Grand-Am Rolex Series Head Back to Track for GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 25, 2008) -- After nearly two months away from the track, the drivers and teams of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports...
Grand-Am Rolex Series Head Back to Track for GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 25, 2008) -- After nearly two months away from the track, the drivers and teams of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 are itching to get back into action at Saturday's GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET).
At the top of the Daytona Prototype standings following the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona are some familiar faces, beginning with 2004 Rolex Series co-Champ Scott Pruett and his season-long teammate Memo Rojas in the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. Rojas and Pruett lead the championship standings after their win at Daytona, Pruett's third overall win in the endurance classic.
Hot on their heels entering round two of the season are the defending champions, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Homestead-Miami Speedway was one of the few black marks on the 2007 season for the team after an 11th-place finish, with a top finish in front of the team's key sponsor a priority at this year's GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami.
The two-car effort from Michael Shank Racing figures to be in the mix this weekend, including Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson in the No. 6 Ford Riley and Ian James and John Pew in the No. 60 Ford Riley machine. The team swept the front row at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and led throughout the race before mechanical difficulties and bad luck dropped each car back in the pack. Negri has since topped the time charts at February's test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Defending race champions Sigalsport return to the scene of its lone Rolex Series victory with an entirely new look for the No. 7 Rum Bum BMW Riley. Matt Plumb and Gene Sigal replace Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff behind the wheel of the No. 7 machine to defend the team title around the 2.3-mile infield road course. Auberlen, with co-driver Joey Hand, will try to repeat behind the wheel of the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Porsche Crawford in Saturday's matinee.
"New" will be a theme for the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami, as a number of Daytona Prototypes have a new look beginning this weekend.
Dallara makes its debut as a chassis manufacturer in the Rolex Series this weekend. Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante will pilot the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara following a runner-up finish for the team a season ago in South Florida. Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger will pilot the No. 77 Doran Racing Kodak Ford Dallara as a second Dallara entry at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Lola also joins the fray for its first race after a winter of testing the new machine with two cars from Krohn Racing. Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta will pilot the No. 76 Pontiac Lola with Eric van de Poele and Tracy Krohn entered in the No. 75 machine.
The Cheever Group-built Coyotes will return to the track after making their debut during the most difficult race on the schedule, the Rolex 24. In addition to the No. 16 Cheever Racing Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac Coyote piloted by Matteo Bobbi and Antonio Garcia, the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote driven by Guy Cosmo, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Leonard d'Aston has been converted from the old FABCAR chassis to the new Coyote.
A mix of original and updated Riley bodywork will also be on-track for the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami. In addition to the new bodywork of the Nos. 01, 99, 6 and 60 machines, the No. 91 Riley Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley of Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews, the No. 3 Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley of south Florida natives Bill Lester and Shane Lewis, and the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley of Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins will run the new-look Riley chassis.
Running the original style with a new engine is the No. 2 SAMAX Miami Garage Cigarette Racing BMW Riley of Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib. The familiar red, white and blue of Brumos Racing will adorn the sides of the No. 58 Porsche Riley driven by David Donohue and Darren Law and the No. 59 Porsche Riley of Joao Barbosa and JC France.
In total, 19 Daytona Prototypes combined with 26 GT machines are entered in the 45 car field.
The two-car effort of SpeedSource returns to its home track with a points lead after the No. 70 MazdaSpeed Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 captured the GT class title in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Championship points leaders Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham return behind the wheel of that machine, while Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal will pilot the team's No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8.
Nipping on their heels are multi-car efforts from a pair of historically strong Porsche programs. TRG has entered three Porsche GT3 machines, with Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly behind the wheel of the No. 67 Gleukos Porsche and Bryan Sellers and RJ Valentine competing in the No. 68 CGR Maxter Rotax Porsche. Ted Ballou and Bryce Miller are entered in the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber Porsche that finished in the runner-up slot in GT at Daytona and last year's race at Homestead.
Defending Rolex Series team champions Farnbacher Loles matches TRG's three-car effort with a triplet of their own Porsches. Leh Keen and Eric Lux will drive the No. 86 Porsche GT3 while a pair of Canadians, Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins, pilot the No. 88 machine. Eric Curran and defending Rolex Series GT champ Dirk Werner are currently entered in the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche.
The two-car Pontiac GXP.R effort of Banner Racing/Banner Engineering will attempt to rebound from a Rolex 24 that saw the No. 07 finish seventh in GT while the No. 06 slid to 22nd in class. Jan Magnussen and Leighton Reese will pilot the No. 06 machine while Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards in the No. 07 try to return to a championship race that lasted until the season's final laps of 2007.
Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports BryanMark Financial Group Pontiac GXP.R, the No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports machine of Lawson Aschenbach and Tim Lewis Jr, and the debut of former Atlantic team PR1 Motorsports with Mike Forest and Thomas Merrill behind the wheel of the No. 32 machine round out the Pontiac GXP.R contingent.
A two-car effort from Blackforest Motorsports represents Ford in the GT class, with Jean-Francois Dumoulin, Tom Nastasi and John Farano among those behind the wheel of the No. 15 USG Sheetrock and No. 50 Ford Mustangs.
Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey will co-drive the No. 40 Hyper Sport Mazda RX-8 with Joe Foster, while the No. 30 Racer's Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 will be piloted by Craig Stone and Robert Thorne.
A host of Porsches in addition to the TRG and Farnbacher Loles machines will be trying to make the charge to the front of the GT class at the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami. Alegra Motorsport will field a two car effort with help from Gatorade and TodayMD with drivers Craig Stanton, Carlos de Quesada, Scooter Gabel and Roberto Garcia. Synergy Racing's No. 80 Porsche GT3 Cup will see Jan Heylen and Steve Johnson behind the wheel, while the No. 74 Safina Raing with Michum Motorsports will sport a special Florida Marlins paint scheme for the visit to South Florida.
Will, Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker and Joe Sahlen will pilot the No. 42 and No. 43 Team Sahlen HRPWorld Chevrolet Corvettes in what is one of the most diverse classes in motorsports.
GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami Fast Facts
Who: Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype and GT competitors, representing American and international stars
What: GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami, a two-hour, 45-minut sports car rac e
Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway -- Homestead, Fla.
When: Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 3 p.m.
TV: SPEED, Same Day at 6 p.m. ET
Schedule of Events:
(All times local, Eastern Time)
Thursday, March 27
2:00 PM 2:45 PM Practice -- Rolex Series GT
2:45 PM 3:45 PM Practice -- Rolex Series
3:45 PM 4:30 PM Practice -- Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes
Friday, March 28
10:00 AM 10:30 AM Practice -- Rolex Series
10:30 AM 11:00 AM Practice -- Rolex Trueman & Akin award program drivers only
3:00 PM 3:15 PM Qualifying -- Rolex Series GT
3:30 PM 3:45 PM Qualifying -- Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes
Saturday, March 29
10:00 AM 10:30 AM Final Practice -- Rolex Series
11:00 AM 12:00 PM Autograph Session -- Rolex Drivers
2:30 PM Rolex Pre-Race Activities
3:00 PM START -- Rolex Series race (400K/109 laps/2-hour 45-minute time limit)
TIME CERTAIN SCHEDULE -- All sessions to start and finish as shown