Utah: Series season finale preview

The Most Relevant Road Racing In The World Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010, the World Challenge Championship has built its legacy around providing fans the most competitive road racing in the world, and the series has earned well-deserved ...

Utah: Series season finale preview

The Most Relevant Road Racing In The World

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010, the World Challenge Championship has built its legacy around providing fans the most competitive road racing in the world, and the series has earned well-deserved praise the past few years from publications such as AutoWeek, Car & Driver and RACER Magazine for doing just that. But what really sets World Challenge GT, GTS and Touring Car apart from all other series is the "everyday" element it brings each event. World-class drivers piloting production-based cars that come from more than 15 auto manufacturers -- it's a formula that has and will continue to serve the interests of manufacturers, drivers and, most importantly, automotive enthusiasts and race fans.

Same Great Series, Hot New Look

2010 marks just the fourth overall visit by the World Challenge Championships to Miller Motorsports Park, and the first since 2008. For the first time since 1999, World Challenge features combined class racing. The GT, Touring Car and new-for-2010 GTS class will now need to navigate not only the track, but the additional race traffic -- adding to the racing excitement. The combination of classes provides more time in the schedule, which the series has filled with more racing. Four of the eight venues hosting World Challenge races in 2010 got to see their favorite drivers race twice during the weekend, totaling 12 races, the most in series history. The season concludes this weekend at Miller Motorsports Park.

Diverse Championships

This weekend, World Challenge has 38 cars on the entry list amongst the three classes. The GT entry list for VIR includes the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 GT3 and Volvo S60. GTS and Touring Car lists include the Acura TSX, BMW E46 325i, Dodge SRT-4, Honda Civic Si, Lexus IS300, Mazda RX-8 and MAZDASPEED3, Porsche Cayman S, Scion tC, and Volkswagen GTI and Jetta GLI, making World Challenge grids among the most diverse of any race series in North America.

Something For The Fans

Throughout the year, Sports Car Wars-themed World Challenge events will create memorable fan experiences. In addition to the Manufacturers' Fan Championship, fans cheering on their favorite marques will be able to participate in the "March to the Grid" and an enhanced post-race celebration. The crown jewel for the fans is the bragging rights associated with the Manufacturers' Fan Championship. The award acknowledges World Challenge fans that best exhibit the support of their favorite brand, team and driver. At each race, a committee of World Challenge officials decides which enthusiast group exhibited the most spirit - naming them, as a group, the fans of the race.

World Challenge GT -- Racing For Wins

Both the World Challenge GT Drivers' Championship and Manufacturers' Championship are wrapped up, but that won't take away from the racing at Miller Motorsports Park. In fact, with no championships on the line, drivers are free to let it all hang out and run for wins, and not that pesky points racing.

The favorite for the race win begins with the driver and the car that has won four races, the Drivers' Championship, and helped Volvo to a Manufacturers' Championship -- the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 of Randy Pobst.

Pobst has been chased all year by a trio of drivers who are definite race-win contenders, beginning with James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3. Sofronas has finished on the podium in the last five races, including a win at Mid-Ohio, to move into second in the Championship entering the season finale.

Just six points behind Sofronas is the No. 13 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Viper of Kuno Wittmer, the winner this season at Long Beach and runner-up at Mosport and Watkins Glen. Also making a late-season charge is Pobst's teammate, Andy Pilgrim, in the No. 8 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60. After mechanical gremlins plagued the No. 8 early in the year, Pilgrim has finished on the podium in the last three races and grabbed the race win at VIR in the penultimate round.

Tony Gaples has represented Corvette all season long in his No. 29 Kleinschmidt/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

Wittmer's teammate, Jeff Courtney, has run in the top-five a number of times this year, with his finish in that position at Mid-Ohio one spot shy of matching his career best in the No. 99 Kenda Tires Dodge Viper. Also flying the Viper banner at Miller are the No. 5 Daskalos Developments Dodge Viper of Jason Daskalos and the No. 89 Direct Energy Home Services Dodge Viper of Fred Roberts, who has already clinched the GameStreamer GT Rookie of the Year title for the season.

