FONTANA, California The Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team had a frustrating end to its 2004 Rolex series season Sunday at California Speedway. Terry Borcheller and the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54 were hit from behind by another competitor at the start of the race and spun, and the contact eventually caused the car's left-rear A-arm to buckle. Although the team replaced the part and finished the event, which was broadcast live on SPEED, it was too many laps down due to the time lost in the pits to be as competitive as usual, and ended up 13th in the Daytona Prototype class and 24th overall at the checkered.
It wasn't like everyone on the team didn't try. After the initial contact the team fell back to 26th place on lap two, but Borcheller drove his heart out and was in fifth on lap 12. The problem reared its head on lap 20, however, and subsequent pit stops to examine and then replace the suspension piece took their toll.
The team had dropped to 33rd when Christian Fittipaldi took his turn at the wheel from laps 33 to the end, lap 89. The car's set-up was never quite right after the hasty repair, and with nothing much to gain Fittipaldi's goal became to simply bring it home in one piece, which he accomplished.
"The [No.] 4 car ran into the back of me at the start," Borcheller said afterwards. "Eventually the left-rear wishbone buckled from that hit. We went so many laps down that there wasn't much we could do. I'm glad it's over."
Fittipaldi was upset with the driver who hit his teammate. "I'm not impressed at all with what Elliott Forbes-Robinson did at the start," Fittipaldi said. "I'm sorry, but there was no excuse for what he did to Terry. I saw the whole thing. Terry worked hard and climbed back to fifth, but the wishbone had taken a hit and that was that. Even after we replaced the wishbone, the car was dreadful when I was in it. It was pretty dodgy, especially in turn one. We were so many laps down that I didn't push it; there was nothing to gain at that point. It wouldn't have mattered anyway."
Borcheller, the only one of the team's drivers to compete in all 12 Rolex series races this year, unofficially finished ninth in the Daytona Prototype driver standings, although there were ties for first and seventh. The Bell Motorsports team unofficially tied for seventh in the Daytona Prototype team standings with the CompUSA Riley Lexus No. 02 team. The team's car constructor, Doran Designs, was third in those standings unofficially while its engine manufacturer, Pontiac, won that classification.
The series' year-end awards ceremony is tomorrow night in Las Vegas.
For more information see www.feedstheneedracing.com, www.kodak.com/US/en/consumer/garr/, www.tborcheller.com, www.fittipaldionline.com, www.californiaspeedway.com, www.grandamerican.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com.