Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittapaldi earn first victory of the season for Action Express Racing
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 15, 2013) – Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi teamed to win the Diamond Cellar Classic on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Protype (DP), giving the team its first victory of the season. The victory is Barbosa’s 11th career GRAND-AM series win and Fittipaldi’s third.
Close behind in second place, giving Team Chevy the top-two positions on the podium, was defending race winner Michael Valiante in the No. 3 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP started by Enzo Potolicchio.
"After an intense battle throughout the race, it was exciting to see the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP capture their first win of the season, and the No. 3 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP score their first podium since joining Team Chevy,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. “Mid-Ohio is very technical, but our teams were up to the challenge today and added another win to boost Chevrolet's lead in the important Manufacturers' Championship battle. Congratulations to both organizations on their tremendous runs today. Now we head to Watkins Glen for the Six Hour Endurance race."
In the Grand Touring (GT) class, Eric Curran driver the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette, passed the leader in the closing minutes. However, unavoidable contact was made resulting in a penalty which relegated Curran and co-driver Boris Said to a fourth-place finish. John Edwards and Robin Liddell brought the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R to the finish in 10th place.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge pair of Matt Bell and John Edwards carried the banner for Team Chevy, bringing home a strong third-place podium finish in their No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R to round out the weekend.
Next on the GRAND-AM schedule will be June 28-30 at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York featuring both the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Post race driver quotes:
Joao Barbosa, No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype:
With about 35 minutes to go you and Richard Westbrook were having a great battle. You were so patient because it seemed like every time you made a move he would shut the door. Was it difficult for you to use that patience and not just move him out of the way?
“Obviously GRAND-AM has always been like this really tight competition and really intense. Just I knew I was faster I just had to be careful with the guys that were behind me so I wouldn’t get caught off guard. I was able to manage traffic really well during the whole race. I was able to get the move for the lead. Westbrook made it really difficult, but it was hard, clean racing. I’m really proud the way he drove and I just hope we can continue racing like this in GRAND-AM. It should be awesome to see in the next future races.”
Christian Fittipaldi, No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype:
How good was this race car today?
“Well it was definitely good, but it was good the whole weekend actually. It didn’t turn out to be good only during the race. We knew we had a strong car in the race. We qualified pretty decent. We were in the top-three. We thought we had a shot at the pole, but unfortunately it didn’t go that way. The race it all connected. As you mention I had a very strong first sting. Joao (Barbosa) just kept it on from there. He did an awesome job and he drove unbelievably well. That is it. We ended up P1. The team really did a great job. The Corvette was awesome the whole day.”
It's been awhile since you've been to victory lane here in the Rolex Grand-Am series is it as sweet as it always was?
“Victory Lane is always sweet it doesn’t matter where you are racing, how much time you have been out of Victory Lane. Victory Lane is always Victory Lane.”
Michael Valiante, No. 3 8 Star Motorsports Corvette Daytona Prototype:
“Well first off I have to thank the team. It’s a brand-new car. Enzo (Potolicchio) has done a great job putting this whole program together. It’s just getting better and better each race. We have so much to learn. We hit it just right in the race. Enzo did a great job in his first stint. For me I was able to get a good jump on that middle stint and pull away from the field. We lost a little bit of time on that last stop not sure why and kind of shuffled us back, but we had the pace to win today. I think second right now is like winning for this team because we have been pushing so hard to get on the podium.”
Enzo Potolicchio, No. 3 8 Star Motorsports Corvette Daytona Prototype:
You have done so much with this car. In fact you got out of the race car and let some other people get in, get the program going. You were working on a two car team and then the car got wrecked at Detroit you had to use this brand-new car this week. It's been stressful time for you as an owner how sweet is it to be on the podium here at Mid-Ohio?
“It’s unbelievable what the team did in six days after the big crash we had in Detroit. We hired the right guy (Michael) Valiante for the team. We knew he is quality and the engineer loves him. The feedback is excellent. So we knew he was going to do well here. The car, it’s just a team effort. It’s unbelievable what these guys are doing. We are a new team. We were born in November last year. We promised we were going to be a contender by the end of the season and here we are. This is a show of what these people can do and it’s just a team effort all around. It’s unbelievable. I have to thank Valiante for his podium. It gives everybody more will to go forward and keep on pushing because we want to be one of the top teams and today we showed that we can be one of those.”
Eric Curran, No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette GT:
Talk about the contact at the end of the race:
“Yeah, it was pretty wild. It’s great running with Billy (Auberlen) he does a good job. The Turner guys, Will Turner is a good friend of mine, all those guys are great friends. It’s awesome to battle with those guys. It was just good hard racing and I was better in some place with this Whelen/Team Fox Corvette, but he was better in others. I thought it was all done after those two DP’s (Daytona Prototypes) hit each other in the key hole and I had nowhere to go but to touch the back of them and tore up the nose a little bit. This Whelen/Team Fox Corvette was just awesome all the way through. I love racing hard and I love racing with Billy he is a clean guy. It was my bad for getting into him and spinning him. That is not the way I want to win a race. Feel bad about that, but real happy for Marsh Racing and Teddy (Marsh) and all the guys. That was a good run. I wish it ended a little bit differently. Just happy to be up on the podium, too bad about the penalty.”
Team Chevy Racing