneously in a timed, 45-minute event.
Said Riches, "I was tired at the end. Every lap was like driving in qualifying."
The Panoz GT Pro Series is the official support race leading up to the main event, the American Le Mans Series race later in the day.
While Barr extended his lead in the GTS class, Audrey Zavodsky, of New Boston, MI, the only woman in competition and leader going into Sunday's event, finished fifth in the GT class, knocking her back in the standings, though still in close contention.
Official standings will not be available for several days.
Eddie Mady of Boca Raton, Florida, second overall in the GT series, finished second in the race, despite being plagued by a back injury, contact by another car on the track, a broken exhaust, near blinding conditions with exhaust and fuel fumes in the cockpit affecting his eyesight and mud thrown from another car on the windshield. At the race's end he was escorted to medical for treatment. Mady missed the awards ceremony but was nearly recovered within 90 minutes.
Road racing newcomer Adam Fichtelman of Oceanside, CA, who began racing competitively just last October, took an unexpected third in the GT.
Easily fending off steady second place finisher Shayne Stephens of Tulsa, OK, Barr had been the GTS favorite from the start. The class veteran is noted for his meticulously prepared, privately owed car. He had won the pole position with a 1:34.321 lap, nearly six tenths of a second faster than his nearest competitor and second seed, Bob Frost.
Frost, from Beavercreek, OH and Buckhead, GA, was cursed with bad luck all week, first with an off-track venture Friday which tore open the oil sump and caused the car to catch fire. That repaired, the car rear-ended the wall in the front straightaway during final practice on Saturday. Crews spent last night making the car race ready for today. The curse continued with an incident in the first turn of the first lap with another GTS car driven by Wes Ramsdale of Long Grove, IL. That brought out the yellow caution as both cars had to be pulled from the gravel. Both cars did return to the track, and Ramsdale made a few laps prior to retiring with just two laps logged. Frost managed to finish 18 laps, 7 laps off the pace.
Chris Riley of Wilton, CT, held on for the GTS third place trophy in his first appearance in a Panoz GTS.