Grand AM » 24 May 2004
Grand Am: Lexus gets first win with Pruett, Papis.
"It was a very competitive race," Theys offered. "There were so many different leaders and the cars are so closely matched. We tried different tyre compounds today. When I was in the car, I didn't like my tyre compound. The track was very slippery, and I was not comfortable. Then, when Jan was in the car, we found a compound that we liked."
Borcheller and co-driver Andy Pilgrim brought the #54 home in third place, returning the Kodak-Bell Motorsports team to the podium for the first time since its victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the 2004 season. Forest Barber was on the entry list, but did not drive.
"To come out of the weekend with a podium finish is just great," Borcheller said. "We had obstacles from the beginning of the weekend throughout the whole race. Andy got hit on his first flying lap and we went a lap down. A front wheel came off twice, luckily it was under yellow both times. One time it came totally off the car. That happened on the back straight. I had to drive it back to the pits on three wheels, but it was fun to always be in contention. I drove about four hours and my muscles are tired, but I really feel fine. I could drink some water and go some more today."
"I think it was the hardest-fought third place I've ever had," Pilgrim contributed. "We overcame so many challenges that it feels like a win. We did not have a top-three car today, we had a top-10 car, so to get third is a phenomenal achievement for the team."
"I didn't drive because I was more concerned with our finishing position today, and we had to go with our top drivers," Barber explained. "In spite of a lot of obstacles, we overcame them and got a podium finish."
The #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford in the hands of Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, and Paul Edwards had its best finish of the season to date with a fourth-place performance despite the late fuel pick-up problems. Rounding out the top five were Milka Duno, Andy Wallace, and Jan Lammers in the #2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford, which finished inside the top five for the third time in four starts this season. Negri and Burt Frisselle gave Michael Shank Racing its fourth top-six in four starts with a sixth place performance.
Elsewhere, former championship-leading teammates Kelly Collins and Cort Wagner soldiered home with a seventh place result despite no track time on Friday or Saturday due to mechanical gremlins on the #81 Rx.Com/G&W Motorsports BMW Doran. They remain second in the points just two markers out of the lead (116-114). It also turned out to be a tough weekend for the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley and the #02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley.
After a promising start by Max Angelelli that included a brief appearance at the head of the field, the #10 was forced to pit lane early in the race due to a steady display of smoke and accompanying fluid from the rear of the car. The problem would rear its ugly head intermittently throughout the race, forcing Angelelli and co-drivers Emanuel Collard and Wayne Taylor to settle for an 18th place overall finish and a 13th place result in the Daytona Protoype class.
Likewise, the #02 machine of Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales showed promise at the four-hour mark after losing a lap early in the race due to a punctured tyre, eventually advancing as high as fourth place. However, the car lost its right rear tyre on Lap 141 and several laps for repairs, and the #02 ended up with a 10th place result.
In the GT class Boris Said and Bill Auberlen scored a "hat trick" in Canada, taking their third consecutive win in the #21 Performance Technology Group BMW M3. They led virtually throughout, at one point building a lead in excess of two laps.
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