Series Mid-Ohio race report

Grand American Road Racing press release

The Story
Determined to ‘win or wreck,’ Ryan Dalziel held off newly crowned Daytona Prototype champion Scott Pruett by .416 seconds to capture Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season-ending EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

#2 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley: Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, Mark Wilkins
#2 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley: Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, Mark Wilkins

Photo by: Ted Rossino

Pruett and Memo Rojas clinched their third DP title in four years by completing the minimum 30 minutes in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley required to score points. Pruett made numerous attempts to close the year on a winning note, but Dalziel was up to the task to give the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley started by Venezuelan rookie Enzo Potolicchio its first victory of the season.

It was Pruett’s fourth DP title and the fifth team championship for Chip Ganassi Racing since entering the Rolex Series in 2004. BMW also won the DP Manufacturer’s championship in a double tiebreaker with Chevrolet, based on the team’s five second place finishes.

Rounding out the podium were third-place finishers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley, who were looking to end the year with two straight victories.

Bill Lester – bidding to become the country’s first African-American champ of a major auto racing series – and Jordan Taylor – looking to become GRAND-AM’s youngest champion – came up two points shy in their bid to make history in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Lester spun and lost a lap in the opening minutes, and the team fought back to regain the lead lap and finish eighth. Ronnie Bremer and Robin Liddell took the GT victory – combining to lead 34 laps to win the second straight race for the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro.

Andrew Davis and Leh Keen finished fourth to capture the championship in Brumos Racing’s first season in the GT class. The co-drivers of the No. 59 Brumos Porsche GT3 were trailing Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito, drivers of the No. 70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8, late in the event. However, Keen beat Bomarito out of the pits following the final pit stop and held that advantage for the remainder of the event.

The Surprises
Enzo Potolicchio, scoring his first career DP victory to close out his rookie season.

Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli both led in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara but the car broke exiting the pits after its final stop and the team failed to finish.

Andrew Davis led 12 laps in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3 after starting from the back when the team missed qualifying.

Brumos Racing won its first title since 1994 (North American Endurance Championship).

Ronnie Bremer – late-season addition finished the year with a pole and two straight victories in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro.

The Numbers:
.296 – GT margin of victories in seconds

10 – Number of Daytona Prototypes finishing on the lead lap

5 – Number of Daytona Prototype championships for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

17 – Consecutive Rolex Series races led by Ricky Taylor

27 – GT laps led by Jonathan Bomarito

$18,750 – Continental Tire Horsepower bonus won by GT winners Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer

The Quotes:
“It’s been an incredible year for us. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve been focused as a team to get our car to the front as much as possible. All my championships are great. I never thought I’d still be winning championships at this point in my career.” Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, DP Champion

“At the beginning of the year, Hurley Haywood sat us down and told us we were going to race to win races and championships. Winning the championship in our first year shows what Brumos is made of. This championship feels better than my first, doing it the way we did it and how it all unfolded, bringing Brumos back to GT. At first we wanted just to get a podium. Then we kept winning and winning.” Leh Keen, No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3, GT Champion

“This is absolutely huge for Starworks. We’ve been through some rough years, but Peter (Baron) keeps brining me back. This victory was more emotional for me than winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona last year. Today was one of those days when it all comes together. At the end, I was driving my butt off to stay ahead of Scott. I said in my head, ‘I’m going to win or wreck.’ I’m also excited to win for Ford.” Ryan Dalziel, No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley DP winner

“It was an amazing race, and it’s unbelievable – I can’t believe I’m up here. It’s all my teammate (Dalziel). I felt good with my job, I kept a good pace. Then Ryan drove an amazing race.” Enzo Potolicchio, No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley DP winner

“When I was sitting there in fourth, I thought that was the best we were going to do. But we made some small changes on our last pit stop, and that gave us enough to have the car to way. Near the end I was aggressive in the right places and managed to get by the Mazdas one by one. It was really hard from the driver’s seat, but I’m happy to get the title for Chevrolet, that was real important for us.” Andrew Davis, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro

“My stint was very eventful. Coming from the back to the front was a lot of fun. Our strategy helped, but once I was up front, I was able to drive away. It was great to lead a few laps after our disappointment in qualifying.” – Andrew Davis, No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3, GT Champion

Coming Up:
The next activity for the Rolex Series will be the Rolex Champions Banquet presented by SunTrust at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Monday, Sept. 26.

The 2012 Rolex Series opens with the Jan 28-29 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. There will also be the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 5-8.

GRAND-AM will hold open tests for the Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competitors at Barber Motorsports Park on Oct. 17-18, and Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 15-16. There will also be a Rolex Series open test at Daytona on Dec. 6-7.

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Series GRANDAM
Tags chevrolet, ford, grand-am, mid-ohio, starworks