Drivers enjoy racing in the dark at Phoenix

AJ's Fine Foods 250 to feature Rolex Series under the lights. PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 23, 2003) -- When the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series travels to Phoenix next week for the A.J. Fine Foods 250, it will be the series' fourth annual race...

AJ's Fine Foods 250 to feature Rolex Series under the lights.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 23, 2003) -- When the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series travels to Phoenix next week for the A.J. Fine Foods 250, it will be the series' fourth annual race under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway. With the green flag scheduled to fall at 6 p.m. local time, race goers will be treated to a desert sunset as the field of Daytona Prototypes and GT cars battle for position into the night.

"At Phoenix, I prefer to race at night every time I'm there just to beat the heat," remarked Andy Lally, just one of the many drivers looking forward to racing under the lights at PIR. "You get accustomed to the darkness fairly quickly and before you know it, you are down to running the same (lap) times that you would during the day. Anything that the limited sight caused by the darkness might take away is balanced by the cool air helping out the engine."

Lally will be sharing driving duties with Phoenix-resident Darren Law in the #8 BMW-powered Picchio Daytona Prototype of G&W Motorsports. The Daytona Prototypes are the new premier class of the Rolex Series, which made its racing debut last February at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

While most Rolex Series drivers are looking forward to the cooler temperatures anticipated with the nighttime racing, Cort Wagner says 'the hotter the better.' "The hotter it is, the more my training pays off for me," said Wagner who prides himself on his intensive training regime used to prepare for the intense temperatures many drivers face inside a race car.

Wagner will pilot the #33 Ferrari 360GT of Ferrari of Washington with co-driver Brent Martini in the A.J. Fine Foods 250. The Ferrari, which competes in the Rolex Series GT class, won its class at the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami last month and finished in second place overall.

However the Ferrari team will face a fierce field of competitors in the GT class during next weekend's race, and will have to be on top of its game to earn a repeat appearance in Victory Lane. "Basically it^Òs a tight, twisty track. Optimization of setup is of maximum importance at PIR, whereas horsepower is not as much of an issue. Good balance and grip are going to be key, as well as having your mojo in check from start to finish," said Wagner.

While the drivers and teams are intensely focused during the race, there are other times they are able to take a moment and enjoy the picturesque desert environment in which they are racing.

"It's a really nice setting being in the desert and its a cool race to watch. I've been up in the grandstands during the race when my co-driver was in the car and got to appreciate what a great view the fans have up there. And it's really nice at night," noted Lally.

Tickets are currently on sale for the AJ's Fine Foods 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, Saturday, May 3, as well as the Grand-Am Cup Series UnitedAuto 200 on Friday, May 2. Tickets can be purchased online at www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com.

Additional information on the Rolex Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Darren Law , Brent Martini , Cort Wagner