SPORTSCAR: Press Notes 20 - 62

Press Notes, Saturday (20-62) 19 April, 1997 20. Good Saturday morning and welcome to the second day of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Grand Prix of Atlanta Presented by Royal Purple Motor Oil. Today's activities feature qualifying for the Exxon World...

Press Notes, Saturday (20-62)

19 April, 1997

20. Good Saturday morning and welcome to the second day of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Grand Prix of Atlanta Presented by Royal Purple Motor Oil. Today's activities feature qualifying for the Exxon World SportsCar Championship, Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive and Black Magic Pro Series, followed by this afternoon's 2:45 pm start of the 3-hour SPEEDVISION Cup for Stock SportsCars Race.

21. ENTRY LIST CHANGES

SPEEDVISION CUP FOR STOCK SPORTSCARS CAR CLASS CHANGE 24 S ADD Tom Coleman/Ashville, NC 25 GS ADD Jim McCormick/New Rochelle, NY 26 GS ADD Randy Pobst/Melbourne, FL and DELETE John Ruhlin/ Dublin, OH 71 GS ADD Paul Kitchener/Missssauga, Ontario, Canada 84 S ADD Chuck Goldsborough/Baltimore, MD

22. 8:43 am, GREEN FLAG starts the 15-minute warm up session for the SPEEDVISION Cup cars. 75 cars are qualified for today's race that is scheduled to start at 2:45pm. Qualifying records were broken in all four classes. In the Grand Sports class, six drivers broke the previous qualifying record. Four Sports class drivers bettered the previous record and two Touring drivers were under the qualifying record. In Compact, the pole sitter, David Daughtery, was the only driver to break the qualifying record.

23. 8:58 am, CHECKERED FLAG ends the incident-free warm up session for SPEEDVISION Cup cars.

24. 9:13 am GREEN FLAG starts the 30-minute practice session for Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive cars.

25. 9:43 am, CHECKERED FLAG ends the incident-free final practice session for the Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive cars. They'll return to the track for qualifying this afternoon beginning at 1:00 pm.

26. 9:57 am, GREEN FLAG waves starting the final practice session for the Exxon World SportsCars ... First out on course are the two Oldsmobile Aurora-powered R&S MK III entries (#1 and #4) that suffered engine problems yesterday. Both cars are running well, the #1 car's best lap so far in this session is a 1:12.087=125.848 mph, while the #4 car's best lap has been a 1:13.327=123.720 mph ... 9:20 am, Eric van de Poele, in the #1 Oldsmobile has pulled off course at turn seven. Crew reports the car was losing fluid and the driver pulled off to avoid any potential damage to the motor.

27. 10:27 am, CHECKERED FLAG ends the final Exxon World SportsCar Championship practice session. Exxon World SportsCar qualifying begins at 1:50 pm. The fastest in the session is James Weaver in the #16 Ford R&S MK III, with a lap of 1:09.653=130.246 mph. (The fastest lap of the weekend is still Andrea Montermini's lap of 1:09.208=131.08 mph, in the #30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP in yesterday morning's first practice session.)

28. 10:43 am, GREEN FLAG starts the Black Magic Pro Series qualifying session 9:51 am, BLACK FLAG temporarily stops the session to clear an incident involving #5 Gary Tiller who went off track at turn three.

29. 10:53 am, GREEN FLAG waves restarting the Black Magic Pro Series qualifying session ... Fastest in the session so far is #42 Mike Anderson, with a lap of 1:31.786=98.839 mph ... #83 Mike Davies turns the fastest lap on his lap 6 with a time of 1:30.416=100.311 mph ... 11:00 am, #11 Duane Neyer spins in turn 7 and continues with slight damage. At the time he is fifth fastest.

30. CHECKERED FLAG ends the Black Magic Pro Series qualifying session. #83 Mike Davies is fastest qualfier, with a lap of 1:29.719=101.116 mph, bettering his own qualifying record set in last season's event.

31. Further report on the #1 Oldsmobile R&S MK III that stopped on course during the final practice session for the Exxon World SportsCars: Bill Riley, the team's race engineer reports that the problem was a failed water pump. Since changing the whole engine is easier than changing the water pump the team has elected to install another new engine (the team replaced the first engine yesterday). All of the Aurora motors are the latest specification. Riley reports the team's sister car, the #4 Oldsmobile, is "running like a top."

31. 1:02 pm, GREEN FLAG starts qualifying for Exxon Supreme GTS-3 cars ... 1:08 pm, BLACK FLAG temporarily stops the session. #81 Mazda RX-7 was slow down the hill towards turn 12 with the #6 BMW M3 close behind. The two cars come together at the apex of turn 12. The #6 BMW continues, while the Mazda backs into the guardrail and comes to a stop just before the starters stand on drivers left.

