DC's showcase time at Laguna Seca

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST? Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty's No. 99 Gainsco Pontiac-Riley posted the best lap in Sunday morning's warm-up for today's Rolex Series race, turning a 1:25.253 lap. The No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche-Crawford of drivers ...


SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST?

Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty's No. 99 Gainsco Pontiac-Riley posted the best lap in Sunday morning's warm-up for today's Rolex Series race, turning a 1:25.253 lap.

The No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche-Crawford of drivers Patrick Long and Michael Rockenfeller was second-fastest by all of 0.003-second (let's see, that's a whole number space to the left of the period -- "dot" in current vernacular, I guess - the 'one-tenth' slot immediately right of the dot; the 'one-hundredth' slot next and, finally, the 'one-thousandth' slot where that '3' is found).

Wow, the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac-Riley was way behind in third, trailing by a massive 0.387-second. And Wayne Taylor yielded his seat to Jan Magnussen. Go figure.

Whatever, maybe Gurney and Fogarty have been saving themselves for today's headlining Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

COLLISION COURSE

"Success is where preparation and opportunity meet" - Bobby Unser, who in his 19 Indy 500 starts scored 10 top-10s, six top-fives and won two of those races.

Once an occasional Rolex Series participant to a present-day fulltime Daytona Prototype competitor, one would think Alex Job Racing's transition would've been a little more difficult.

Alex Job didn't think so - especially at the U.S. Sports Car Invitational.

"We came here with the expectation that we'd run strong and we've done just that since we unloaded the cars. We've gathered a lot of data over years of racing at this track that we've been able to apply this weekend," Job said following Saturday's qualifying race at this weekend's U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Yet, whether for this weekend or how the team has since performed after running its first official, butt-kicking DP test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in December 2005, Job was quick to give credit to all the team's members.

The in-car styles of drivers Patrick Long and Michael Rockenfeller, Job said, are so indistinguishable from each other that "If they didn't wear different helmets you wouldn't be able to tell who was at the wheel. If you were to close your eyes and listen to the shift points and throttle use, you wouldn't be able to tell there were two different drivers in the Ruby Tuesday."

But Job's words of praise didn't stop with his two "Porsche-Bots."

Particularly citing engineer Greg Fordahl and technical director Mike Evans, Job said that much of what the team accomplishes is through the combined effort of every member of that team.

"It comes down to preparation," Fordahl said. "A lot of teams focus on one thing as to what they can do to do better than another team and forget to look at each little thing. We focus on every aspect because just one little thing gone wrong will likely cost you the race."

Even though AJR's No. 23 Ruby Tuesday's Porsche-Crawford missed the series' second race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez; drivers Long and Rockenfeller are in the DP driver points lead; and, are undoubtedly the heavy favorites for today's Road & Track 250.

Yet, they didn't post the fastest time in Saturday's qualifying race.

FAST, FASTER AND NOT SO SLOW -- RELATIVELY SPEAKING

At the end of his 15th lap Michael McDowell's No. 19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms Ford-Crawford set the fast lap in Saturday's Daytona Prototype qualifier, clocking a 1:24.950.

Interestingly, Saturday's Rolex Series Daytona Prototype qualifying race -- in which there were more Daytona Prototypes running than many other series have cars, whatever the class -- produced five best-lap times within ½-second of that posted by McDowell and 15 DPs posting times within one-second of the No. 19 Ford-powered, Crawford Composites car.

Oswaldo Negri's No. 60 Flight Options/Net Applications Lexus-Riley, which he shares with co-driver Mark Patterson, started reeling-in the Ruby Tuesday as the slightly less than 30-minute race neared its end. But with a front-row start Negri was content to bring the car home in one piece and post a finish that puts Patterson on the outside pole for today's race.

"There really wasn't much point in trying to push the issue with what little time remained," Negri said.

"When you look at the driver combinations and the number of cars capable of winning in the Rolex Series and compare it with the relatively few quality teams for this year's Le Mans it's really quite sad. Something's obviously wrong, isn't it?" Andy Wallace said.

-Exclusively Written for Motorsport.com by DC Williams

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty , Wayne Taylor , Greg Ford , Bobby Unser , Michael McDowell , Patrick Long , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Alex Job
Teams Williams , Alex Job Racing