Within 24 Hours, Baas Finishes Eighth and Seventh In Races in Ohio and Alabama LEXINGTON, Ohio --- Ian Baas posted two solid top-10 finishes in a whirlwind weekend that saw the Noblesville, Ind.-based driver compete in two different cars in two...
Within 24 Hours, Baas Finishes Eighth and Seventh In Races in Ohio and Alabama
LEXINGTON, Ohio --- Ian Baas posted two solid top-10 finishes in a whirlwind weekend that saw the Noblesville, Ind.-based driver compete in two different cars in two different series at two road courses more than 500 miles apart in less than 24 hours.
Along with co-driver Craig Stanton of Long Beach, Calif., Baas finished eighth in the two-and-one-half-hour Rolex GT race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning he came from last place to seventh in the 50-minute SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course here.
The Rolex GT race was televised live Saturday on SPEED. The Touring Car race will be broadcast on the same network at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, July 28.
Baas and Stanton shared the No. 85 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3 Cup car for the race in Alabama. In addition to Shoes for Crews and Recaro, it promotes APR, goapr.com, silvertrek.com, Team Janica Racing and the Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation.
Baas drives the No. 18 STaSIS Motorsports Audi A4 in SPEED World Challenge. It advertises Team Janica Racing, silvertrek.com, PFAFF, STaSIS, Clear Capital and Think First.
Baas made a special point of thanking the principals of Team Janica Racing for their help during this marathon weekend. "They flew back and forth with me and were real supportive in making this all happen," he said.
Stanton put the Porsche third on the 20-car grid for the start of the Rolex Series GT race in Alabama. He got by the second-place Pontiac driven by Leighton Reese right away, but there was no catching its Banner Engineering sister car driven by Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards, which dominated the event. The race was run under very hot conditions, with track temperatures ranging from 117 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stanton did lead one lap, lap 28, when Collins pitted to let Edwards take over. It was short-lived, however, as Stanton pitted on the following circuit to turn the Porsche over to Baas.
Baas ran in third place for most of his stint, but he dropped to fourth when one of the drivers of his sister car, Dirk Werner, passed him with 36 laps and 54 minutes complete. Baas ran in fourth for 23 minutes, but it wasn't long before he was locked in combat with Reese for third. Baas got the position on lap 51, an hour and 17 minutes into the race, when he blasted by Reese on the back of the 2.3-mile, 16-turn road course.
Five minutes later the throttle stuck in Dominic Cicero II's Corvette and it slammed into a tire wall off Turn 1, bringing out a full-course caution. Baas was still in a podium position when he pitted under that caution for Stanton to retake the wheel.
Stanton was fifth at the restart with 53 minutes remaining. He dropped to sixth with 49 minutes to go when Andy Lally passed him, but he was only seven-tenths of a second out of fifth nine minutes later.
On lap 70 at the one-hour-and-53-minute mark trouble struck in the form of Spencer Pumpelly's Porsche, causing Stanton to spin and slip to ninth. The usually courteous Pumpelly would have received a penalty for unnecessary contact had he returned to the fray, but his day was done.
Stanton soldiered on, and he was able to cut Darren Law's 3-second advantage methodically until he passed Law on lap 84 for eighth place with about 18 minutes remaining. He was still running in that position at the checkered.
Baas qualified seventh for Sunday's SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race in Ohio, but he had to start 23rd and last due to a minor infraction found during the post-qualifying tech inspection. He was on a mission at the standing start, and blasted up the middle of the frontstretch of the 2.238-mile, 13-turn road course to pass five cars right off the bat.
Baas passed two more cars on the next circuit to move into 16th place, and he got 15th on lap four, 14th on lap six, 12th on lap seven, 11th on lap eight, and tenth on lap 10.
One of Baas' teammates, Adam Pecorari, and Randy Pobst fell back on lap 13 to vault Baas up to eighth. Baas ran as the second man in a four-car pack that included Charles Espenlaub, Kuno Wittmer and Roberto Santos for many laps, doing his best to hold off Wittmer and pass Espenlaub. Pecorari replaced Santos at the rear of that four-way duel on lap 19, and Baas was finally able to get by Espenlaub on lap 20 for seventh place.
With no full-course cautions to tighten up the field the gap to sixth was too big, so Baas finished seventh when the checkered dropped on lap 27. He ended up with the second-fastest lap of the race with a 1:33.357 for an average speed of 87.072 miles per hour for the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. He sat that time on the very last lap. The top seven finishers were all under the previous race-lap track record, which is now held by the race winner, Joey Hand, with a 1:32.946 (87.457 mph).
Baas' next two races are in Canada. He's scheduled to compete in the Rolex Series race Aug. 3 at Le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. SPEED will air it on a tape-delayed basis at 8 p.m. Eastern that night. Baas' next SPEED World Challenge Touring car race is at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario on Aug. 24-26. SPEED will show that race at 1 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Fans can keep up to date on Baas's schedule throughout the year on his Web site at ianbaasracing.com. The Rolex Series' Web site is at grand-am.com. The SPEED World Challenge Web site is at world-challenge.com. Farnbacher Loles' Web site is at farnbacherloles.com, while information on STaSIS can be found at stasisengineering.com.
Baas' post-race quotes follow:
"I held up well despite the schedule; no problem.
"I only did nine minutes of practice at Barber, so I was pleased that I still was able to do laps that were consistent with the top-five cars during my stint in the race.
"We were doing well until Spencer made an over-zealous move that ended his race and almost ended ours. He hit our left-rear wheel, which affected our car's alignment. That's why we fell back to ninth. Craig was able to get Darren Law at the end for eighth.
"When I had to start at the back in the Touring Car race, I was on a mission. I went right up the middle at the start, and then started picking more people off as I could.
"My only contact was with Espenlaub. He held me up for 10 laps. I feel that kept me out of the top five. As soon as I got by him, I was 2 seconds faster than he was. The contact happened in Turn 5. I got by him in Turn 7. I took the inside line going into 7 to pass him.
"The car was really good and consistent. I could have used a couple full-course yellows. My last lap was my fastest, and it was the second-fastest lap of the race."
-credit: ian baas/restart commmunications