Grand AM » 20 April 2008
Mexico win for Matthews, Goossens.
Riley Matthews Motorsports duo Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens bided their time before making their move in Saturday's Mexico City 250 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, leading the final 28 laps to score their second career victory in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
Pole winner Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett were seeking their third consecutive triumph in the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, but both drivers were involved in controversial bumping incidents.
Goossens made his move on a strong outside pass of Pruett with 28 laps remaining, and managed to hold off Pruett, Ricardo Zonta and Alex Gurney down the stretch to claim the team's first victory since the 2007 season finale at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, when they were joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
"It was tough," said Goossens. "Once I got by Scott, he kept putting pressure on me all the way. It was pretty tough keeping the lead."
The top three finishers - joined at times by Gurney - battled nose-to-tail throughout the final 20 laps.
Matthews, who started 15th, wasn't surprised by the victory: "I expected it," he said. "I've got the best people around me."
In GT, Stephenson Motorsports took its first Rolex Series victory, with Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell stretching the fuel mileage in the #57 Pontiac GXP.R to hold off the new division's point leaders, Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards in the #07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R.
Rojas took the early lead from the pole. In a strategic move, Jon Fogarty pitted at the end of the first lap, to satisfy Grand-Am's requirement that each team must pit during the opening 45 minutes of a race.
Burt Frisselle attempted that strategy on lap five in the debut of the #47 Doran Racing Ford Dallara, but he was penalised for speeding on pit road.
Henri Zogaib spun on lap 12 in the #2 Cigarette Racing SAMAX Pontiac BMW, and collected the #21 Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW of Pepe Montano. Both cars were able to continue. Simultaneously, the second-place #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley of Mark Wilkins began smoking heavily, sending the second-fastest qualifier to the pits for a long stop to replace a seal on the side of the gearbox.
Rojas pitted on lap 16, 21 minutes into the race, topping off with fuel. That gave the lead to David Donohue in the #58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.
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