ARA Racefacts Bulletin (3/22/98)
23 March 1998
AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN Professional Sports Car Racing's Sebring Exxon Superflo 12 Hours saw three of the four classes won by the racewinning teams in the same classes of the 1998 Daytona 24 Hours. Ferrari took its second consecutive victory in the event, its third in the last four, and its twelfth in the event's history! The winning MOMO Ferrari 333SP was driven by Didier Theys, Mauro Baldi, and Gianpiero Moretti; they shared the victory at Daytona with Arie Luyendyk, not present at Sebring due to his Phoenix IRL commitments. All three drivers took their first-ever Sebring 12 Hours victory! Born March 20, 1940, Moretti is the oldest-ever overall racewinner of a PSCR WSC/GT event! The win came in his thirteenth Sebring 12 Hours start, bettering his previous best, a runnerup finish in 1993 driving a GTP car. Theys' victory was his first in a PSCR event and came in his fourth Sebring 12 Hours start! His previous best was third in 1996. The victory was only the second in PSCR competition for Baldi, joining his 1995 Halifax WSC win! Baldi has now won each of the three "endurance classics" (Daytona, Sebring, LeMans) as he won LeMans in 1994 and now Daytona and Sebring in 1998! Baldi has scored overall sports car victories for Lancia, Porsche, Mercedes, Peugeot, and Ferrari! Baldi's win came in his third Sebring 12 Hours start; he was second in 1996 and fourth in 1997. The MOMO Ferrari started third! The win was the second consecutive for the MOMO entry on the Sebring circuit, as Andrea Montermini and Antonio Hermann won the 1997 Sebring Octoberfest WSC race! The MOMO team is entered for 1998's LeMans 24 Hours, seeking a "sweep!" Wayne Taylor's Danka Doyle/Risi Ferrari took the 1998 pole as the Prancing Horse achieved a four-race streak, breaking the record three-race pole streak it shared with the Porsche 935 Turbo (1979-81) and the Nissan GTP cars (ZX-T in 1989 and 1990, NPT-90 in 1991). Second overall, and just one lap behind, was the GT1-winning David Brabham/Andy Wallace Ford Panoz; the 2-3-4 finishers overall all started in three of the last four positions in the 47-car field! The GT1 winner's start ranked eighth in class. The Panoz victory was the team's first in an "endurance duration" event. A GT1 winner in the Sebring 12 Hours powered by a Roush Ford powerplant is nothing new; the 1989 through 1991 Sebring GT1 honors were won by Roush Racing FoMoCo products, as were the 1985 and 1986 GT1 honors! 1990 and 1997 Daytona 24 Hours victor and 1992 and 1993 Sebring 12 Hours winner Andy Wallace has five overall "endurance classic" wins (Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours, LeMans 24 Hours)! The GT1 victory was his 11th win in PSCR competition! Wallace has competed in nine Sebring 12 Hours classics, making his first start in 1990. He won overall in Toyota GTP cars in 1992 and 1993 and finished second overall and first in WSC in 1994! He was fifth in WSC in 1996 and second in WSC in 1997. He has amassed seven Top Three and eight Top Five class finishes. The win was Brabham's second in PSCR competition; he was second overall but first in GTP in the 1992 Daytona 24 Hours for TWR Jaguar. David had competed in one prior Sebring 12 Hours classic. In the 1992 Sebring 12 Hours, David finished fourth overall and in GTP, completing 338 of 360 laps. David was the Fast Qualifier and set Fast Lap in the 1997 Sebring Octoberfest GTS-1 event in a Ford Panoz; he finished second. The Sebring GT1 pole position remains virtually meaningless as a "leading indicator" of the race result: the twenty-one (1978-1998) GT1 polesitting cars have produced only one winner: 1984's GT1-winning Camaro of Gene Felton/Billy Hagan/Terry Labonte! 1998's GT1 polesitter? Shane Lewis in the Chevrolet-powered Mosler Raptor! The Raptor ended up fifth in GT1. For the second consecutive year, and the third time (1986, 1997, 1998) in the 1978-1998 history of the GT1 class, the Sebring 12 Hours GT1 class saw its top two finishers on the same lap as the Champion Porsche 911 GT1 finished third and second in class with Thierry Boutsen, Bob Wollek and Andy Pilgrim. Unlike the top two classes, GT2 and GT3 were won by the polesitting cars! Franz Konrad and Nick Ham won GT2 in Konrad's Porsche 911 by three laps over Steve Saleen and Ron Johnson in Saleen's Ford Saleen Mustang as the Blue Oval effort posted its best-yet GT2 