6 October 2003
Bell captures Grand-Am points lead with VIR win.
Haywood was able to hold onto second place overall, despite a serious threat from Darren Law in the #8 G&W Motorsports BMW-powered Picchio. Law pressured Haywood throughout the final laps but could never get around the #59 car and had to settle for third-place honours.
"We were just kind of hanging on at the end, and I didn't have anything left for Terry," Haywood admitted, "Second is good, considering everything. The car was really good and the crew did a great job. We just came up a little short. That spoiled my record here -- every race I've been in here, I've won. But second ain't bad."
"It went great - I've got to give a big thank you to the whole G&W crew," Law concluded, "They worked so hard putting this car back together so we could race, and I would like to thank my co-driver Patrick [Huisman], who was fast as usual. Both of us ran good and we're up on the podium again.
"At the end of the race, Hurley had me coming down the straightaway. I was working real hard, making some time on braking and cornering, but, as soon as it was time to put the power down, I'd lose the space down the straightaway and couldn't make back up in the brake zone what I lost down the straightaway."
The Ferrari of Washington entry won the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge bonus of $4000 with its fifth-place finish overall and GT class victory. Drivers Brent Martini and Cort Wagner led the class for every lap of the race, sailing to a multi-lap lead over the second-place BMW M3 of Brian Cunningham and Hugh Plumb.
"The car was great, and I've no complaints," Wagner reported, "Unfortunately, we had a lot of yellows and, for a small field, it's disappointing that so many people were taking chances. At the end of the year, championship points mean more now than they did back then."
The #98 Porsche GT3 RS of Larry Schumacher and BJ Zacharias finished third in class after being involved in the late-race multi-car accident.
Two GTS teams celebrated in victory lane at VIR, as the ICY/SL Motorsports team scored its first-ever Rolex Series victory, winning the class with the #06 Corvette of Paul Alderman, Steve Lisa and David Rosenblum, while David Machavern and Tommy Riggins took home second-place honours and, with it, the GTS championship for the Heritage Motorsports Mustang.
"This is a payback for Watkins Glen [the car broke while leading the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen], but it wasn't the way we wanted to win," Rosenblum admitted, "I guess we'll take it any way we can get it. The car broke at the end, I was riding around in second gear just to coast across the finish line. It's satisfying to win, because you get a paycheque, but I'd rather win dicing it out."
Having tied up the teams' title, Riggins and Machavern will now try to secure a tie in the GTS driver championship at the Grand American Championship Weekend in Daytona next month.
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