GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: Circuit of the Americas (ROLEX)
News and Notes
It had been a long time since Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty last won a Rolex Sports Car Series race – Montreal in 2011 to be exact. Saturday, all the stars aligned for the two-time DP champs, who scored a popular home-state victory for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing in the inaugural GRAND-AM race at Circuit of The Americas.
Driving for the Dallas-based team, Gurney took over the lead with 14 minutes remaining when Brendon Hartley’s upset bid ended with a broken suspension. Gurney then held off valiant attempts by both Scott Pruett and Ryan Dalziel to take the 16th Daytona Prototype victory for both drivers.
Dalziel finished second, .427 seconds behind, in the No. 2 Popow Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley started by Alex Popow. Pruett took third in the Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, coming back from a late-race miscue that saw the five-time champion fall to 10th after contact with Max Angelelli. Co-driver Memo Rojas dominated the opening two-thirds of the event, leading a race-high 33 circuits.
Running his second Rolex Series race, Hartley led by four seconds in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley started by Scott Mayer. Contact with the GT Audi R8 of Ian Baas sent him spinning to the sidelines with a broken right-rear suspension, ending his upset bid.
GT also went down to the wire. Alessandro Balzan and Alessandro
Pier Guidi dominated the event, leading 47 laps. Andy Lally,
driving the No. 44 Magnus Racing Flex-Box Porsche GT3 started by
John Potter, took over on pit stops and was able to hold on for
12 laps before Pier Guidi made the pass with 3:30 remaining. Bill
Auberlen, driving the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 started by
Paul Dalla Lana, also managed to get by Lally. GRAND-AM officials
penalized Pier Guidi for avoidable contact, and assessed a
one-lap, plus 90-second penalty after the checkered flag.
That gave the victory to Auberlen and Dalla Lana. It was their first victory since New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2012.
In GX, Rolex 24 winner Dr. Jim Norman combined with Austin driver Jeff Mosing and Spencer Pumpelly to win in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman.
DP 1st: Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance
DP 2nd: Alex Popow/Ryan Dalziel, No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley
DP 3rd: Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett, No.01 TELMEX BMW/Riley
GT 1st: Paul Dalla Lana/Bill Auberlen, No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3
GT 2nd: John Potter/Andy Lally, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3
GT 3rd: Andrew Davis/Leh Keen, No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3
GX 1st: Dr. Jim Norman/Jeff Mosing/Spencer Pumpelly, No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman
GX 2nd: Tom Long/Sylvain Tremblay, No. 70 Mazdaspeed/SpeedSource Mazda 6
GX 3rd: Tristan Nunez/Joel Miller, No. 00 Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource Mazda 6
Margin of Victory: .427 seconds (DP); 2.388 seconds (GT); 4
Average Speed: 87.743 mph (DP); 82.757 mph (GT); 75.734 mph (GX)
Cautions: 2 for 10 laps
The Points (Unofficial)
DP: Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett, 65; Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty, 59; Ryan Dalziel/Alex Popow, 53; Max Angelelli/Jordan Taylor, 49
GT: Andy Lally/John Potter, 58; Dion von Moltke, 57; Emil Assentato/Anthony Lazzaro, 56; Paul Dalla Lana/Bill Auberlen, 51.
GX: Jim Norman, 70; Jeff Mosing, 65; Sylvain Tremblay/Tom Long, 60
- The No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro was qualified fourth by John Edwards, but started at the back of the GT grid. Following qualifying, the team found debris and decided to change engines. Edwards – battling back from a bout with the flu – worked his way back into contention before being hit in the left-rear wheel by another competitor, causing a long pit stop that dropped them from contention.
- The event marked the first GRAND-AM Rolex Series event without Darren Law in the field. Law has competed in 161 races, dating from GRAND-AM’s debut in the 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona through the 2013 Daytona event, where he finished seventh for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.
- Enzo Potolicchio confirmed that Stephane Sarrazin will drive in all but one of the remaining Rolex Series races. He will sit out the Mid-Ohio round to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with his drive in the Diamond Cellar Classic taken by Tom Kimber-Smith. The team scored the best finish of its young history at Austin, taking fourth.
- A pair of Rolex 24 class winners had new rides for the event. GT winner Dion von Moltke joined Muehlner Motorsports’ No. 18 Porsche GT3 after winning Daytona in an Alex Job Racing Audi R8. Dr. Jim Norman – part of Napleton Racing’s winning GX effort in the Rolex 24 – moved to BGB for Austin, joining Jeff Mosing and Spencer Pumpelly.
– 9 – GT lead changes among five cars and six drivers
– 10 – Laps led by Brendon Hartley
– 15 – Winless streak in races for Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty since winning at Montreal in 2011
– 25 – Rolex Series victories for Bill Auberlen
– 80 – Career Rolex Series podiums for Scott Pruett
– 101.978 – Speed in MPH of Joao Barbosa’s fastest DP race lap
Courtesy of GRANDAM.com