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Portland: GT race notes

Archer Drives Flag-To-Flag To Win SCCA SPEED GT Round Five at Portland PORTLAND, Ore. (July 25, 2004) -- Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., drove flag-to-flag in the caution-filled Round Five race to capture his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World...

Archer Drives Flag-To-Flag To Win SCCA SPEED GT Round Five at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 25, 2004) -- Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., drove flag-to-flag in the caution-filled Round Five race to capture his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT win of 2004 at Portland International Raceway. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., finished second, while Archer's teammate Phil McClure, of Floris, Iowa, was third.

After a two days of more than 100-degree temperatures, track conditions were considerably cooler for the start of Sunday's SPEED GT race, with air temperatures in the mid-60s. Starting from the pole position in his No. 22 c3controls/Whelen Engineering/3R-Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, Archer got great jump from the standing start and led going into turn one on the first lap, a lead he would never relinquish winning by a record 1.072 seconds on the 1.944-mile circuit. While, Archer led start to finish, he was frequently challenged by Pobst, who would close the gap going into the turns, but Archer, whose Dodge Viper has more straight line speed than the Audi, would pull away in the straights.

"Our game plan was if we didn't lead the Audi, it was going to be tough race," Archer said of getting a good jump on Pobst's Audi, which is known for great standing starts. "They're so much faster in the turns than the heavy car and tires I had. I would go like heck down the straightaway and get a lead and then he [Pobst] would be right back on me. And, I am like, 'This is nuts.' My tires won't live [if we keep this up]. Those yellows really helped us a lot because with three or four laps to go, I was slipping. I just had to be careful and rely on the horsepower down the straightaway."

Archer's win was the third of his SPEED World Challenge career. He last win came in 1991 in Saltillo, Mexico driving an Eagle Talon in the Super Production class. With his win, Archer received $15,500 -- the largest one race payout, including contingency, in SPEED World Challenge history.

On lap two, the first of three cautions came out, when the No. 34 and No. 99 Corvettes of Tony Gaples and Tom Oates made contact in the chicane, forcing Gaples into the gravel, while Oates pulled his car off course.

Additionally, as the course went yellow, Kevin Chambers' Corvette made contact with Jon Groom's Porsche 911 GT3 Cup -- forcing Groom into the wall and out of the race. Chambers was later penalized 10 drivers' points for the contact under caution.

The race went green on lap seven and by lap eight, the No. 16 Cadillac/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V, driven by Max Angelelli, was on the move as he made his way from fourth to third. Going into the chicane on lap nine, Angelelli made contact with the back of Pobst's No. 2 Audi Certified Pre-Owned/Champion Audi. As a result, Angelelli ended up hitting the wall which ended his day, bringing out the second caution. At that point in the race, Angelelli had set race's fastest lap turning a 1:18.889 (88.712 mph), setting a new track record.

Despite the contact with Angelelli, Pobst was still less than a second behind Archer. Pobst then spent the next 21 laps trying to chase down Archer, but didn't quite have enough.

"I think Tommy Archer and 3R had the right car today," Pobst said of trying to catch Archer. "I think he was taking it easy saving his tires. We had so many yellows, but my Certified Pre-Owned Audi was a fine car, especially considering the REWARDS weight I was hauling. And, I could feel that. The tires were getting really slick later in the race. I had quite a job keeping the next car from catching me. I ran just at hard as I could. I wish the race would have been a little longer, because I think the longer the run, the more quattro becomes an advantage as the track gets slick. We had a really good race today, I must say. I am very pleased with the result."

Pobst's second place finish was his third podium finish of 2004.

McClure, piloting the No. 73 Aggregate Industries/3R-Racing Corvette ZO6, benefited from Angelelli's miscue, as he assumed third place and was never really challenged for the final podium spot, finishing nearly 17 seconds ahead of the fourth finisher Andy Pilgrim. McClure's third place finish was his second podium finish in as many races.

"I think had we not had as many yellows as we did, it would have been a little more interesting race between Randy [Pobst] and I," McClure said. "But, who knows, my car might have fallen as much as his did if we would've stayed green. [We had] a little luck. Max [Angelelli] got Randy in the rear going into the chicane. I think both of those cars were awful strong. But, its great to see Tommy [Archer] get his first win this year. It was another good weekend for 3R-Racing, two on the podium again for the second race in a row. It's the right time of the year to be coming on. So, we're happy."

After being involved in a three-car incident with Scotty White and Michael Galati in the chicane on the third green flag restart, Pilgrim won the Remus Power Move of the Race for his drive back through the field after falling from fifth to 16th.

Tim Wiens, of Westminster, Colo., brought his No. 33 1st Interstate Inns/3R-Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe home in a career-best fifth place, after steadily moving up from his ninth starting position.

Galati won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race Award for advancing 12 positions on lap one. Although Galati qualified his No. 2 Audi Certified Pre-Owned/Champion Audi RS 6 fourth on the grid, he had to start from the back after the team elected to change cars. After extensive diagnostic testing on Galati's primary car, the team determined the best course of action would be to pull that car from the starting grid and have Galati drive the backup car.

Lou Gigliotti was penalized 10 points for multiple contact with cars throughout the race.

Archer takes over the lead in the SPEED GT Drivers' Championship with 129 points, followed by Galati (120 points), Pilgrim (115), Pobst (110) and McClure (97).

Audi leads the SPEED GT Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 30 points, followed by Cadillac (25), Dodge (23) and Chevrolet (17).

The SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship next visits Mosport International Raceway Aug. 6-8, as part of the Grand Prix of Mosport.

Today's race will initially air at 1:00 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 1 on SPEED Channel.

For more information, visit www.world-challenge.com.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Tommy Archer , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Max Angelelli , Lou Gigliotti , Phil McClure , Tim Wiens , Jon Groom , Tony Gaples , Tom Oates