Historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosts the penultimate race of the season

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The top-10 competitors for the Daytona Prototype championship are separated by only five points and led by Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli with 269 points.

Will any teams be able to separate themselves from the others in the championship at the Continental Tire Festival of Speed powered by Mazda at the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca?

Ten races over a variety of different and challenging course layouts have produced one of the the closest championship battles in the history of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

Appropriately, racing on two of North America's most storied, purpose-built tracks will provide the ultimate decision.

First up, on Sunday, is the Continental Tire Festival of Speed powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. (5 p.m. ET FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio). Teams then journey cross-continent for the Sept. 28 season finale at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

The top-10 competitors for the Daytona Prototype championship are separated by only five points and led by Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli with 269 points. The pair, winners of three of the 10 races, lead Christian Fittipaldi by two points followed by Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel (266), Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Joao Barbosa (265) and reigning DP champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (264).

Spirit of Daytona's Richard Westbrook, then teamed with Antonio Garcia, is the defending winner of the two hours 45 minute competition on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course opened in 1957 on the former Fort Ord U.S. Army installation. Westbrook and current co-driver Ricky Taylor enter the season's final races well down in the standings – 35 points behind the leaders.

Fogarty and Gurney, a native of Irvine, Calif. and son of racing legend Dan Gurney, won the race in 2009 and 2011. Angelelli and Pruett likewise have won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the DP class.

Rojas and Pruett, a Sacramento, Calif. native who operates Pruett Vineyard at his estate in nearby Auburn, will be joined by former Indianapolis 500 winners Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon in a second Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW/Riley. The primary No. 01 Telcel/TELMEX car leads the DP team standings by 14 points over Wayne Taylor Racing.

Sunday's race marks the one-year anniversary of Scuderia Corsa's entry into the Rolex Series GT class. Alessandro Balzan went from third to first following his first Rolex Series victory at Kansas Speedway. He shares the No. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia with two-time GT champion Leh Keen.

Magnus Racing drivers Andy Lally and John Potter in the No. 44 Flex-Box Porsche GT3 are just one point behind following an eighth-place Kansas finish – their worst of the season.

Italy's Balzan won the pole for last year's Monterey event. The GT class victory went to Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker, whose Team Sahlen moved to DP this season.

The season's penultimate round marks the debut of Aston Martin in the Rolex Series GT class. TRG-AMR North America will field its No. 66 Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

The No. 11 SDR/Lotus Racing Lotus Evora is set to debut in the GX class. It will be co-driven by Scott Dollahite and Austin GX winner Jeff Mossing. Driver of the no. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman Dr. Jim Norman leads the new class by virtue of winning the opening three rounds and then scoring seven consecutive runner-up finishes.

The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is a study in extremes. Rum Bum Racing and drivers Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb have taken command of the Grand Sport class championship winning three races in the No. 13 Porsche. With a 51-point lead over Stevenson Motorsports drivers Matt Bell and John Edwards, the Rum Bum duo can clinch the title with an 11th-place finish this weekend.

The Street Tuner championship is anything but decided with three sets of drivers tied for the lead with 212 points apiece. Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller, drivers of the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i share the lead with No. 75 Compass360 Racing FamiliesForHope.org Honda Civic Si driver Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley, along with Jeff Mosing and Jesse Combs, drivers of the No. 56 RACE EPIC/Murillo BMW 328i.

Freedom Autosport's Derek Whitis and Tom Long took Monterey ST honors in 2012 driving a Mazda MX-5.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's two hour 30 minute Continental Tire Challenge race can be seen on FOX Sports 1 at 4 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 15.

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Series GRANDAM
Article type Preview
Tags ctscc, daytona prototype, grand-am, gt cars, laguna seca, mazda raceway, monterey