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Sep 04, 2013 - 06:19 AM
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GRAND-AM News And Notes: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Posted by: newsla on Sep 04, 2013 - 06:17 AM
Grand Am News
GRAND-AM News And Notes: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca


ROLEX SPORTS CAR SERIES
The Place: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
The Race: Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by Mazda
The Track: 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course
The Date/Time: Sunday, 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET
The Race Length: 2 hours, 45 minutes
TV: FOX Sports 1, LIVE
Sunday, 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN Radio, LIVE

 

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CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE
The Place: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
The Race: Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by Mazda
The Track: 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course
The Date/Time: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET
The Race Length: 2 hours, 30 minutes
TV: FOX Sports 1: Sept. 15, 4 p.m. ET

10 Drivers In Striking Distance Of DP Championship

The closest championship battle in the 11-year history of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series visits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., for Sunday’s Continental Tire Festival of Speed powered by Mazda. With two races remaining, the top 10 competitors for the Daytona Prototype championship are separated by only five points.

Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli lead Christian Fittipaldi by two points (269-267), followed by Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel (266), Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Joao Barbosa (265), and Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (264).

Nine of the 10 have their destinies in their own hands, and can claim the DP title by winning the final two rounds at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the finale at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, Sept. 28.

If any team can win the final two races, their drivers will claim the title – with one exception. Since Fittipaldi and Barbosa opened the season driving separate cars for Action Express Racing, Barbosa cannot pass his co-driver in the standings.
· Taylor and Angelelli have three victories in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP.
· Putting Fittipaldi and Barbosa together in the No. 5 Corvette DP has resulted in success for Action Express Racing, with the pair winning at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen.
· Starworks Motorsport led the championship after Popow and Dalziel won the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis in the No. 2 Soloson BMW/Riley.
· Gurney and Fogarty ended a winless streak dating back to 2011 when they won the inaugural race at Austin in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP.
· Pruett and Rojas dominated the early stages of the season before an incident on the opening lap at Detroit Belle Isle briefly hindered their bid for a fourth consecutive DP title (and fifth in six years) in the No. 01 Telcel/TELMEX BMW/Riley.

Franchitti, Dixon Make Guest Appearance At Mazda Raceway

Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, both former Indianapolis 500 winners and teammates for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, will make a guest appearance in the DP ranks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, co-driving the No. 02 Cessna BMW/Riley.

Dixon is the leading active IndyCar winner with 32 victories, in addition to two series titles and a victory in the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Franchitti is a four-time series champ in addition to winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

The pair will run alongside Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ season-long effort, the No. 01 Telcel/TELMEX BMW/Riley driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. The No. 01 leads the DP team standings by 14 points over Wayne Taylor Racing, 283-269.

· Highway to Help Racing returns with an assist from Doran Racing. Byron DeFoor and Jim Pace will co-drive the No. 50 BMW/Riley, coming off a successful shakedown test at Virginia International Raceway. The team competed in the two most recent editions of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson co-driving in 2012.

California Well-Represented In Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Race Weekend


Two of the top drivers in DP history will return home for this weekend’s Continental Tire Festival of Speed. Five-time champion and career victory leader Scott Pruett is from Sacramento and operates Pruett Vineyard at his estate in Auburn. Alex Gurney, a two-time champion and fourth on the all-time DP wins list, lives in Irvine.

The pair lead a solid contingent of Californians competing in the Rolex Series.

Dane Cameron, a native of Glen Ellen and former resident of Sonoma, captured a pole along with seven top-10 finishes in leading Team Sahlen’s move to the DP class.

Johannes van Overbeek of San Francisco and Mike Hedlund of Woodside – regulars in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón – co-drive the No. 03 Tequila Patrón Ferrari 458 for Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Bill Auberlen, a three-time winner in 2013 GT competition, is from Redondo Beach, while five-time GX winner Joel Miller is from Hesperia.

Balzan Regains Upper Hand In Three-Way Battle Atop GT Standings

While 10 drivers are within five points of the lead in the DP points, the production-based GT class is also going down to the wire. Five drivers representing three teams are within three points of the lead with two races remaining.

Scuderia Corsa Ferrari driver Alessandro Balzan went from third to first following his first Rolex Series victory at Kansas Speedway. Balzan now co-drives with two-time GT champion Leh Keen in the No. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia.

