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Virginia: Galati takes GT title, Young first win

Young captures first-career Speed GT win; Galati claims series championship. ALTON, Va., (October 27, 2002) -- John Young, of Woodside, Calif., battled with Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., for 21-laps before grabbing the lead with two laps to...

Young captures first-career Speed GT win; Galati claims series championship.

ALTON, Va., (October 27, 2002) -- John Young, of Woodside, Calif., battled with Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., for 21-laps before grabbing the lead with two laps to go to take his first-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT victory at VIRginia International Raceway, part of the VIR SpeedFest Presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience weekend. Pobst and the newly-crowned series Champion Michael Galati, of N. Olmstead, Ohio, completed the top three.

The 2002 SPEED GT Rookie of the Year, Young started the race from second spot in his No. 44 Contract Metal Products Saleen SR and jumped to the lead at the standing start, but couldn't make the first turn, allowing Pobst to lead the field through the turn one. The two of them would put on a titanic battle, with Young, lap after lap, powering past Pobst at the end of the long back straight, only to have Pobst overtake him in braking, and retain the lead.

With three laps remaining, Young moved inside of Pobst as they exited the final turn and made the move stick entering turn one. From there, Young held off the hard-charging Pobst to take a 0.447-second win, averaging 89.222 mph.

"It feels great to get the first win," said Young. "I could get a run down the back-straight in the draft on Randy. He would pick a side and I'd go by on the other. But each time, he'd beat me under braking.

"I knew that I'd have to pass him in turn one, so I went through the last turn as smooth as I could, got a run and went by on the inside. From there, I was able to slow the car enough for the turn and make the pass."

Driving the No. 22 1st Interstate Inn/3R Racing 911 Cup, Pobst started on the Woody's Ice Pole Position and was looking for his fifth win of the season. With the second-place finish, Pobst scored a podium finish in each of his seven starts this season.

"I'd say that John Young and the Saleen SR raised the bar this weekend in SPEED World Challenge," said Pobst. "I was getting intervals to [Peter] Cunningham at the start thinking he would be charging through the field, but I looked in my mirror and told my crew chief that he'd better start giving me intervals to Young."

For defending series Champion Galati, he entered the race with a 16-point lead over Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., in the Drivers' Championship, needing only to finish 10th to repeat as Champion. After passing his Champion Audi teammate, Marino Franchitti, of Bathgate, Scotland, on the standing start, Galati spent most of the event running by himself as the leaders clashed in front of him, and behind him, Cunningham battled his way back from a first-lap off track excursion to try and catch Galati. When the checkered flag fell, on lap 21, Galati was in third position with Cunningham one spot behind him in fourth, easily clinching the title for Galati.

"This year was definitely a team effort," said Galati on his record-breaking fifth SPEED World Challenge title. "We had our share of adversity and problems, but we were able to put together a strong run during the middle of the season. This team is the best in the business and I'm honored to be a part of it."

In the Manufacturer's Championship, Porsche, which clinched the title at the previous stop on the Championship at Road Atlanta, ended the year with 63 points. With the third-place finish in the race, Audi finished second with 44 points, followed by Acura, BMW and Saleen, with 41, 26 and 10, respectively.

In the final 2002 SPEED GT point standings, Galati ended the year with 272 points, followed by Cunningham with 254, Pobst with 222, Young with 207 and Jeff McMillin, of Erie, Pa., with 205.

The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel November at 9:00 p.m. (EST).

-scca pro racing-  

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Series PWC
Drivers Randy Pobst , Justin Bell , John Young , Michael Galati , Marino Franchitti , Peter Cunningham , Jeff McMillin