Starting from pole position, the #43 Orangefield Citrus Acura Integra GS-R from the USFilter Planet Earth Motorsports stable had opened up a twenty second lead over the remainder of the field. That is when the team was struck with bad luck as the #43 Integra caught fire on the twenty fourth lap.
"We were running right where we wanted to be," said starting driver Wayne Nonnamaker. "The car was running great, and we were hoping for a full green race as we had opened up a substantial lead on the rest of the class. We don't know what caught fire yet. With a race next weekend, we will have a busy week getting two Integras ready for Road America."
The yellow flag condition for the fire allowed the #69 Honda of America Racing Team (HART) to pit and replace starting driver, 2000 C2K Champion Bryan Johnson, with sports car ace Pete Halsmer. The #42 Orison Planet Earth Motorsports Acura Integra also pitted and replaced 20-year-old starting driver Gator Mitchell with 1999 Touring Champion, Will Nonnamaker.
Over the next hour of the race, Nonnamaker gave chase to Halsmer, and the two never ran more than fifteen seconds apart. As Nonnamaker and Halsmer fought their way through traffic, the #69 Civic developed a vibration, and Halsmer was stranded on course on lap fifty five with a broken halfshaft.