Daytona II: Dunlap Rand Racing notes

Dunlop consistency praised by SRP II class leaders. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2002) -- As the teams of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series prepare for the 2002 season's second race at Daytona International Speedway, they face a very ...

Dunlop consistency praised by SRP II class leaders.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2002) -- As the teams of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series prepare for the 2002 season's second race at Daytona International Speedway, they face a very different challenge from their first visit to the famed racing venue.

The season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona was 24 hours long, an endurance challenge for the drivers, machines and tires. The July 4 Jani King Paul Revere 250 will be a much shorter race, run at a sprinter's pace.

Two different races, two very different challenges. And, for the SRP II and GT classes, just one tire: Dunlop.

"It's just beautiful," said Rand Racing driver Niclas Jonsson. "I haven't run a tire that has been this consistent."

Jonsson and his Rand Racing teammates have dominated the SRP II class this season, winning the season-opening 24 Hours at Daytona, followed by victories at California Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and, most recently, at Watkins Glen International. The team, whose driver roster includes proven veterans and prototype racing rookies, has been terrific in its consistency.

Jonsson, Marino Franchitti and team owner Bill Rand finished second in the SRP II class at Watkins Glen. Anthony Lazzaro, Ralf Kelleners and Terry Borcheller drove the other Rand Racing entrant to the class victory. The team finished second and third in the overall scoring.

According to the drivers, the Dunlop tires have also proved to be consistent.

Jonsson said that at Watkins Glen, "I ran consistently within half a second a lap for a stint and a half. My fastest lap was near the middle of my first stint. (The tires) stayed the same consistency for a whole fuel load for two stints...It was just unbelievable."

Lazzaro said, "We ran the hard compound and had no trouble. It was green (flag) all the way through. As the fuel load lightens, you get faster times. That means the tire is staying consistent and doing its job."

At Daytona, team owner Bill Rand teamed with veterans Lazzaro, Borcheller and Kelleners. Borcheller, Kelleners and Rand teamed again to win at California. The team's second car, piloted by youngsters Franchitti and Jonsson, won at Phoenix.

Lazzaro, who has experience in various types of racecars and is currently a regular in the Indy Racing League, said of the Dunlops used in the SRP II class, "You get your fastest lap on about the third lap. When (the times) fall off, it is measured in tenths of a second per lap instead of in full seconds per lap."

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