Homestead: Dempsey Racing preview

El Grado Joins Dempsey Racing and No. 40 Mazda RX-8 for Season-Ending Grand Prix of Miami Patrick Dempsey Scheduled for first race start since July 4th as team looks for first podium finish MIAMI, Fla. (Oct. 8, 2009) -- Both El Grado...

El Grado Joins Dempsey Racing and No. 40 Mazda RX-8 for Season-Ending Grand Prix of Miami

Patrick Dempsey Scheduled for first race start since July 4th as team looks for first podium finish

MIAMI, Fla. (Oct. 8, 2009) -- Both El Grado Tequila and Patrick Dempsey will return to the No. 40 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 for this weekend's Grand Prix of Miami where the team and lead drivers Dempsey and Joe Foster will be looking to close out the 2009 season with their first top-three podium finish in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series competition. The 12th and final race of the 2009 season, the Grand Prix of Miami is a 2.5-hour sprint on the 2.3-mile, 11-turn Homestead-Miami Speedway road course.

Dempsey last raced in Grand-Am Rolex Series competition in the Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona on the Fourth of July. The Daytona race was also the last time El Grado partnered with Dempsey Racing and the familiar No. 40 Mazda RX-8. Both Dempsey and Foster would like nothing more than to wrap up what has been a strong 2009 season by giving El Grado and Mazda a top-three showing in Miami.

"El Grado has been a great new partner for us this season and they certainly deserve and a podium along with the whole team," Dempsey said. "Considering the economic issues facing sponsors and teams now, we want to give El Grado a great return on their investment in our team."

Dempsey Racing debuted in the Grand-Am Rolex Series in September of 2007, but this year has been by far the team's best season to date. In just over two short years, the Dempsey team has evolved from series newcomers to winning contenders at every race with Mazda and the support of partners such as El Grado. The team has scored a pair of team-best fourth-place finishes this season at Barber Motorsports Park and Montreal while Foster helped Dempsey Racing mark another milestone with a pair of second-place qualifying efforts at Barber and one race ago at Miller Motorsports Park.

"We've worked very hard this season to raise the level of the team and showing up with a chance to podium certainly creates focus," said Foster, the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Champion. "The team knows that feeling from our winning seasons in KONI Challenge but certainly the Rolex Series is another level of competition that is even more challenging."

Mazda factory driver Charles Espenlaub partnered Foster for both fourth-place finishes and fills in when Dempsey's "day job" schedule keeps him from racing. Although Dempsey has not been able to race in the Rolex Series since July, his on track performance this season has also been part of the team's success story. Dempsey Racing has posted a strong record of eight top-10 finishes in the team's last 11 races, including a mid-season run of five straight with Dempsey and Foster co-driving. The highlight for that duo was a sixth-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June. The solid run of results also includes a top-10 finish in June's 24 Hours of Le Mans where Dempsey and Foster combined to drive more than 20 hours. Along with teammate Don Kitch Jr., they finished ninth in the GT2 class in the No. 81 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Ferrari F430 GT.

"I had a great summer with several Rolex Series races in a row and the 24 Hours of Le Mans," Dempsey said. "Work has been busy, which is also good, but I am very happy to be back with the team in Miami and to continue to be part of our progress toward the front of the field. As the season culminates, I'm encouraged with the team's progress this season and motivated more than ever to help find the resources to allow continued progress. These guys and the team have pushed forward on minimal resources this season but next year will be even better."

NOTEWORTHY

This past weekend Dempsey, Foster and other members of the Dempsey Racing team -- competing under the name "The Dempsey Racers ZOOM ZOOM" -- rode bicycles in the Dempsey Challenge, a charity event designed to support the Dempsey Center in Lewiston, Maine. Over 3,500 cyclists competed in the event. The 10-member Dempsey Racers team generated over $9,000 in the effort while enjoying cycling more than 50 miles through beautiful New England fall foliage in the Maine countryside. The entire event generated almost $1 million for the Dempsey Center. Foster also participated in a media ride on Saturday of the event weekend with team leader Dempsey and world-class cyclists George Hincapie and Dave Zabriskie. "What an honor to be riding in the same pace line with Hincapie and Zabriskie," Foster said. "These guys are some of the best in their sport and it was a great learning opportunity for me." Dempsey Racing partner Specialized Bicycles was also a sponsor of the Dempsey Challenge

-credit: dr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Charles Espenlaub , Patrick Dempsey