Round three of the Grand Am Cup is coming up, and Powell Motorsport team, SGS class leaders, have revamped their Sunoco/Encompass Corvette for the tough three-hour event on the 1.5 mile Phoenix track.
Last year, the Powell team finished 2nd at Phoenix. This year may be different. The blazing hot sun is always a factor in Arizona, and very tough on equipment, but the race starts at 5:00pm and the sun will set soon after. A race into darkness is new for the Street Stock cup teams but not new to Grand American -- the famous Rolex 24 Hours of Darkness offers an all-night run. Powell team driver Doug Goad has many hours of experience in night racing. Goad reports, "I don't anticipate much difference this year, except that it will be a lot cooler running at night. That's good."
During extremely hot conditions at the Phoenix race last year, with a supreme effort, Doug passed eventual race winner, Joe Varde's Dodge Viper, only to be re-passed almost immediately. "At that time, last year, our Sunoco Corvette wasn't equal to the Viper, and I did the best I could," said Goad, " I just could not hold the lead in front of Joe."
This year the Amick/Varde Viper is gone, but the new challenge to Corvette supremacy is a Porsche 'panzer brigade'. Porsches finished one-two-three at the last race in Homestead, and the Sunoco/Encompass Corvette was fourth. So, of course, the questions most asked of team leader John Powell are: "What changes are you making to counter the Porsches, given your engine problems last race?" and "Will you enter a second car?"