result! Impressively, the 1-2 GT2 finishers finished fifth and seventh overall! In 1997, Konrad won the class (with Bob Wollek and Wido Roessler) with an eighth-place overall finish! Konrad was the defending GT2 winner in the Sebring 12 Hours, that 1997 victory being joined by a 1995 victory in the LeMans WSC class and a win in 1994 in the International GT1 class in his first start in the event! He was fourteenth in GT1 in 1996's 12 Hours Konrad finished second in GT2 in the 1997 Sebring Octoberfest race. Ham competed in one previous Sebring 12 Hours, in 1994, and won the GT3 and International GT2 classes! Ham finished second in GT2 in the 1997 Sebring Octoberfest race. Konrad's win was his ninth in PSCR GT racing and Ham's was his seventh! The PTG BMW M3 team took its fourth consecutive Daytona/Sebring endurance race win, as the team won GT3 in the 1997 Daytona 24 Hours, 1997 Sebring 12 Hours, 1998 Daytona 24 Hours and 1998 Sebring 12 Hours! Is this a Daytona/Sebring "endurance classic" record for consecutive victories by the same team? In GT3, yes! For all classes, no! Roush Racing entries won seven consecutive Daytona 24/Sebring 12 events in GT1, with 1989 and 1990 Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 wins scored in Mercury Cougar XR7s plus 1991 Daytona 24/Sebring 12 wins and the 1992 Daytona 24 victory in Ford Mustangs! Robby Gordon won five consecutive Daytona 24/Sebring 12 events during the streak (1990-92 Daytona, 1990-91 Sebring)! Roush Racing entries won five consecutive Daytona 24/Sebring 12 events in GT1 with Ford Mustangs, taking the "sweep" in 1985 and 1986 plus the 1987 Daytona 24 Hours. Porsche's factory team "swept" the Prototype 2000 cc class in the 1966 and 1967 Daytona and Sebring classics to post a four-race streak. Bill Auberlen and Boris Said teamed to give the PTG BMW M3 effort the GT3 win! They finished eleventh overall and won GT3 by two laps over PTG teammates Ross Bentley, Mark Simo, and Peter Cunningham, the twelfth-place finishers! Auberlen (with Tom Hessert, Javier Quiros, and Derek Hill) won GT3 in 1997's 12 Hours as well with a ninth-place finish! 1997 GT3 champion Bill Auberlen also won the 1997 Sebring 12 Hours and Sebring Octoberfest GT3 honors! He thus entered the 1998 Sebring 12 Hours with two consecutive victories at Sebring! Bill won the pole and set Fast Lap en route to winning the 1997 Sebring Octoberfest GT3 honors! In eight Sebring 12 Hours starts (the first in 1987), Bill has now won GT3 three times (1995, 1997 and 1998) and has four Top Three and seven Top Ten class finishes! Boris had competed in only two prior Sebring 12 Hours classics, with a best finish of third in GT Invitational in 1993's Sebring 12 Hours. He was fourth in GT3 in 1997's 12 Hours. The victory was Auberlen's 14th in PSCR GT competition and Said's fifth! Fourteenth overall and third in GT3 was the first non-BMW in GT3, the Cort Wagner/Darryl Havens/Charles Slater Alex Job Porsche 911 RSR. Bill Auberlen scored BMW's (and PTG's) third consecutive Sebring 12 Hours GT3 pole and his second consecutive in 1998. The pole was his third Sebring 12 Hours GT3 pole, 1997 and 1998 joining his 1994 pole in his own Mazda RX-7. The overall top three was Ferrari-Ford Panoz-Porsche; the WSC top three finished 1-6-13 overall (Ferrari-Ferrari-Ford R & S Mk 3); the GT1 top three finished 2-3-4 overall (Ford Panoz-Porsche 911 GT1-Ford Panoz), the GT2 top three finished 5-7-9 (Porsche-Ford Saleen Mustang-Porsche), and the GT3 top three finished 11-12-14 (BMW-BMW-Porsche). Dale Jarrett (Ford Quality Care Yates Ford Taurus) won Sunday's Darlington TranSouth Financial 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race. The victory was his second consecutive in the event! Jarrett now has a six-season streak (1993-98) of at least one Winston Cup win per season! The victory was Dale's 16th Winston Cup win and 14th in a Winston Cup "superspeedway" event. Thirteen (13) of Dale's wins have come in Robert Yates' Fords. In the 68 races encompassing the 1996, 1997, and 1998 Winston Cup seasons, Jarrett has won twelve, or 17.6%! Some perspective on the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup season: five drivers and five teams have won the first five events, with the "nameplate honors" showing Chevrolet and Ford at two wins apiece and Pontiac with one. After five races in 1997's Winston Cup season, only three drivers (Jeff Gordon two, Dale Jarrett