32. 1:24 pm, GREEN FLAG restarts the session with eight minutes remaining in the qualifying session. The fastest so far is the #93 Nissan, with a fast lap of 123.343=108.851 mph ...1:29 pm, New fastest qualifier: #7 BMW M3, 1:23.324=108.876 mph ... 1:29 pm, New fastest qualifier: #93 Nissan turns a fast lap of 1:22.862=109.483 mph.

33. 1:32 pm, CHECKERED FLAG, Exxon Supreme GTS-3 Fastest Qualifier is Henry Taleb in the #93 Nissan 240SX with a time of 1:22.862=109.483 mph, for a new GTS-3 qualifying record. Taleb reports "I knew there would be a lot of traffic early in session so I tried to save the car and go for it at the end. I think we have a good race car for tomorrow."

34. 1:44 pm, GREEN FLAG starts qualifying for Exxon Supreme GTS-1 and GTS-2 cars ... About midway into the session GTS-1 #91 Chevrolet Camaro with a time of 1:17.530=117.013mph and GTS-2 leader #56 Porsche 911 for a time of 1:22.400=110.097 mph.

35. 1:59pm, CHECKERED FLAG ends the session. Fastest qualifier in G TS-1 is Stu Hayner in the #91 Chevrolet Camaro with a fast lap of 1:17.393=117.220 mph. Fastest qualifier in GTS-2 is Martin Snow in the #56 Porsche 911 Turbo with a time of 1:20.955=112.062 mph.

36. STU HAYNER, #91 ROCK VALLEY OIL & CHEMICAL CHEVROLET CAMARO, Fasteset Qualifier in Exoxn Supreme GTS-1: "I was really hoping we could set a new qualifying record. We've got the car to do it. It's been comfortable all weekend, so we should be set for the race."

37. MARTIN SNOW, #56 MARTIN SNOW RACING PORSCHE 911 TURBO, Fastest Qualifier in Exxon Supreme GTS-2: "We really didn't try to go for the pole. As much as anything, it was probably because I was driving smoother than I have all weekend. That, and the car is just fabulous."

38. 2:05 pm GREEN FLAG starts the qualifying session for the Exxon World SportsCar Championship... 2:10 pm, Velez in the #3 Ferrari 333 SP sets fastest time of 1:10.208=129.216 mph ... #16 enters the pits with light smoke.

39. 2:13 pm Velez in #3 Ferrari 333 SP resets the fastest time of 1:09.640=130.270 mph ... #1 pits Eric van de Poele exits the car an Wayne Taylor gets in ... #16 enters the pits again with light smoke ... #3 Velez gets out and Eduardo Dibos gets in.

40. CHECKERD FLAG waves and Fermin Velez in the #3 Ferrari 333 SP wins the pole with a time of 1:09.640=130.270 mph ... The pole is the fourth for Velez in the series.

FERMIN VELEZ, #3 FERRARI 333 SP: "I was really surprised we got the pole. I thought the other guys were quicker. I just got a a perfect place in between the traffic and just went for it."

41. The field rolls out starting the pace lap prior to the start of the 3-hour SPEEDVISION Cup for Stock SportsCars race.

42. 3:01 pm GREEN FLAG waves .. the #88 Toyota Supra jumps out front ... #59 spins on course in turn one and continues ... #82 enters the pits with damage ... #28 smoking on course.

43. #70 takes over the lead over car #88, Sports leader is #81 ... #90 off in turn seven, Scooter Gabel is out of the car to make repairs .

44. 3:12 pm #43 Joe Nonnamaker leads Touring ... 3:18 pm #72 BMW M3 is involved in an incident on course, and is moved off course.

45. 3:20 pm Grand Sports leaders are #70, #88, #92 ... #18 spins and continues off the hill.

46. #33 off in turn seven, lost his left front wheel ... Car #11 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 driven by Devon Powell looses the front left wheel on course, cars scramble to move ... 3:27 pm FULL COURSE YELLOW ... Current leaders are Grand Sports #70, 88, 92, Sports #81, 9, 8, Touring 43, 42, 31, Compact #49, 89, 97 ... #4 pits, Walton gets in and routine ... #81 pits routine ... #8 is in with stuck blinkers.

47. 3:50 pm GREEN FLAG waves ... #81 stop and go penalty for exceeding the speed limit .

48: 3:56 pm YELLOW FLAG waves, #10 is involved in an incident bringing out the second full course yellow ... #19 pits, Bob Speakman out and Mike Speakman in, the crew changes the battery ... #70 pits routine, Ham stays in the car ... #88 pits for a routine stop and Eric Van Cleef goes in for Chuck Goldsborough

49. 4:30 pm, FULL COURSE YELLOW to clear cars that had gone off course ... #9 pits, McMillin out, Hill gets in, routine ... #15 pits for routine stop, Mel Butt gets in the car ... #86 pits, left-side tires.

50. 4:51 pm, GREEN FLAG waves as rain starts to fall on the track ... #70 leads Grand Sports .

