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Young clinches GT Rookie of the Year

Young clinches 2002 Speed World Challenge GT Rookie of the Year Award. CENTENNIAL, Colo. (October 24, 2002) -- Amid all the excitement of Peter Cunningham's sweep of SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge events two weeks ago at Road Atlanta,...

Young clinches 2002 Speed World Challenge GT Rookie of the Year Award.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (October 24, 2002) -- Amid all the excitement of Peter Cunningham's sweep of SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge events two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, John Young, of Woodside, Calif., quietly worked his way back from a first-lap spin in the SPEED GT race to clinch the 2002 Rookie of the Year award.

John Young.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Driving the No. 44 Contract Metal Products/Saleen SR, Young was involved in contact very early in the event, and found himself in the Turn Four gravel before he had even completed a lap. Working his way back through the field, Young would end up 13th when the checkered flag fell, 26 laps later, and have enough of a points gap on Tim Wiens, of Westminster, Colo., to clinch the rookie title with one event remaining.

"Our goal this year was to win the rookie title and finish in the top ten in points," said Young. "We're obviously ecstatic about winning the title but we'd still also love to get a win.

"I'd really like to thank Contract Metal Products for their support as well as my crew chief Jerry Hand. He and I have put a lot of hours into this and he wants a win as badly as I do."

The 13th place finish at Road Atlanta was the worst for Young in a season that has seen him score eight top-ten finishes in nine events, including three top fives. Usually a driver with a season-long finishing record this consistent finds himself at the top of a championship, but not this year in SPEED GT. The Championship has been incredibly competitive with point leader Michael Galati scoring nine top-ten finishes, including three wins and seven top fives, and second in points Peter Cunningham scoring nine top-ten finishes, one win and seven top fives.

"We'd love to be higher in the championship, but the competition in this series is so tough," said Young. "Consistency is what has enabled us to be this high in the championship while some of the other rookie contenders had DNFs or bad finishes."

Young and the rest of the SPEED GT field travel to Virginia International Raceway, in Alton, Va., this weekend for the final round of the 2002 season. Galati currently holds a 15-point lead over Cunningham for the title, needing only to finish seventh to clinch the Drivers' Championship. Young, on the other hand, sits sixth in points and can claim a top-five finish in points with a good run at VIR.

The race can be seen on a tape-delay basis Saturday, November 9 at 9:00 p.m. (eastern) on SPEED Channel.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers John Young , Michael Galati , Peter Cunningham , Tim Wiens , Eric Gilbert