Grand AM » 6 October 2003
Bell captures Grand-Am points lead with VIR win.
Bell Motorsports has been in search of the Daytona Prototype points lead all season long, and finally moved to the front of the class with its victory in the VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday.
"I've certainly got mixed emotions, but the result is what we were looking for," Forest Barber, who was left out of the line-up for the race admitted, "We tried to put together the best programme for the results, and it came our way. I don't know what would have happened if I'd been in the car, but I'm really glad for the finish we had."
Andy Pilgrim started the #54 Chevy Doran JE4 on the pole and Terry Borcheller captured the chequered flag 400 kilometres and 77 laps later. The #54 car's boost into the points lead was due in part to the troubles suffered by the #58 Brumos Racing Red Bull Porsche FABCAR, which fell victim to suspension damage early in the race, and dropped several laps behind, before having its fate sealed when it was involved in a multi-car pile up with only 15 laps remaining in the race.
"There were a lot of cars spinning," Brumos driver David Donohue explained, "The Multimatic spun in front of me, and I swerved to try to miss him, but a Porsche had also spun and I couldn't get around him. That ended our day.
"The car was messed up the whole time I was out there. Something happened to the rear suspension while Mike [Borkowski] was driving, and the car wasn't right after that. We pitted to try to fix it three times. The third time they came close, but it still wasn't right."
The Brumos Racing #59 entry had been leading the race prior to the pile-up, but ducked into the pits for a splash of fuel and a new front right tyre, giving the lead over to Borcheller in the #54 car. Only three turns later, Borcheller was able to manoeuvre around the three-car collision to smooth sailing to the chequer.
"We were catching Hurley late in the race and, when it was green, we were catching him about a half-second a lap," Borcheller reasoned, "I was just trying to be patient with traffic. I got together with Darren [Law] but, other than that, I had no altercations. I thought he saw me - he would have let me in if he saw me - but he said he didn't.
"Other than that, I was just being cautious and careful, and we were still catching him about a half second a lap and we would have caught him before the end. On the last restart, the words in my head were 'don't look back - just keep trucking'. I knew Bill Auberlen was there - actually, I was glad he was there, because he had gotten around Hurley and made it a little easier for me at the end.
"We wanted to put both the Doran cars across the finish line at the same time. Our strategy was great, and Bell Motorsports did a great job as always. It came our way, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. I don't know what this does to the #58 car in the points, but I know it hurt them some. The car now to focus on is #59 car, because they're now also real close."
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