With Balzan at 279 points, Magnus Racing teammates Andy Lally and John Potter – drivers of the No. 44 Flex-Box Porsche GT3 – are only one point behind. They lost their lead with an eighth-place finish at Kansas, their worst result of the season.

Robin Liddell and John Edwards have won four of the 10 races in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro, but three finishes of 10th or worse have them three points out of the lead with 276 points.

Also in striking distance with 269 points are AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari drivers Emil Assentato and Anthony Lazzaro, followed by three-time 2013 winner Paul Dalla Lana in the No. 94 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 (263), and Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3 (259).

Aston Martin, Lotus To Make Rolex Series Debut

Aston Martin and Lotus will join the Rolex Series GT class for the first time this weekend.
TRG-AMR North America will field the No. 66 Aston Martin Vantage GT4. The car is coming off a successful debut at Sonoma Raceway, with Brandon Davis winning and Kevin Buckler placing sixth in the SCCA World Challenge.

Lotus makes its debut in the GX class with the No. 11 SDR/Lotus Racing Lotus Evora, to be co-driven by Scott Dollahite and Austin GX winner Jeff Mosing.

· The Rolex Series GX championship is also going down to the wire. Porsche Cayman driver Dr. Jim Norman leads the new class by virtue of winning the opening three rounds and then scoring seven consecutive runner-up finishes.

Joel Miller has closed the gap to seven points (329-322) by winning five of the last seven rounds in a diesel-powered Mazda6… Extreme Speed Motorsports will make its fourth appearance of the season with Johannes van Overbeek and Mike Hedlund in the No. 03 Tequila Patrón Ferrari 458.

Rum Bum Racing Will Clinch In GS With 11-Place Finish

Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb have taken command of the Grand Sport (GS) class championship in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, winning three races in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche.

Longhi and Plumb currently hold a 51-point lead over Stevenson Motorsports Camaro drivers Matt Bell and John Edwards. They can clinch the championship with an 11th-place finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, or by entering the Lime Rock finale with a 36-point lead.

Rum Bum Racing won the GS team championship in 2012, but lost the drivers title due to a rules infraction at the final race of the season.

Three Way Tie: Street Tuner Title Up For Grabs

The Street Tuner title (ST) is up for grabs with three sets of drivers tied for the lead with 212 points apiece with two races remaining.

Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller, drivers of the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i, share the lead with No. 76 Compass360 Racing FamiliesForHope.org Honda Civic Si drivers Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley, along with Jeff Mosing and Jesse Combs, drivers of the No. 56 RACE EPIC/Murillo BMW 328i.

Also in striking distance are BimmerWorld’s Tyler Cooke/Gregory Liefooghe (drivers of the No. 81 Johnstone Supply BMW 328i) and Seth Thomas/Dan Rogers (drivers of the No.82 CRC Brakleen BMW 328i), both with 196 points.

Mazda Raceway Home-State Race For Angels Hurler Wilson

The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge has a strong representation from the Golden State.
CJ Wilson Racing is owned by C.J. Wilson, who pitches for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. His driver lineup includes Tyler McQuarrie of Danville.

It has been a breakthrough season for the team, whose best finish was fourth prior to 2013. Mark Miller and Stevan McAleer won at Austin and Watkins Glen in the team’s No. 5 Avalon Pontoons/Modspace/Construct Corps Mazda MX-5, while Chad McCumbee’s best finish in the No. 3 Head and Shoulders for Men/Alpinestars Mazda co-driven by McQuarrie has been third at Barber.

Andrew Novich (Novato) and Tom Dyer (San Rafael) co-drive the No. 196 Honda Civic Si for RSR Motorsports, while Gregory Liefooghe (San Francisco) won at Road America for BimmerWorld Racing and Aleks Altberg (Mill Valley) drives for APR Motorsports.

Other Californians in the series include Bill Auberlen (Redondo Beach), Bob Michaelian (Seal Beach), Matt Bell (Los Altos), Patricio Jourdain (San Diego), Mickey Miller (Tustin), David Thilenius (Aliso Viejo), Connor Bloum (San Diego), Greg Strelzoff (Los Angles) and John Capestro-Dubets (San Diego).


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