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Apr 21, 2013 - 07:49 AM
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GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: Road Atlanta
Posted by: newsla on Apr 21, 2013 - 07:48 AM
Grand Am News
GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: Road Atlanta


The Recap
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas combined to score a dominant victory in Saturday’s Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix of Atlanta, the first Rolex Series race at Road Atlanta. Meanwhile, John Edwards not only scored his second consecutive victory in the GT class – he scored a milestone second victory of the day in his Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro.

 

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Pruett beat Ryan Dalziel to the checkered flag by 17.781 seconds for his 40th career Daytona Prototype victory and 27th for Rojas. The pair opened the season by winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and extended their points lead in their quest for a fourth consecutive DP title in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley.

Edwards and Robin Liddell combined to win in GT in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro. Edwards won the PricewaterhouseCoopers 250 earlier in the day for the team, as he joined Michael Valiante, Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana as GRAND-AM’s only drivers to win two races in one day. Auberlen and Dalla Lana have achieved the feat twice, most recently sweeping at Circuit of The Americas this season. Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey finished second, the best showing for the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3.

Joel Miller and Andrew Carbonell had a day of firsts in GX in the No. 00 Visit Florida/SpeedSource Mazda 6. In addition to scoring their first Rolex Series victories, the pair brought Mazda and the Skyactiv Diesel to victory for the first time in the new class. David Donohue finished second in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche, looking to give Dr. Jim Norman his fourth consecutive GX victory.

The Stats

DP 1st: Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley
DP 2nd: Alex Popow/Ryan Dalziel, No. 2 Starworks with Alex Popow Ford/Riley
DP 3rd: Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP
GT 1st: John Edwards/Robin Liddell, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
GT 2nd: Patrick Lindsey/Patrick Long, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3
GT 3rd: Jeff Westphal/Alessandro Balzan, No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458
GX 1st: Andrew Carbonell/Joel Miller, No. 00 Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource Mazda 6
GX 2nd: Jim Norman/David Donohue, No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman
GX 3rd: Tom Long/Sylvain Tremblay, No. 70 Mazdaspeed/SpeedSource Mazda 6
Margin of Victory: 17.781 seconds (DP); 2.506 seconds (GT); one minute 4.898 seconds (GX)
Average Speed: 110 mph (DP); 102.819 mph (GT); 94.521 mph (GX)
Cautions: 1 for 5 laps

The Points (Unofficial)
DP: Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett, 128; Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty, 121; Max Angelelli/Jordan Taylor, 113; Ryan Dalziel/Alex Popow, 111; Ricky Taylor/Richard Westbrook, 102.
GT: Alessandro Balzan, 110; Andy Lally/John Potter, 109; Robin Liddell/John Edwards, 102; Emil Assentato/Anthony Lazzaro, and Paul Dalla Lana, 101; Patrick Lindsey/Patrick Long, 99.
GX: Jim Norman, 173; Sylvain Tremblay/Tom Long, 120; Joel Miller, 90.

Noteworthy
Ø Brumos Racing competed in its final scheduled GT race of 2013. Brumos is the only team to have competed in every Rolex Series race since joining the series in the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Brumos was the DP winner of the 2009 Rolex 24, and won the 2011 GT title when it joined the class with drivers Leh Keen and Andrew Davis. The team’s future plans are yet to be determined.

Ø Steady rain Friday afternoon forced cancellation of qualifying, setting the lineup for the Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix by the point standings. Jon Fogarty took a two-race TOTAL Pole Award streak into the event.

Ø Enzo Potolicchio sat out the event, pairing Stephane Sarrazin with Pedro Lamy in the No. 3 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP. Potolicchio will return to the series with a new Daytona Prototype at Mid-Ohio in June, where he will co-drive with three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Tom Kimber-Smith. The team will then campaign two Corvette DPs for the remainder of the season.

Ø Josh Hurley and Aaron Povoledo ran for the first time in the Rolex Series. The two long-time competitors in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge ST class co-drove the No. 18 Porsche GT3 for Muehlner Motorsports in a deal that came together at midnight on Wednesday.

Ø GRAND-AM added the position of driver steward to its race control team for the event, giving a driver’s view of incidents being reviewed during the event. Racing great Elliott Forbes-Robinson served in that capacity at Road Atlanta. EFR won the inaugural ALMS championship in 1999 with co-driver Butch Leitzinger, and was a two-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. He won the SRP class in the first GRAND-AM race, the 2000 Rolex 24.

The Numbers:
Ø 11 – DP lead changes among nine drivers in five cars

Ø 40 – DP victories for Scott Pruett

Ø 45 – GX laps led by Sylvain Tremblay

Ø 65 – GT laps led by Jeff Westphal

Ø 94 – Laps led by Scott Pruett (62) and Memo Rojas (32)

Ø 118.704 – Speed in MPH of Scott Pruett’s fastest race lap

Quoteboard:
Ø “We were struggling a little the first day we were here. We obviously improved, so I’m happy with that. The tries went off a little towards the end of my stint. It was hard to drive, but it was still fast.” Memo Rojas, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley

Ø “We were hooked up from the start. We were fastest in the opening test on Thursday, and fastest in Friday’s practice. I’m glad I was out front. I heard it was pretty crazy behind me near the end, and glad I wasn’t part of it.” Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley

Ø “This is a tremendous road course – one of the greatest courses in North America. Our car was quick in the areas where it’s important to make passes. I caught Memo at one point on a clear track, but then I lost time in traffic. This track really suits our car with its quick, flowing corners.” Jordan Taylor, No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP


Ø “I’m elated (to win two races in one day). But as Robin Liddell noted, it wasn’t based on pace – it was the whole package: strategy, perfect pit stops, team work and consistent laps. We couldn’t drive away from anyone.” John Edwards, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro

Ø “Road Atlanta is the only track on the GRAND-AM schedule where I’ve raced before prior to this year. I raced here in last year’s Petit Le Mans. It’s a pretty cool track, and I enjoy coming here.” Brendon Hartley, No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley

Ø “Thursday’s promoter test day was my first time in a Daytona Prototype since 2007, when I ran the Rolex 24 At Daytona with 74 Ranch and the Dallenbachs. Also, I’ve never driven at Road Atlanta before, so I was learning both the car and the race track at the same time. This is a great car and fun to drive, and I’m hugely grateful to Peter Baron and the entire Starworks team for giving me this opportunity. I’m evaluating my options at the moment. The sports car world is new to me.” Katherine Legge, open-wheel veteran who tested for Starworks Motorsport during Thursday’s promoter’s test day.

Coming Up:
Round 5 of the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series season will be Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit on Saturday, June 1 (5 p.m. ET on SPEED).

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