A host of Porsches will also make a run for the checkered flag this weekend. Sofronas' season-long GMG teammate in the No. 05 Swisher Racing/GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3, Bill Ziegler, returns, as does team newcomers Brent Holden in the No. 24 GMG Porsche and Bret Curtis in the No. 33 Spectra Resources/United Steel Porsche 911 GT3. Rob Morgan, in the No. 46 TruSpeed Motorsports/Querencia Porsche 911 GT3, is sixth in the Drivers' Championship and has finished in the top five in three of the last four races, while teammate Patrick Lindsey has two podium finishes in the No. 57 Horton/Sloan Securities Porsche. Robert Prilika makes his second- World Challenge appearance this season behind the wheel of the No. 12 RPM Porsche GT3 Cup machine.

World Challenge Touring Car and GTS -- Big Fields, Big Momentum

The World Challenge GTS championship is riding a wave of momentum into the season finale, with the class completing its freshman season of existence with a field of cars that nearly matches the GT field in its depth.

Peter Cunningham has spent his season in the No. 43 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX capturing his record sixth Drivers' Championship, and extending his career wins record to 39 and his fast-qualifiers record to 41. He also helped Acura clinch the Manufacturers' Championship several rounds early, its eighth.

Cunningham has been chased all season long by his teammate Nick Esayian in the No. 34 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Esayian earned his first career World Challenge win at VIR and would like to add his second in Utah.

The World Challenge GTS class is a diverse field of cars, and this weekend's entry list confirms that. Ernie Jakubowski can lock up the GameStreamer GTS Rookie-of-the-Year trophy this weekend in his No. 91 Fuchs/CDOC/Forgeline Porsche Cayman S. Fabryce Kutyba makes his first appearance of the season in a GMG Racing machine, but unlike the Porsches of the GT class, he'll drive the No. 17 GMG/GTGP/Stoptech/Sparco BMW M3 E46. Kyle Kelley returns in the No. 79 UPR.com/Jamison Engineering Chevrolet Corvette, while Karl Poeltl does the same in the No. 83 Racer's Edge/Wossner Pistons BMW E46 325i. Stan Wilson returns in the No. 92 Net Evidence/Alliance1/Dodge Dodge SRT-4. Oli Thordarson makes his first appearance in World Challenge, driving the No. 22 Alvaka Networks/Exposites.com/RPM Motors Chevrolet Corvette.

For the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park, five Ford Mustang FR500S machines will join the GTS field. All five previously ran in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge, based at Miller Motorsports Park, which ended after its 2010 season. Those drivers include Ben Crosland (No. 25 RPMotorsports Ford Mustang FR500S), George Winkler (No. 27 Winkler Automotive Service Ford Mustang FR500S), Richard Golinello (No. 55 Grand Sanitation Ford Mustang FR500S), Brad Adams (No. 75 RPMotorsports Ford Mustang FR500S) and Pratt Cole (No. 88 Western Metals/U-SA Cares Ford Mustang FR500S).

In Touring Car, Robert Stout clinched the Drivers' Championship, GameStreamer Touring Car Rookie-of-the-Year, and helped Scion to the Manufacturers' Championship on the strength of his three wins in his No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC.

Eric Meyer sits second in points in the No. 32 XOWii/Samaritan's Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8 and is looking for his first win after four podium finishes this year.

The competition is sure to be fierce. Pierre Kleinubing makes his first World Challenge appearance this season in the No. 1 Mazda/Cybernation MAZDASPEED3, but Kleinubing is the defending Touring Car champion and owns 29 career wins and 36 career poles, both second all-time. Taylor Hacquard joins Kleinubing as an i-Moto Racing teammate, driving the No. 31 Mazda/Cybernation MAZDASPEED3. Jeff Mosing, with the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup season over, is running the No. 08 Team MER Frank's International Mazda RX-8.

Stout's teammate, Tom Lepper, returns in the No. 36 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lepper & Associates Scion tC.

Three Volkswagens are on the Touring Car entry list, led by Rob Holland's No. 22 3Zero3 Motorsports/Track Pro/Emich VW Volkswagen GTI. Carolyn Kujala (No. 40 Go 4 It Racing Schools/Hawk Volkswagen Jetta GLI) and Mike Pettiford (No. 41 Go 4 It Racing Schools/Hawk Volkswagen Jetta GLI) also return to Miller Motorsports Park.

Branden Peterson (No. 64 Branden Peterson Racing Honda Civic Si) and David Tuaty (No. 66 TLMUSA.com Honda Civic Si) will both represent Honda in the Touring Car class, with Kris McCoy (No. 00 Gear X/IL4 & Supremacy Racing Acura RSX) also participating.

-source: scca pro racing

Miller Motorsports Park news 2010-09-18
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