Originally-Originally-From: Eric Prill <email@example.com> SONOMA, Calif. (July 22, 2001)- Johannes van Overbeek, from nearby Danville, Calif., earned his first SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT win in four years, taking...
Originally-Originally-From: Eric Prill <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SONOMA, Calif. (July 22, 2001)- Johannes van Overbeek, from nearby Danville, Calif., earned his first SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT win in four years, taking Round Six at the Sears Point Raceway X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma Weekend. Jeff McMillin, of Erie, Pa., and Phil McClure, of Floris, Iowa, completed the top three.
Driving the No. 81 Flextronics/Intel Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from the pole, van Overbeek dropped to second on the standing start, but passed Peter Cunningham in the final turn of the first lap to regain the point. From then on, he held off first Cunningham, and then McMillin to take a 1.092-second victory-his first in the series since Reno in 1997 in what is now the Speedvision Touring Car category. Van Overbeek averaged 81.536 mph in the caution-free event.
"This is definitely one of the longest races I've ever driven," said van Overbeek. "We had a funny little engine stumble at the start, but managed to get back up to speed. Jeff [McMillin] and Phil [McClure] were closing on me and I was lucky to hold on.
"It's taken us a while to get the Porsche sorted out, but this win definitely helps us. If there was a race to win for us, it was this one. It's great to do it in front of all the hometown friends and fans."
Van Overbeek's win moved Porsche into the Manufacturers' Championship point lead, 40 to 36 over Audi.
McMillin started his brand new No. 1 JJ's Snacks/John Hancock BMW M3 E46 fourth on the grid, but moved into third at the start. He hounded Cunningham until moving past on lap eight, at which point, he began to close on the leader. While closing the gap to a half second at times, he was unable to make an attempt at the lead, but came home a solid second-equaling his career-best finish.
"My hat is off to Johannes, he drove a hell of a race," said McMillin. "Our new car was just great. It's fantastic. It's going to do nothing but get better for the remainder of the season."
McClure drove a spirited race in the No. 73 Aggregate Industries/McClure Concrete Chevrolet Corvette C5, moving steadily up from sixth to third by the race's end, setting the race's fast lap in the process of 1:49.441 (82.894 mph). The podium finish was the first of McClure's Speedvision GT career, and the first for Corvette in 2001. For his effort, he earned the Borla Performance Award.
"It's been a lot of fun getting here," said McClure. "We gained a little knowledge at the wind tunnel with Chevrolet after the last race. The downforce we've found helped out tremendously in putting the power on the track through the tires, which we have struggled with. I think that everyone will be happy with these results, and I think it'll be easier to move up the podium now that we've gotten on the podium."
Point leader Michael Galati, of N. Olmstead, Ohio, finished fourth, and padded his point lead over Cunningham, who fell back to eighth on the day due to a suspected bad fuel injector. Mike Fitzgerald, of Phoenix, Ariz., finished fifth. Galati heads to Round Seven in Portland two weeks from now with a 16-point lead (170 to 154) over Cunningham. Fitzgerald is third, with 141, followed by van Overbeek (131) and McMillin (125).
Jimmy Adams, of Suffolk, Va., made the Rogaine Hair Raising Pass of the Race on Scotty B. White, in the daunting turn 10.