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Borcheller, Donohue Make It to Front Row

Drivers will be side by side for the fourth race in a row, this time in the Grand American 400 at Fontana.

June 08, 2003|Shav Glick | Times Staff Writer

Two Daytona Prototypes, new showcase cars of the Rolex Sports Car Series driven by Terry Borcheller and David Donohue, will start on the front row in today's Grand American 400 at California Speedway in Fontana.

Borcheller, a former national karting champion from Phoenix, had the fastest lap in qualifying Saturday, 100.972 mph in a Chevrolet Doran, to edge Donohue, who lapped the 21-turn, 2.82-mile infield road course at 108.888 mph in a Porsche Fabcar.

It was Borcheller's first pole in the series after starting alongside Donohue in the last three races. Donohue, whose late father, Mark, won the 1972 Indianapolis 500, had started on the pole at every race this season.

"With the new formula we've got and with the long straightaways it's going to be to our advantage," said Borcheller, 37, who won the last Rolex race with Forest Barber of Fort Worth, three weeks ago in Birmingham, Ala. "On the other hand, we could finish last. The way the rules are written, it's hard to get an advantage. We've got some good teams, good drivers, good competition and good cars."

Borcheller and Barber warmed up for today's race by winning their class, GT II, in Saturday's Lexus Grand American 250 for production cars. They were driving a BMW M3 and finished ninth overall.

"I don't know how much help it will be because the cars are so different," Borcheller said. "The lines are the same, but the Prototype is a full-fledged race car that is much more aggressive."

Barber said he believed that Saturday's win would help their confidence in today's race.

"I hope the momentum we had today will continue tomorrow," he said. "I think I learned a lot in how to get around the course, even though the cars are totally different in the way they handle.".

Randy Pobst and Michael Levitas won a back-and-forth duel in Porsche GT3s with Robert Julien and Jean-Francois Dumoulin to take the overall championship in the Lexus 250. Over the last 45 minutes of the 2 1/2-hour race, Pobst and Duoulin swapped the lead several times on the same lap.

"I think that was one of the most satisfying races I have ever been in," said Pobst, 46, a former North American Touring Car champion from Melbourne, Fla. "I want to compliment Jean-Francois for driving such a fine race, and a clean race. If the traffic had worked a little different in his way, the result might have been different, but once I got in front toward the end I think I had just a little bit faster car."

It was the second win for Pobst and Levitas, who won at Homestead-Miami. Julien and Dumoulin won at Daytona.

Tommy Riggins, in a Heritage Motorsports Mustang, set a GTS course record to take the No. 3 qualifying spot for today's race. His 107.567 lap, worth a $1,000 bonus, broke the year-old record of 104.320 by RK Smith in an Ultima.

Today's race will start at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on Speed Channel.

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