Virginia International Raceway
- No. 5 & No. 9 tied for second place in points
- Team tested at VIR
Action Express Looks To Return To Podium At VIR
Team hopes off-season test will lead to podium, victory
DENVER, NC: Three races into the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season there is one stat that heavily favors Action Express Racing when the team heads to Virginia International Raceway this weekend.
At the two tracks thus far on the schedule that the second-year team had the opportunity to test in the offseason, Action Express has earned two podium finishes and three top 5s between its two cars. Given that the Rolex Series took part in a two-day test at VIR back in October, Action Express is hoping to return to the podium and compete for the win this weekend in the Bosch Engineering 250.
“We tested at Daytona and Homestead over the winter and ran well, but at Barber we didn’t have any time under our belts as a team given everything that we’d changed over the offseason,” said team manager Gary Nelson. “When we unload at VIR we won’t need a lot of practice to sort out the car because we’ve been there. We should unload with a pretty good car and that one difference should pay off all the way to the checkered flag.”
Despite limited notes at Barber, Action Express still managed another top 5 when Darren Law rallied from a late-race cut tire to finish fifth in the No. 5 DP. After three races the No. 5 and No. 9 Porsche/Rileys sit in a tie for second in team points, 25 points behind the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing DP.
While the team will have notes to work off of at VIR, rule changes after Barber to the fuel cell capacity and fuel hose restrictors will be a wildcard for all DP teams. GRAND-AM instituted the change to add an additional pit stop in its races.
The team that gets it right and is able to execute it without any mistakes will be up front at the end.
“I think our guys in the pits are happy to take on a more critical part in the result of the race with pit stops becoming more crucial to maintaining or gaining track position,” said driver David Donohue. “They work super hard when the car is not on the track, so it seems like justice to me that they also get to play a more active part during the race to get the car into first place.”
“It’s going to be even more critical from a strategic standpoint. I am sure there will be some different thoughts on strategy since this is new to all of us,” added Law. “The team that gets it right and is able to execute it without any mistakes will be up front at the end.”
Donohue and Law are riding a wave of momentum with a pair of top 5 finishes at Homestead and Barber, after a disappointing ninth place run to open the season in Daytona.
The No. 9 DP driven by the trio of Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and JC France opened the season with a podium in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a top 5 at Homestead, but finished a season-low seventh at Barber.
“I'm looking forward to going to VIR. The new rule change should make competition more intense and strategy even more important. The team has been running really well and I can't wait to see where we will be,” said Barbosa. “The ($25,000) bonus for a win is a great incentive, even though our team’s main goal was and still is to win races. We will be in good shape at VIR!”