Watkins Glen report

ANGLO-AMERICAN DRIVING DUO BRING ROB DYSON HIS SECOND GLEN CONTINENTAL WIN Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver, driving a Ford Riley & Scott MK-3, held off a 37-car field to win a thrilling IMSA Glen Continental XII. In a slugfest on the track...

ANGLO-AMERICAN DRIVING DUO BRING ROB DYSON HIS SECOND GLEN CONTINENTAL WIN

Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver, driving a Ford Riley & Scott MK-3, held off a 37-car field to win a thrilling IMSA Glen Continental XII. In a slugfest on the track and a battle of the pit crew, the Dyson entry beat the pole winning pair of Mauro Baldi and Fermin Velez, in a Ferrari 333SP, by a mere seven seconds after three hours of racing. Moving up to third in the final moments was the Oldsmobile Spice BDG 02 of Frederik Ekblom and Price Cobb, after the Ferrari of Wayne Taylor and Gianpiero Moretti ran out of fuel in the final laps. Rounding out the top five was the other Dyson entry piloted by Andy Wallace and team owner Rob Dyson, one lap down.

"Our car was so much better under braking than the Ferraris. Once I'd get close enough, it was really a simple matter to get by them," said Weaver, amid the post-race celebrations. "My car's so good it's easy to pass, the only thing that would do me in was traffic in the Inner Loop and the next right-hander. All I needed was a clean run to beat the Ferraris there.

Weaver grabbed the lead for good on the final restart with less than ten minutes to go in the 89 lap race. The lead Dyson car swapped the lead with two Ferraris and the Oldsmobile Spice for the entire event, often running in nose-to-tail formation. The battle on the track would break off as the pit crews would take up the challenge when the WSC racers dove into the pits for service.

The final yellow insured the American chassis and engine combination, as it allowed Weaver to stretch the fuel mileage. But Taylor fell from third when his car ran dry, denying Gianpiero Moretti his second straight IMSA win at the historic upstate New York road course. It was announced that it would the Momo wheel magnate's last run at Watkins Glen International.

Weaver/Leitzinger averaged 100.03 mph for Weaver's second Exxon World Sports Car race week this season. It was for Leitzinger, who will also drive in Sunday's NASCAR Lysol 200 race, his first WSC win, after a heralded career in the lower IMSA classes. Dyson's first win at the Glen came in 1987.

"I bit all my fingernails down to the edge there. We were right on (fuel) reserve on the last lap. We just barely made it over the finish line on fumes at the end," 26-year-old Leitzinger.

Irv Hoerr, in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, controlled the GTS-1 class all afternoon, as he cruised to a two lap victory over the father-son team of Charles and Rob Morgan, also in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Hoerr only surrendered the GTS-1 lead when he ducked into the pits for fuel and tires.

The team of Andy Pilgrim and Larry Schumacher emerged from a three-way brawl for GTS-2 division honors. The Pilgrim/Schumacher Porsche 911 swapped the lead all race long with pole sitter Bill Auberlen/Henry Taleb's Mazda RX-7 and the Porsche 911 of Dennis Aase and Jorge Trejos. Like the headlining Exxon World Sports Car class, it was both a battle on the track and in the pits. Pilgrim took the lead for good with less than five minutes remaining in the $139,000 enduro.

"Man, it was close. We we're running out of fuel," explained Pilgrim, who will also drive in Sunday morning's IMSA Street Stock Endurance Championship event. "I just had to get through the stumbles in the corners and the exits. Those guys said there was enough fuel and they were biting there teeth, too."

TV series "Coach" actor Craig T. Nelson suffered through three engine failures in his Lexus Spice, as his entry was the third car to retire when co-driver Dan Clark parked it after only 13 laps.

The Bugatti EB110, in its North American debut, finished fifth in the GTS-1 class. Former Formula One driver Patrick Tambay and Gildo Pastor-Pallanca wheeled the car to the checkered flag five laps behind class winner Hoerr.

J.J. O'Malley, Director of Communications Watkins Glen International 73771,531@compuserve.com

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Andy Pilgrim , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Rob Dyson , Mauro Baldi , Fredrik Ekblom , Patrick Tambay , Price Cobb , Rob Morgan , Fermin Velez , Gianpiero Moretti , Dennis Aase , Jorge Trejos