CENTENNIAL, Colo. (September 27, 2001)*Normally, a series' silly season effects the following year, but SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT Championship Rookie of the Year hopeful Bobby Sak, Grand-Am SRII point leader Andy Lally and ...
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (September 27, 2001)*Normally, a series' silly season effects the following year, but SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT Championship Rookie of the Year hopeful Bobby Sak, Grand-Am SRII point leader Andy Lally and seven-time race winner "Wild" Bill Cooper have engaged in a game of musical Corvette drivers' seats leading into next weekend's season finale at the Petit Le Mans Presented by Audi.
Pirate Racing made the first move, announcing last week that its No. 75 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 would come out of a self-imposed retirement to compete one last time before the series' six year body style eligibility rule makes it obsolete in 2002. The last time the car appeared was at the 2000 finale in San Diego, with Craftsman Trucks driver Tom Bambard behind the wheel. Mark Wolocatiuk also drove the car in 2000, at Sears Point and Laguna Seca, but it will be Pirate Racing ace Cooper who will pilot the car for its final two races. Cooper recorded the last win for a C4 bodied Corvette at the 1998 Heartland Park race.
After the completion of the Road Atlanta races, the car will be donated to the National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Ky.
"This old car has given us a lot of great memories and we're proud to be the team to bring it out for its last hurrah," said team owner Jim Van Dorn. "One of our greatest moments was the first time we came to Road Atlanta [in August, 1999] and Bill battled wheel-to-wheel with Bobby Archer and Kermit Upton for the lead coming down the hill. That race was truly one of the most exciting races of Road Atlanta's great history."
In addition to the ZR-1, Pirate Racing announced today that Sak, who drove the first eight rounds in the No. 04 Grand Sport Racing Corvette C5, would pilot the team's No. 01 Valvoline/Les Stanford Chevrolet Corvette C5. Sak, who turns 23 on Friday, is currently 12th in points, and 48 points out of the Rookie of the Year lead, currently held by Bob Miller. "This is a very exciting time for me," said Sak, of Kalamazoo, Mich. "The Pirate Racing No. 01 C5 Corvette and crew are proven competitors in this series with two wins and many podium finishes. Nothing would make me happier than to go into the Petit Le Mans doubleheader in this great car and have a couple of podium finishes."
With Sak moving to Pirate, Grand Sport Racing Team Manager Terry Lackey looked no further than Lally as a replacement. Lally, 26, who earned his first solo professional race win at Road Atlanta in the U.S. F2000 series and is poised to take his first professional championship in the Grand-Am SRII class, filled in for the team at the 2000 finale as well, qualifying 11th before a mechanical problem sidelined the car.
"[Team owner] Kelly [Bradley] and I were very impressed with Andy after San Diego last year," said Lackey. "We've been trying to find a way to get him back in the car since then, and this is the perfect opportunity. Having Andy behind the wheel gives us a great shot at finishing out the season on the podium."
In all, 28 cars are entered for the SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT doubleheader finale. Practice begins Wednesday, Oct. 3, with qualifying Oct. 4 and racing Friday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 7. For