(Jan. 25, 2008) – Drama surrounded the final minutes of the Fresh From Florida 200 KONI Challenge Series race on Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway as Craig Stanton and Tim Traver in the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche captured the overall victory as well as in Grand Sport class.
On a late restart with less than 25 minutes remaining in the three-hour time event, Doug Goad and the No. 9 Spirit of Daytona Pontiac GTO took the lead but drove wide in the International Horseshoe and lost several positions.
Then No. 39 TRG Porsche and Spencer Pumpelly took the point but then immediately began smoking coming off NASCAR Turn 2 opening the door for the Stanton and the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997 to take the lead and the overall victory as well as the Grand Sport class victory.
“There was a lot of stuff going on late in the race,” Stanton said. “I didn't see but about a third of it, but I heard a lot of chatter on my radio chatter. Basically, I put my head down and worked real hard.”
“The car was just great,” Traver said. “I was able to stay with all the fast drivers up front. As soon as we ran into the ST class, it was pretty challenging getting around some off the packs of ST cars. You keep your nose clean. That was my job – bring it into Craig. I ran it out of gas in my stint and like Craig said, the team did perfect strategy and perfect pit stops. That’s how it goes your way sometimes.”
Taking second-place honors overall and in GS was the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang and driver Jeff Courtney, Scott Maxwell and Joe Foster.
The No. 55 Hyper Sport entry, which is co-owned by Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey and Rick Skelton, took over second place overall in the final 10 minutes of the race after the No. 21 Motorsport Technologies Porsche 997 with driver Tom Milner pulled off the pace.
“It was pretty hectic the last few laps,” Maxwell said. “I was making a lot of mistakes out there. I went off once. But the Hyper Sport Mustang was so good, we just ran out of time running down the Porsche. I had a lot of fun. These KONI Challenge races are always a blast, and I love Daytona. I’ve won here, and almost won again last year, but I guess we’re second best again. It’s a good start to the year, something to build on. We’re after a championship, and you have to put the points on the board.”
Said Dempsey, who is making his first career Rolex 24 start on Saturday: “I’m real happy for the team. It’s a great way to start the weekend and get momentum going into the Rolex 24. I’m really proud of the team, coming in real strong to start the season. Everyone drove real strong, real smart. Joe drove with a lot of heart today. It was an emotional drive for him and it was great to see.”
In the Street Tuner class, the No. 31 i-MOTO Racing Acura of Nick Wittmer and Glen Bocchino took the class victory by a one-lap margin over its sister car – the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Acura of Kuno Wittmer and Peter Cunningham.
“I was fourth when I got in,” said Nick Wittmer. “Glenn Bocchino held up the car perfectly throughout his stint, an hour and a half. We did not want to come in before an hour and a half. Because of that, we did one pit stop. Everybody else did two, I believe, and we were one lap ahead because of that one pit stop. From there we just maintained and brought it home.”
Next up is the 46th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at the gate or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.