TRY, TRY AGAIN After teaming with Peter Barron's SAMAX Racing and hiring Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Allen McNish to co-drive with himself for January's 46th Rolex 24 At Daytona, Henri Zogaib said, "Honestly, I just don't know what more I...
TRY, TRY AGAIN
After teaming with Peter Barron's SAMAX Racing and hiring Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Allen McNish to co-drive with himself for January's 46th Rolex 24 At Daytona, Henri Zogaib said, "Honestly, I just don't know what more I can do to win this crown jewel of a race."
In a "it wasn't pretty" moment, the No. 2 Samax finished 55th, 462-laps behind eventual winners Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Dario Franchitti and Juan Pablo Montoya (whose car owner, Chip Ganassi produced what is still the 2008 race's best one-liner: "I put Scott and Juan Pablo in the same car so they wouldn't hit each other.")
In the 2007 Rolex 24, Zogaib teamed with Mike Shank Racing along with co-drivers A.J. Allmendinger, Paul Tracy and Ian James to finish in 26th - 73 laps behind the race's winning driver combination; some guys by the name of Pruett, Montoya and Salvador Duran.
Then, all but out of nowhere a week ago at VIRginia International Raceway, regular-season co-driver Ryan Dalziel and Zogaib teamed to finish second in their Daytona Prototype.
A week later, yesterday, the pair scored a first in the RumBum 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Most who have watched Daytona Prototypes and U.S. open-wheel races for the last few years is aware of the sandy-haired and fleet-of-foot Dalziel (yet another Scot, to boot), but who is this Zogaib guy?
He's just your everyday entrepreneur, who happens to use racing as a relief valve to vent the pressures of business and life.
In short: a "gentleman" racer.
Showing up Friday and turning laps in on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Laguna Seca for the first time in his life, Zogaib didn't fare very well in qualifying, putting his car 17th on the DP grid. But, at least, he was ahead of two other DPs when Saturday's race got the green flag.
Keeping his nose clean, Zogaib handed the car's reins to Dalziel - who in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship race here lost that series' points lead and a prospective crown. Dalziel eventually compiled 25 lead laps in Saturday's RumBum 250, 23 of which preceded the checkered flag.
Bottom line: Using an engine eschewed by a few pro-drivers - a Steve Dinan-tuned BMW power plant - a gentleman racer and his professional co-driver bested more than a few pairs of professional drivers.
And for those who would start coming down on the idea of a non-professional driver doing well need only examine sportscar racing's roots to understand that the gentleman driver has long played an important role in this little slice of the motorsports world.
He still does and, like Zogaib demonstrated, can still do well enough in back-to-back races to finish on the Rolex Series' podium.
Should A READER have the desire to someday identify SAMAX's Peter Barron, just look for the paddock's ugliest pair of shorts. It's highly likely Barron will be the wearer.
WAYNE TAYLOR RACING either can't get out of its own way or, from Wayne Taylor's perspective, get out the crosshairs of Rolex Series officials.
Penalties have loomed large in slowing the team's performance for the last few races.
The team racked up its first top-10 finish this season despite driver Max Angelelli incurring a stop-and-go penalty during the Rum Bum 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "Max the Axe" grows angrier by the moment, too.
PADDOCK TALK at this year's season-opening Rolex 24 went something like this: "After this race, the new Dallara DP will debut and it'll take over the world."
Well, it hasn't.
At the RumBum 250, an "old" Riley sat on the pole and led 27 laps.
Mark Wilkins and Brian Frisselle's No. 61 Exchange Traded Gold/Mike Connect Ford-Riley - in fact, the flat-out oldest Riley DP anywhere (chassis no. 001) - led six laps with Frisselle at the wheel.
Oh, and the winner? Another "old" Riley.
There's a lot to be said for the tried and true; even more to be said of racers not having to needlessly spend money on the latest deal just to have a chance at winning.
Oh, the Dallara will come around. For sure. But it's unlikely to "rule" the DP world.
DC Williams, exclusively for Motorsport.com