Solid Efforts Net Top 10s For Porsche Teams Barbosa-France Fourth in DP; Werner-Miller Score Runner-up in GT DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - July 4 -- Overall, Porsche's performance customer teams turned in solid efforts with three top-10 finishes in DP...
Solid Efforts Net Top 10s For Porsche Teams
Barbosa-France Fourth in DP; Werner-Miller Score Runner-up in GT
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - July 4 -- Overall, Porsche's performance customer teams turned in solid efforts with three top-10 finishes in DP Class and a podium for second place in GT in Thursday night's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway, the eighth race in the 14-race 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.
Portugal's Joao Barbosa provided some last-minute heroics in the No. 59 Porsche-Riley as he passed Brumos Racing teammate Darren Law of Phoenix, Ariz., on the final lap to finish fourth, only 3.24 seconds behind the winning Lexus-Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. Law finished fifth, just a whisker behind Barbosa, and Joey Hand of Sacramento, Cal., gave the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Alex Job Racing Porsche-Crawford its first top-10 finish by placing eighth, only 4.661 seconds behind the winner. A late-race caution helped set up the close finish, but the Porsche contingent ran in the top 10 most of the evening with the No. 58 Brumos car and the Alex Job Racing entry both running as high as third place at separate times during the 250-mile race. For the Brumos team, it marked the second straight race with both of its cars taking the checkered flag in the top five.
"We had some brake problems with the No. 58 car so he (Law) couldn't hold off the No. 59 car in the end," said Hurley Haywood, the Brumos team director and legendary sports car racer in his own right. "But it was a good showing with all of the problems we had tonight. So we're happy with that."
Haywood alluded to an early pit stop for David Donohue of Malvern, Pa., who started the race after qualifying fifth. Donohue pitted on Lap 7, but fell from fifth to 17th after stopping to have an electrical short repaired on the car's number panel. Donohue slowly rebounded to third by Lap 28 and then pitted two laps later to hand the car over to Law, who was again delayed by work on the troublesome number panel. Law rejoined the race in 13th position but would move back up in the standings to remain in the top five for the final 11 laps.
As he had at Mid-Ohio, Barbosa came on strong at the finish after co-driver and hometown favorite J.C. France took good care of the No. 59 entry after starting in 16th position. France ran as high sixth before pitting on Lap 19 and vacating the cockpit for Barbosa.
"It was a pretty good stint," France said. "I was trying to keep the car clean and keep it on lead lap to give a good car to Barbosa."
Mission accomplished and with the good car, the Portuguese driver continued to improve his position, saving his best for the last lap. The fourth-place finish also came despite a green-flag pit stop that came 30 seconds before the race's first caution period of the night on Lap 38.
"Everything worked really well," Barbosa said. "I made some bad calls on my part and lost many places and it was really difficult to catch up. But the Porsche engine was strong all the way through the race. The team did a great job and gave me a good car--a competitive ca--so we were able to go from 17th to fourth."
Thursday's race was a vast improvement for the Alex Job Racing entry that had retired on the pace lap of the previous race. Not only did the newly redesigned Porsche- Crawford go the distance, but Hand was able to bring it home in one piece, gain some important development miles and score a top-10 finish
Bill Auberlen started seventh and although the resident of Redondo Beach, Cal., dropped to 17th position in the early laps, he was able to work his way up to as high as third before pitting on Lap 38 during a full-course caution and turning the car over to Hand. That yellow came courtesy of race leader Michael Wilkins who cut a tire and then brushed the wall, leaving enough debris to merit the caution.
Hand rejoined the race in fourth and never ran lower than 11th the rest of the way. "We ran," Hand exclaimed. "We've kind of struggled with some things dealing with the new bodywork on the Crawford and then had some freak things happen on the parade lap of the last two races, so it's just nice to get a finish under our belts. We knew there would be some attrition here so we just tried to keep it clean. Alex asked us to keep the bodywork on it because we don't have a ton of spares just yet. We had some sort of vibration in the end with the right rear tire and it was causing some weird sort of harmonic. It was actually slowing the engine down. We persevered."
NOTE: Hurley Haywood and J.C. France will drive the original Brumos Racing Porsche- Fabcar in next week's Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. The chassis, No. 001, has been restored and carried Haywood and France to score first overall victories for a Daytona Prototype in races at Homestead and Phoenix in 2003.
Werner, Miller Lead Porsche Contingent in GT Class
For the second straight race, a Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup scored the best finish for Porsche in GT Class as Germany's Dirk Werner and Bryce Miller of Hoboken, N.J., wound up second to the Mazda RX-8 of Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay. Starting in third in the No. 87 entry, Werner jumped into the lead at the start and took off with teammate Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., who eventually worked up to second to give Porsche a 1-2 in the standings for a handful of laps.
However, Lux was forced to pit on Lap 11 with a mechanical problem that kept the car in the pits for 12 laps. The winners at Mid-Ohio would be denied a second straight victory . Werner continued to lead, setting the pace for the first 21 laps before losing the lead to Ham. The full-course caution for debris on Lap 38 allowed Werner to close up on Ham, who had been ahead by 20 seconds. Both teams used the occasion to pit and make driver changes with Miller taking over for Werner.
Miller continued where Werner left off by jumping into the lead as the green flag came out on Lap 44 and stayed there for five laps until being passed by Jeff Segal in a Mazda RX-8. Segal brought out the final caution after tangling with a DP car and flipping just after the exit from the Bus Stop Chicane. On the final lap, Miller was able to pass the Pontiac GXP-R of Robin Liddell to finish in second.
"The last race was the changing point for our team," Werner said during the post-race interview. "We wanted to hop on that train and get a good result at Daytona. The plan was to get a gap in the first part of the race and as the tires went away, I tried to stay up front. The advantage (for the Mazdas) was that they didn't have to change the tires. I'm pretty happy with the second place. Bryce did an awesome finish passing Robin on the last lap."
"It's nice to have the exposure and experience to close the race and for Dirk to give that to me is special," Miller added. "I thought Robin had me there going into the Bus Stop turn, but the Pontiac punched such a big hole I was able to get by. It's a good feeling." TRG also placed three cars in the top 10 in GT Class. Ted Ballou of Coronado Del Mar, Cal., and Andy Lally of Dacula, Ga., took team honors by finishing fifth in the No. 66 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry while Canada's Hima Maher and Craig Stanton of Long Beach, Cal., placed eighth in the No. 65 TRG/Riegel Autosport entry. Tim George Jr. of New York, N.Y., and Spencer Pumpelly of Mason Neck, Va., finished ninth in the No. 67 entry. To update your email address or to change the format of the emails you are sent, click to this link. This email was individually sent to you, however if you wish to unsubscribe, please click here.