51. 5:03 pm, YELLOW FLAG waves with heavy rain falling and cars spinning on the front stretch ... tires are on the track ... #88 went into the tires on the front straight with heavy damage. The driver, Eric Van Cleef, gets out of the car ... #70 Sylvain Tremblay leads the field under caution caution ... #81 leads Sports.

52. 5:24 pm, GREEN FLAG waves restarting this rain-filled event ... #54 leads Grand Sports.

53. FULL COURSE YELLOW #72 spins off course ... #47, Gary Smith spins on the front stretch into the tire wall ... The #83 car, with Chuck Hemmingson behind the wheel, is on its side against the guardrail near turn one ... #47 is pushed off the tire wall and proceeds on course ... #81, Lazarro, Sports leader, pits, his windshield wipers are no longer working, crew applies RAIN-X to the windshield and Lazarro stays in the car.

54. 5:42 pm GREEN FLAG waves restarts the race ... rain starts to fall again ... #54 leads Grand Sports ... 17 minutes remaining, #3 David Murry passes #54 Borcheller for the lead ... #01 BMW is smoking on course with a left rear flat tire.

55. Current leaders are #3, #54, #32 in Grand Sports ... #01 pits, Halsmer stays in and take on tires and fuel ... #4 Don Knowles takes the lead with five minutes remaining ... #4 spins and #54 takes the lead ... #54 repasses #4 for the lead.

56. 6:05 pm, CHECKERED FLAG waves ending the race, with Terry Borcheller in the #54 Ford Mustang Cobra R taking the win. His co-driver, Scooter Gabel, started the race in the car. The win is their first in the series ... The winner in Sports is the #81 BMW 328is of Mike Fitzgerald and Anthony Lazzaro. It's their first win in the series ... Joe Nonnamaker and Bill Pate take the Touring class win in the #43 Mazda MX-6. It's the pair's third straight win of the season. Nonnamaker now has five wins in the series, while Pate has seven career wins ... Peter Schwartzott and Joe Danaher take the Compact class win in the #40 Honda Civic del Sol. Schwartzott has now won 16 races in the series. His teammate Danaher now has 10 wins.

57. GRAND SPORTS CO-WINNER TERRY BORCHELLER: "I didn't mean to hit Don Knowles with two laps to go, and I'm sure he knew that. I really felt bad about it when he spun, but not bad enough to slow down and let him back by me!"

58. GRAND SPORTS CO-WINNER SCOOTER GABEL: "This race last year was my first race in this series, and we ran ok but we broke a throttle cable. This time, with David Murry so close behind Terry at the end, it was our strategy to led David by -- he knows this track real well -- and then set him up for a pass close to the end. It didn't look like it was going to work when Don Knowles passed both Terry and David, but Don got tapped and spun in turn seven and that let Terry by at the end. This is our first win, and we're doing our best to keep Ford in the lead for the Manufacturers Championship. "

59. SPORTS CO-WINNER MIKE FITZGERALD: "We had a wheel speed sensor mounted on the steering wheel, and early in the race it started to come lose, which prevented me from turning the wheel back the other way. I finally got it loosened up enough to take it off, and I was tempted to just throw it out the window, but it's an expensive piece, so... We also lost the power steering an hour into the race and that made it a little harder to steer, but a car without at race speeds is easier to drive that way than a street car."

60. SPORTS CO-WINNER ANTHONY LAZZARO: "My problem was with the windshield in the rain. There was so much of that red Georgia clay being kicked up by other cars that the windshield was caked with mud and I couldn't see out. And, the wipers weren't working. I was trying to loosen my belts so I could stretch my arm out and make a little hole to see out of, but we got a yellow flag and that enabled me to come into the pits and let the crew clean the mud off and pour a bottle of Rain-X on the glass. That fixed it real good."

61. COMPACT CO-WINNER PETER SCHWARTZOTT: "I think today we saw that the Honda Civic del Sol Si and the Nissan 200SX, are evenly matched cars. We only took the lead for the first time in the first turn of the last lap, and that was a lot better than losing the lead with two laps to go at Sebring. Our car is built by my son, Peter Jr., who just graduated from college with an associate degree in Liberal Arts. He was in my design class there and I gave him the best grade in the class, a B+. He actually did an A-grade job, but he was only a B on his workmanship. I'm proud of him."

62. COMPACT CLASS CO-WINNER JOE DANAHER: "Peter and I are 111 years old between us, and I guess today our experience out-shined all the young stallions. Things got busy in the pits, but we survived and won."

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About this article
Series IMSA Others
Drivers James Weaver , Wayne Taylor , Eric van de Poele , David Murry , Anthony Lazzaro , Randy Pobst , Jim McCormick , Joe Nonnamaker , Bill Pate , Devon Powell , Terry Borcheller , Sylvain Tremblay , Andrea Montermini , Chuck Hemmingson , Chuck Goldsborough , Peter Schwartzott , David Daughtery , Mike Davies , Scooter Gabel , Gary Smith , Fermin Velez , Don Knowles , Stu Hayner , Mike Speakman