Frisselle Brothers Are Left to Rue What Might Have Been
LEXINGTON, Ohio, 17 September – Brothers Brian and Burt Frisselle gave it their best in their first race as co-drivers since 2006, but came up empty handed.
They finished the final GRAND-AM Rolex Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in ninth place, but had hoped for so much more. Matching their best qualifying performance of the season for the No. 77 Office Depot Doran Racing Ford Dallara with Burt behind the wheel to start the EMCO Gears Classic from fourth, both brothers wrestled to keep up with the leaders driving a car over burdened with excessive aerodynamic drag. That coupled with a motor slightly long in the tooth meant that while the Frisselle brothers could often catch the car ahead, they could not pass it.
At various points during the race, both Burt and Brian were able to run as high as fifth place, but with a caution filled race, their track position was always jeopardized by a car that lacked the top speed at the end of the straights.
“It was a tough day and not what we were looking for. But, the team worked hard and it’s not a result they deserved either. It was fun to qualify up in the top-five. It was a wild race with more yellows than I have ever seen here at Mid-Ohio,” said Burt. “We ran a little too much drag and that made it hard for us to race even though we had a better car than what our results show.”
Another element that complicated the race for the No. 77 was tire wear. The Frisselles found themselves at several key moments behind competitors whose car and tires performed better on the restarts whereas the No.77 would only get better as the tires wore. The trouble was that with as many restarts as there were, the Frisselles were both losing ground initially only to recoup it as the laps churned on and then have to repeat the process with yet another restart.
The final straw in their effort to stay among the top-five came during the final pit stop, which occurred under yellow with Brian at the controls. With 57 minutes remaining in the 2 hour and 45 minute race, Brian came in from sixth place for his final service to take on fuel and four tires. The whole of the Daytona Prototype field also took the opportunity to pit, so when the tire change on the No.77 ran just fractions of a second too long, it was enough to relegate Brian to the end of the line when the field retook to the track. When the race restarted, Brian was in 10th place with little hope for closing back in on the top-five.
“I’m not sure what the issue was during the stop, but we lost a lot of track position. I tried to run as hard as I could but with the excess aero drag, there wasn’t much more I could do. It’s unfortunate for the team because they worked so hard and we qualified up front, but we just didn’t have the right set-up to convert it into a good result,” said Brian.
Now during the off-season, both Brian and Burt will look forward to returning home to the Colorado Rockies for some skiing and downtime to recharge for the battle next year at the 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.