USRRC: Sansone and Worth 1998 GT2 Co-Champions
9 September 1998PETTIT RACING TOP TEAM, PORSCHE TOP MANUFACTURER
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Scott Sansone, of Coconut Creek, Fla., and Cameron Worth, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., have been crowned GT2 Drivers' Champions by the United States Road Racing Championship. Pettit Racing and Porsche earned the Teams' and Manufacturers' Championships respectively.
Sansone and Worth, teammates in the No. 75 Pettit Racing Mazda RX-7 Turbo, used consistent runs throughout the season to accumulate 140 points -- 63 more than third place William Stitt and David Russell Jr. The Pettit Racing duo finished in the top-five in each of the five USRRC races, including two seconds (Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex and Mid-Ohio), two thirds and one fifth.
"This has really been a long time coming," said Worth, who also owns Pettit Racing. "When we went to Daytona at the beginning of the year, we really had no plans to do the full season. Our car is essentially a World Challenge car -- we even ran the first three races on Hoosier Radials before going to the Dunlops. Once we realized we had a shot at the Championship, we focused on being consistent. Our only mechanical problem all year was the rear end cooling pump at Watkins Glen.
"Our crew all year was made-up of volunteer customers of mine. Each race, I'd call some of the local guys and ask them to come out and help, and it worked out just fine. We're going ahead with plans for our new ground-up GT2 Mazda for next year's Championship."
"Scott and Cameron were the mainstay in GT2 this season and we congratulate them on the 1998 Drivers' Co-Championship," said Alan Wilson, General Manager of the USRRC. "It's widely known that in endurance racing, the fastest car is not necessarily the one which wins. We salute the efforts of the Pettit Racing team for always being there when it counted and winning the Teams' and Drivers' Championships."
Joined by Nick Vitucci, Bill Lester and Brian Richards, Worth and Sansone consistently moved up the serial at the Rolex 24 At Daytona from their ninth-place GT2 starting position. At the 10th hour, the Mazda had moved into the top-five, peaking at fourth before falling back to fifth, 28th overall out of 74 starters by the finish. The race was won by the Porsche 911 GT2 of Wido Roessler, Toni Seiler, Peter Kitchak, Angelo Zadra and Franz Konrad.
At Homestead, Worth and Sansone took the points lead they would never relinquish with a second-place finish from second on the grid to the BMW M3 of Scott Neuman, Andy Pilgrim and Terry Borcheller.
Mid-Ohio's June 14 U.S. Sports Car Classic had a similar result to Homestead, again following Pilgrim to a second-place finish. Pilgrim joined Larry Schumacher in his Porsche 911 GT2 this time, earning his second-straight GT2 clean-sweep (pole, fastest race lap, win).
Sansone and Worth looked to score their third-straight second-place finish at the Sprint PCS Grand Prix of Minneapolis, but lost the runner-up spot with three laps left to Stitt and Russell Jr. in the No. 52 Easton Properties Atlantic Coast Porsche 911. The BMW M3 of Brian Simo and Peter Cunningham won the race from the pole in a rare GT2 appearance by the Prototype Technology Group.
The Minneapolis race would prove to be the pivotal moment in the GT2 Championship, as Stitt and Russell Jr., who had moved into a tie for third with 77 points -- 33 behind Sansone and Worth -- would not appear at the First Union Six Hours of the Glen finale.
Sansone and Worth qualified a familiar second to Schumacher and John O'Steen, and comfortably ran there until four lengthy pit stops slowed the car's pace -- dropping it to third behind the Porsche of Angelo Cilli, Dale White and Trip Goolsby. The pit stops would cost the Mazda a shot at its first win, as the Schumacher/O'Steen car was eliminated in an accident with 30 minutes remaining -- handing the lead and win to the Cilli/White/Goolsby Porsche with 10 minutes remaining.
Sansone and Worth finished with identical race results and starts, meaning no tie-breakers and thus a co-championship. Stitt and Russell Jr. finished second, with 77 points from one second (Minneapolis) and two thirds. Pilgrim finished fifth despite only contesting two events (Homestead and Mid-Ohio) -- both being clean-sweeps.
While not one Porsche team contested more than three races, the manufacturer took the Manufacturers' Championship with three wins (Daytona, Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen), one second and one third for a total of 82 points. Mazda finished second (65 points) with two seconds (Homestead and Minneapolis), two thirds and one fifth. BMW was third (30 points), followed by Dodge (20 points) and Mitsubishi (six points).
Pettit Racing earned the Teams' Championship with two seconds (Homestead and Mid-Ohio), two thirds and one fifth for a total of 65 points. Schumacher Racing and Team Protosport GT each finished with 32 points, with Schumacher winning the tie-breaker with its one win (Mid-Ohio). Team Protosport GT had one second (Minneapolis) and two thirds on the season. Konrad Motorsport was fourth (25 points, one win -- Daytona), followed by C.J. Motorsports (22 points).