26 March 2006
AJR duo secure maiden victory.
“I had a great car under me tonight,” Edwards said. “Kelly did a great job to make up ground from our qualifying position and the cool air really favoured our race setup. The handling of the car really gave me the confidence to hunt down the #70 car at the end of the race.”
Collins qualified the #64 Pontiac fifth in class, and ran near the front of the GT pack throughout his stint, handing control to Edwards during the race's first caution period. The duo also drove to victory earlier this month in the Mexico City 250, and with the Homestead win, climbed to the head of the GT points leader-board. The duo lead team-mate, #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R driver Andy Lally, by four points, 88-84, with three of 13 races in the books.
“I got a pretty good start and was able to make up some the ground that we lost with our qualifying troubles,” Collins said. “The car was really good all of the way through my stint. Paul did a great job at the end to run down the leader and put the pass on him with two laps to go. Two wins in a row gives us the points lead.”
Tremblay's team-mate - David Haskell - started the #70 Mazda just one position ahead of Collins, and the defending Grand-Am Cup Series Street Tuner class champion wheeled the machine until a full-course caution on lap 37. Tremblay put the car at the class front later in the race, but after conceding the position to Edwards on lap 106, couldn't catch the TRG machine the rest of the way. He finished just 0.125-seconds in arrears of the #64 car.
“I'm so proud of everyone that has worked on this car since Daytona,” Tremblay said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn't hold the lead for the win, but for the car's second race in the GT class, a runner-up finish isn't too bad. Running in the Grand-Am Cup Series here in the past gave this team a lot of information heading into this weekend, and in our home race, I'm just glad we were able to put on a good show.”
The class pole-sitting #72 NEC/Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 came home third, as Wolf Henzler led the first portion of the race before handing off to team-mate Robin Liddell. However, a pit stop at a later caution period shuffled the machine back in the class running order.
“The problem with any caution, and of course it was compounded here because there were so many, is that if you're more than ten cars behind the leader when you go green you get caught up in a lot of traffic with the two classes mixed up and it becomes a real battle ground,” Liddell said. “In addition to trying to run my race I was constantly looking out for other cars spun out off course or debris on the track.
“We had to be more cautious just to stay safe. It's a huge disappointment, but I think that if we had a couple more laps we could have caught up and finished on top where we started, but there just wasn't enough time.”
Matthew Alhadeff and Bill Auberlen finished fourth in the #05 Alhadeff Motorsports/ Motul/ GRW.com.mx/ enVista BMW M3, for the tandem's best finish of the year, with Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi rounded out the top five in the No. 22 Hazardous Sports/ FXDO/ Denon Porsche GT3 of Fiorano Racing.
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