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Day 2 at Sebring - The Racing Begins

19 March 1999

Sebring, FL-March 19, 1999

Friday at Sebring is the calm before the storm. The qualifying sessions are finished, the teams have begun putting the final touches on race set-up and the driver's are finding time to relax. Friday is also the beginning of the racing at Sebring. Today there will be three races involving the Star Mazda Series, Ferrari Challenge and Motorola Cup.

The Star Mazda forty-five minute race starts the day. The Ferrari Challenge 30 minute race follows immediately after the Star Mazda with the Motorola Cup 3-Hour race concluding the day. The race that will have a lot of attention today is the Motorola Cup. Started in 1986 as the Firehawk Challenge the series has evolved into such a competitive arena that many of the stars of the early days are now top-level drivers in the Prototype or GT class. Boris Said, Brian Simo, and David Murray are just three of the drivers who competed in early Forehawk days and have moved up the professional ladder.

One of the entries in the Motorola Cup which has caught the attention of the competitors and fans alike is the #9 Lexus GS 400 of Performance Engineering. The team is fielding twin Lexus G 400 driven by Chuck Goldsborough and Rick Fairbanks in the #9 Lexus and David Brown and Adam Burrows in the #90 Lexus. The team sponsored by Jackson-Hewitt Tax Services is having some teething problems which is expected considering the whole deal did not even come together until 90 days ago. The team hopes to put in a good showing but realizes that the race may end up with less than desirable results. None the less the team will find the right set-up and work out the bugs. Chuck Goldsborough of Baltimore, MD commented that "the team was originally going to compete in the endurance series of the United States Road Racing Championship. When that series folded the team looked at the Motorola Cup. We've [the team] had to make a lot of changes to meet the rulebook as put forth by Professional SportsCar Racing (PSR). It's been a learning curve but we're quick learners." It will be interesting to watch what goes on during the race.

Leading the 62 car field today will be the team of Knowles/Messley and Hayner in a 1998 Pontiac Firebird. The Pontiac's have been the dominant car in the GS class. In fact the top three spots are occupied by Pontiac Firebird's. Following behind the top three are six Mustang Cobra's which will give chase. The competition between manufacturer's in this series is just as intense as the Prototype class running in tomorrow's 12 Hours of Sebring.

A full race report on all three series will follow later today.

David Treffer-The Auto Channel