Elkhart Lake, Wis. – Action Express Racing returned to GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series action this weekend at legendary Road America and will start from the third and fifth rows of the grid in Sunday’s VISITFLORIDA.com Sports Car 250 event after the starting grid was set in a quick 15-minute qualifying session Friday morning.
The quick series of morning sessions saw Action Express Racing continue to demonstrate a strong team work ethic and the ability to positively react when things don’t go as planned.
Christian Fittipaldi will start the No. 5 Action Express Racing Daytona Prototype from fifth on the grid after setting a fast time of 2:01.096-seconds in the Corvette DP that he will share with co-driver Joao Barbosa. The event marks Fittipaldi’s Daytona Prototype debut at Road America having last driven at the track in 2002 while racing in Champ Car.
The fifth place starting spot was a welcome result for the team after a practice incident less than two hours before qualifying saw the No. 5 Corvette DP sustain damage. The Action Express squad quickly rallied as a group to make repairs and had the car ready to go in time for the 15-minute qualifying session.
"We really expected to be a little bit further up in the field, but we will take it,” said Fittipaldi, who won the 1999 CART race at Road America. “We have to do the best we can with what we have and we can't complain. We definitely lost a little bit because the car wasn't right due to the mechanical problem we had in practice this morning.
We didn't have time to really put the car on the pad and make sure everything was working, so that cost us a little bit. But I am very confident for the race. Qualifying is one thing, but racing is entirely different."
Burt Frisselle delivered another solid performance in the No. 9 Corvette DP as he set the 10th fastest time of the field with a 2.01.934-second lap of the historic 4-mile Wisconsin road course.
“The car is really good, but I probably didn't grab the most out of the tires right when I needed to,” said Frisselle who will share driving duties in the No. 9 machine with his brother, Brian. “Christian looks like he did get the most out of his tires and then after he did that, we could run the same pace as the No. 5 car, but we needed to get that a little earlier.
But we will go to work for tomorrow. We have the tires that we want for the race and hopefully things will be better. I love this track, it's really great. It is neat to have all of the series here together and I am excited for the race."
"We had quite a rush trying to fix the problem we had late in the practice, but we got ready to qualify and the car seemed to respond pretty well,” offered Team Manager Gary Nelson. “Christian did a nice job and so did Burt Frisselle. We aren't always known for our qualifying, but we usually make up our ground during the race, so we worked on race setup every practice and we feel like we have a great race setup.
We are still investigating exactly what happened late in practice this morning, but something went wrong with the steering and Joao was unable to keep it off of the guard rail. Luckily he and the guard rail were going in a similar direction so he only scraped it.
But it caused enough damage to have to tow it in and after that we were able to look it over. It wasn't anything serious, but we didn't have quite enough time between practice and qualifying to go over it completely."
The VISITFLORIDA.com Sports Car 250 will go green at 5:00 PM (ET) on Saturday and will be televised LIVE on SPEED.
Action Express Racing