two, Rusty Wallace one) and three teams had won races and Ford led Chevrolet in wins 3 to 2 with Pontiac winless! During the 1990s, the five faces in the first five victory lanes ranks third; only 1991, with seven winners in the first seven races, and 1993, with 6 in the first six, rank ahead of 1998! Only the first four races elapsed without a repeat winner in 1990, only the first three in 1994, 1995, and 1996, only the first two in 1992, and Jeff Gordon won the first two races in 1997! Bobby Labonte (Shell Gibbs Pontiac Grand Prix) won Saturday's NASCAR Busch Grand National Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington. The victory, the first for Bobby and Pontiac in 1998 BGN action, was Labonte's ninth in BGN competition and his third on a superspeedway. Bobby has six "short track" wins (1991 Bristol and IRP, 1992 Lanier, Martinsville, and Hickory, and 1996 Nashville); his other "superspeedway" wins have come at Michigan (1994) and Dover (1997). The last five Darlington BGN races have been won by five different drivers. Ford has won six of the last ten Darlington BGN races while Pontiac hadn't won since Michael Waltrip's victory on September 5, 1992! Nevertheless, Pontiac, the winner of the first five Darlington BGN races, leads in Darlington BGN wins with eleven to Chevrolet's nine; Ford has six, Buick four, and Oldsmobile one! The first pair of brothers to win BGN races at Darlington? Darrell Waltrip (winner in August 1985 and April 1986) and Michael Waltrip (September 1992)! With Bobby's victory Saturday joining brother Terry's August 1996 victory, another "brother act" joined the list! Mike McLaughlin (Goulds Pumps Cicci-Welliver Chevrolet Monte Carlo) took over the 1998 NASCAR BGN point leadership! Scott Sharp (Delphi Automotive Systems Kelley Dallara-Oldsmobile Aurora-Goodyear) won Sunday's Phoenix Dura-Lube 200 Pep Boys IRL event. Sharp, in car #8, started eighth! The victory was Sharp's second in the IRL and came in his 28th ChampCar start (CART & IRL combined). The win was Sharp's first in an IRL-spec car (in only his fifth start in such a car) as his first IRL win came August 18, 1996 at New Hampshire International in a 1995-spec CART-type car. Joe Gaerte (Holbrook) won Battleground's WoO feature on Thursday; the victory was his eighth WoO "A" Feature win but his first since the 1993 season! He first won a WoO feature on March 8, 1989 at Kings. He won three times in 1990 (Bloomington, Kokomo, San Jose), once in 1991 (Silver Dollar) and twice in 1993 (Missouri Racepark, Attica)! History was made on Saturday in Houston Raceway Park's NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Pennzoil Nationals! In the "point race" debut of the Pro Stock Truck class, the winner was Houston's David Nickens in a Dodge Dakota! Nickens defeated Randy Daniels' Chevrolet S-10. The Low ET (7.635 seconds) and Top Speed (174.82 MPH) honors went to Larry Kopp (Chevrolet S-10) in his first round "unopposed" run; Daniels defeated him in the second round. Sunday saw Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Pontiac) take Pro Stock honors, Tony Pedregon (Castrol GTX Ford) win Funny Car and Cory McClenathan take Top Fuel. Todd Snyder won the 1998 Barber Dodge Pro Series opener at Sebring. Todd started fourth but led all but the first lap of the 17-lap event! The race was Snyder's first start in a Dodge-powered Barber Pro event. Snyder, however, competed in seven Barber Saab Pro races, five in 1988 and two in 1991. In 1988 he ranked fourteenth in points with two poles (Road Atlanta and Del Mar), a third-place finish at Sears Point and a fifth at Miami. In 1991 his two starts saw him place second at Laguna Seca and fourth at Lime Rock. He also competed in the 1991 American Indycar Series race at Hallett on June 2, driving a Cosworth Ford-powered Lola to a runnerup finish behind Bill Tempero. Snyder's early pro career was spent in the 1986 and 1987 Formula Russell Mazda Pro series; he ranked 13th in 1986 points and was runnerup for the 1987 title! Todd won three races in the 1987 series: April 11 at Phoenix, June 21 at Riverside, and October 10 at Laguna Seca! In sixteen 1986-1987 starts in the series, Snyder achieved six Top Three "podium" finishes, nine Top Five, and thirteen Top Ten finishes. He won the pole for the 1987 Phoenix, Laguna Seca, and Willow Springs events and also set three Fast Laps. 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