Sunday
Mar252007

TEAM NEWS: Banner Engineering GXP.R Seventh and Tenth For Homestead

Photo by John Thawley Homestead Florida (March 24, 2007): Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards raced their #07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R into 7th position in the GT Class of the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami here at Miami-Homestead Speedway. The #06 Banner Pontiac GXP.R Of Tim Lewis and Leighton Reese finished 10th.

The race saw plenty of contact witnessed by all of the cars deposited in the gravel traps and the Banner Pontiacs weren’t spared from the action as Paul Edwards indicated that he had been moved off the racing line on several occasions during the race.

"All the yellows really mixed up the field," said Paul Edwards who took over the #07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R. on lap 31. "Cars were coming and going from the pits, with fresh tires, which gave them a lot of confidence that really didn't pay off. This track is really hard on our rear tires. We unfortunately got shuffled back a few times in those caution periods, other than that I think we had a top five car."

“On one of the restarts I got tapped and spun by one of the Stevenson Corvettes, but it really didn’t affect our finishing position all that much,” Leighton Reese said of contact in turn 1 that dropped him from 11th to 17th.

Reese took over the #06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R from Tim Lewis Jr. during an early pit stop on lap 21. Lewis finished up the race taking over the 06 Pontiac later in the race when the yellow flags flew again on lap 67.

“Later in the race on another restart I was on worn tires and the other cars were just out of the pits on sticker tires and they just drove by me! After the first caution it (the grip of the tires) never really came back. Usually when you cool the tires down they respond for another few laps, it never really happened.”

Tires and pits stops were the order of the day as because of the many full course cautions and excessive tire wear the field was continually shuffled as many teams tried to take advantage of the caution periods by making early and extra stops for tires.

Not surprisingly the winning GT entry was the lightest car in the field as the #70 Mazda RX8 was the only GT finishing in the top 10 that was able to run the race with only one pit stop.

“We ran hard but it didn’t go our way today so all I can say is that despite our best efforts we ended up 7th and 10th,” Leighton Reese said summing up what he termed as a less than desirable result here at Homestead. “We are going to do some testing here (Homestead) and then go up to Daytona for more testing. We’ll come back strong!

“It is super competitive in Grand-Am now! Mazda increased their effort and where there was one competitive Porsche team last year now there are many!”

For additional information about the Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R race cars and the Banner racing Team go to their website at www.LeightonReese.com .

« GRAND AM NEWS: Auberlen and Alhadeff Score First Rolex Series Overall Win in Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami | Main | TEAM NEWS: Fogarty, GAINSCO team pick up third-straight front row start with outside pole at Homestead »

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