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Charlotte Bill Cooper; taking it all

Pirate Racing's Cooper Wins Charlotte Speedvision World Challenge GT By Douglas K. Johnson CONCORD, NC -- Bill Cooper, of Bozeman, Mt., recovered from a poor start to dominate and win the Speedvision World Championship GT season opening...

Pirate Racing's Cooper Wins Charlotte Speedvision World Challenge GT By Douglas K. Johnson

CONCORD, NC -- Bill Cooper, of Bozeman, Mt., recovered from a poor start to dominate and win the Speedvision World Championship GT season opening race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on March 31.

Reese Cox, of Marietta, Ga., also driving a C5 Corvette, and Peter Kitchak, of Minneapolis, Minn., completed the top three.

Cooper, driving the No. 01 Les Stanford/Pirate Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5, started from the pole, but fell to third on the series' first-ever standing start as third-fastest qualifier David Schardt's Porsche 911 GT3 Cup took the point. Following a caution for a turn-one accident, Cooper re-took the lead on lap six and never looked back, taking a 2.993 second win over Cox, averaging 86.594 mph in the 65.25-mile contest.

Cooper almost didn't make the race, as his car was damaged in a qualifying incident after taking the pole. After completing only one lap in the early morning qualifying session, Cooper stuck a stack of tires thrown onto the track by a Dodge Viper, which had spun off the track.

"We're very lucky," said Cooper, who enjoyed his sixth-career World Challenge win. "Even though I got the pole, qualifying was a disaster as we messed the car up on the second lap. We're happy to be back. The new car brought a lot of enthusiasm to the team and today it really paid off."

Cooper, a 25-year veteran instructor at the Bondurant School, plans a full Speedvision GT season with the Les Stanford/Pirate Racing Corvette.

Jim Van Dorn, Pirate Team owner, said, "All of our team, the crew, the driver, and our sponsors: Les Stanford Chevrolet, GMAC, The Dart Lady, Burtronics Business Systems, NAPA, Redline; and myself, are committed to hold the 'standard' from this first victory through this season's World Challenge GT championship. We've got our new Corvette all sorted out but winning the Championship against such a great competitive field will be incredibly exciting for competitors and fans alike."

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Series PWC
Drivers Peter Kitchak