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Andy Lee's StopTech-Supported Camaro Sweeps Pirelli World Challenge Double-Header in Detroit
by Frank A. Filipponio | Jul 25, 2012

General Motors products carried the hometown Pirelli World Challenge race on Saturday, with Andy Lee's StopTech-wearing Chevrolet Camaro winning GTS class in both halves of the Cadillac V-Series Challenge at Belle Isle double-header.

The bright yellow Camaro wasn't the only yellow that drivers were seeing in Detroit either, as just six of Saturday's 23 laps were run under green flag conditions at this 14-turn, 2.07-mile temporary street circuit as part of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Pole sitter Randy Pobst's No. 6 GT-class K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 stalled at the start and was collected by the GTS-class No. 95 Swisher Racing Mitsubishi Evo driven by Bill Ziegler, shoving him across the track and into the path of Roger Miller's No. 23 Ford Mustang Boss 302S and Robert Stout's No. 52 Nissan/SPL Pro/Sparco/Motul Nissan 370Z. The collision ended each of their days and immediately put the race under a full-course caution for cleanup.

The race went green again on lap 12, but a second incident involving the GTS cars of Richard Golinello (No. 55 Grand Sanitation Ford Mustang Boss 302S) and Michael Galati (No. 36 Kia Motors America Kia Optima) also collected Alec Udell's No. 16 MDG/Ford Racing/KART NATION Ford Mustang Boss 302S and brought out a second yellow on lap 18.

Time expired while cleanup continued, ending the race under caution.

Lee earned his second win of the season in GTS, turning the fastest lap of the GTS field (1:34.948 78.864 mph) in the process and giving him the class pole for Sunday's race.

“The start was definitely crazy, having cars stalled and things all over the place that we were trying to avoid,” Lee said. “It's a shame that there wasn't more green-flag racing. It would have nice to have more a battle with some of the other drivers, but it's good to bring home a win here in Detroit with an American-made car.

“It seems like luck is on our side sometimes, definitely at Miller. It would be nice to win a race without some sort of crazy scenario involved in it. I'm excited just to be up front. I think even if it had gone green I had a decent enough pace that I could have stayed ahead. I think we have a car to beat tomorrow.”

StopTech-favorite Jack Baldwin won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for his improvements on the opening lap piloting the No. 68 Hot Wheels/Voodoo Ride/Invoice Prep Porsche Cayman, while the StopTech-sponsored No. 01 The Arc/Revo Technik Audi TT RS of Don Istook improved 11 overall positions in the race to claim the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.

Sunday was a different race with the same result as Andy Lee led flag-to-flag to get his third win of the season and second of the weekend right in the shadow of General Motors' world headquarters. It was a closer race this time as Lee fought off veteran Jack Baldwin's No. 68 Hot Wheels/Voodoo Ride Invoice Prep Porsche Cayman S to the checkered flag.

“We came into this weekend knowing we'd be competitive, but to sweep the whole weekend is definitely beyond expectations,” Lee said. “This team of ours is small and we're learning, but these guys really put their heart and soul into these cars. I'm proud of the effort. It's nice to be in a Chevrolet in Detroit and take home a couple of wins in front of the home factory. I'm pretty proud of the whole weekend, it's unbelievable.”

Baldwin, who last competed in Detroit during his 1992 championship winning Trans-Am Series season, finished second in class behind the pace car. He also earned the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race award when he passed Peter Cunningham's No. 42 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX on lap 15.

“The last time I was in Detroit, 20 years ago, I was out in the Hot Wheels Camaro, and this time I'm in the Hot Wheels Cayman, so it's kind of cool,” Baldwin said. “I like street racing, and Belle Isle is probably my favorite street circuit.

“It was good racing today. I got past Peter down into Turn 1, and raced with Andy. My hat's off to him. He did a great job. He was smart, he had a real good car. I really didn't have anything for him. I had a couple of opportunities, but I couldn't make them materialize.”

With just five races remaining in the season, Lee takes over the Championship lead with his weekend sweep, leading by just 10 points over Cunningham, 832-822. Baldwin (759), Bell (678), and Michael Galati (544) complete the top five. Acura holds a slim 44 – 40 lead over Chevrolet in the GTS Manufacturers' Championship, followed by Ford with 39 and Kia with 14.

The Cadillac V-Series Challenge at Belle Isle will air on NBC Sports, July 7 at 5:00 p.m. ET.


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