Alex Gurney took the lead on a four-wide pass on lap 65 of 81 and then held off Michael Valiante in a sprint to the finish to capture the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway.

It was the ninth victory for Gurney and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing co-driver Jon Fogarty in the #99 Pontiac Riley, as Gurney led the final 17 laps, winning by 0.705secs over Valiante's #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley. Darren Law and David Donohue, winners of the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, finished third in the #58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.

Valiante and Scott Pruett, in the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, pressured Gurney throughout the closing laps, although all three cars were unsure of having enough fuel to compete the two-and-three-quarter hour distance on the challenging 3.27-mile ViR circuit. However, with twelve minutes remaining, Andy Wallace went off in the #2 Gentleman Jack's Childress-Howard Motorsports Pontiac Crawford to bring out the fourth caution of the event.

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That resulted in a three-lap sprint to the finish, with Gurney trying to hold off Valiante, Pruett, Donohue and Max Angelelli's #10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara. Donohue, Pruett and Angelelli ultimately made contact, with Angelelli going off course, before Gurney then held off Valiante over the final two laps to take the victory.

"It was a great day," said 2007 champion Gurney, "This is where we always aim to be. Our guys did some great work over the off-season, and did a lot of work after Daytona. We really made some big improvements. It was a typical Grand-Am race - really tough - and I was happy to be up there and winning. It was a great race for Michael Valiante. It was just an unlucky deal for him - I've been sitting in that position before."

Valiante led 15 laps in his second race for Michael Shank Racing, but admitted that he didn't quite have enough to snatch the advantage back when it mattered.

"I was trying to save fuel, but not enough to affect the outcome of the race," the Canadian said, "When the yellow flag came out, we were able to run hard to the end, but Alex had just a little bit more than me, and that made it difficult for me to get by. We had the car to beat for sure, but we came up on lapped traffic that allowed Alex to pull out and take the lead.

"I was able to keep the #99 behind me on my out-lap, but we had contact with a lapped car and that damaged the front of our car a little bit so, when we caught that traffic, there was nothing I could do to keep Alex from getting the lead. We had a lot of ground to make up after John [Pew] got knocked off track, and we were fast enough to run up front, but just didn't have the speed to get back in front It's tough to be that close and not get the win, but it's still great to get up here on the podium."

Donohue admitted that there was little he could do to avoid the contact that cost Pruett and Angelelli positions at the finish.

"Pruett just slowed more than I did, and I just got into the back of him - pretty hard I guess," he reflected, "I don't know if I locked up, but I couldn't go sideways to avoid him because Max was there. Then they tangled right in front of me and I avoided Pruett when he spun, and Max went off to the left. I don't know why they are upset."

Pruett, however, saw things differently.

"We were conserving fuel for most of that last stint and were in a good position in third," he reported, "I don't really know if I had something for the leaders, but I would have liked to find out. We just got blatantly punted going into turn one on that restart. I expected more out of Donohue...."

Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker came through to take fourth in the Supercar Life Racing BMW Riley, followed by Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger in the #77 Doran Racing/McDonalds Ford Dallara.

Rounding out the top ten were Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley). Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard (#12 Penske Racing/Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley), Joao Barbosa and JC France (#59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley), IndyCar refugee Darren Manning and Bill Lester (#45 Orbit Racing BMW Riley), and Guy Cosmo and Scott Russell (#09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote).

Donohue and Law hold a one-point lead over Gurney and Fogarty heading into the next event, the 3 May Verizon Wireless 250 presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The GT race also came down to the wire, with Robin Liddell holding off Paul Edwards by 0.107secs to give the #57 Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R started by Andrew Davis its second straight VIR victory. Edwards shared the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R with defending GT co-champion Kelly Collins. Edwards and co-driver Collins led a race-high 35 laps, but Liddell got by with 12 laps remaining and prevailed in a sprint to the finish.

"To be honest, we didn't have the pace to stay with the Mazda, but we knew the Pontiacs would be strong over the race distance," Liddell said, "We knew Paul would be strong. We knew if we could be consistent and keep the car underneath us we could take charge at the end."

After Liddell made his pass for the lead, Edwards attempted to regain the point. The two cars bumped, and Edwards went off course briefly, before Liddell led the remainder of the race.

"Our AC turned into a 200-degree heater," Edwards said, "Robin was pushing hard, I made a mistake and he took advantage of it. He got by, and I had nothing for him after that."

Liddell was also bothered by the heat, with the duct pushing cool air to his helmet falling off.

"You don't realise how important the driver aids are until you have problems," the Scot admitted, "It was very hot, and the pace was incredible. We just kept our heads down and kept going."

Polewinner Nick Ham led twice for 22 laps in the early going with the #70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, before Sylvain Tremblay took over and finished third, 0.204 seconds behind the class winner. Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3s took the next two positions, with Dirk Werner and Leh Keen placing fourth in the # 87, followed by Eric Lux and Wolf Henzler in the #86.

Rolex 24 class winners Justin Marks and Andy Lally were involved in a lap eight incident, but came back to finish 15th in the #67 TRG Porsche GT3. The #69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 of Emil Assentato was not so fortunate, however, and was eliminated in the same incident.

The top two Pontiac teams now share the GT points lead, with Liddell, Davis, Collins and Edwards all on 60 points apiece.