Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Ready For New Iowa Speedway Short Track Will See 40-Second DP Lap Times Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams will run the all new Iowa Speedway for the first time this weekend in round nine of the Grand-Am Rolex ...
Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Ready For New Iowa Speedway
Short Track Will See 40-Second DP Lap Times
Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams will run the all new Iowa Speedway for the first time this weekend in round nine of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
The short 1.3-mile, 9-turn modified oval road course located in Newton, Iowa will host the Rolex Series sports cars for the first time. Several Pontiac powered teams have tested at the track and all agree it should make for tight racing. The DP cars will race Friday evening at 8:00 p.m. and GT will go off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
GAINSCO and their No. 99 Pontiac Riley have been a dominant force the last three races. The Texas team has won the last three events at Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Daytona from pole position. The driving duo of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney have run fault free races. Kyle Brannan, team engineer, has found a magic combination on the Pontiac powered Riley DP car that has set them apart from the field.
"Iowa is going to be tough," Fogarty said. "It is a very short circuit. We tested there, so we have a good base to draw from. The weather should be hot, so hopefully we just have to tune for track conditions. Our car has been good everywhere, so hopefully we can carry the momentum forward this week. I think there will be a lot of interesting strategies playing out, you maybe able to go down two laps and not be in trouble, or it could ruin your day."
The SunTrust team took the opportunity to turn first tracks for the Grand-Am competitors with a test in March at the central Iowa track. Max Angelelli did the driving duties and will have to indoctrinate his teammate Jonathan Cochet.
"We went there in early Spring," Angelelli said. "It was cold, so I am not sure how much we really got out of the test, but I know which way the track goes. It will be a great race for the fans, but no so much for the drivers. It is like driving in a parking lot, very tight. I really don't know what to expect, the track is smaller than Phoenix."
The No. 91 Riley-Mathews Pontiac Riley team with Marc Goosens and Jim Mathews know that a simple track can sometimes be the most difficult.
"It is a small place," Goosens said. "The infield section is very tight, but it is a race track. You are on the oval for a good distance than basically a few turns in the middle section than back up on the oval and that makes up about a 40-second lap time. The whole place is just really compact."
New to Pontiac power, having switched before the last race at Daytona, Harrison Brix and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Cheever Racing Pontiac Fabcar will need to run a near perfect race.
"It looks like a good go-cart track," Brix said. "I think we figured low 40-second lap times. We are really going to have to run a perfect race. The pit strategy will have to be right on and no mistakes on pit road. One little slip up will put you down a lap. I also think it will be very hard to pass. At Mid-Ohio it was tough, so this place should be even worse."
Hot off of a top 10 finish at Daytona last week, Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley will take lessons learned from the KONI event a month ago and try to apply it to their DP race on Friday night.
"The track layout looks very, very tight," Jonsson said. "I was there with the Grand-Am KONI cars and we were doing near 50-second lap times in our BMW. It is very tough to pass, you really just follow people and hope they make a mistake. We will see slower cars within three laps, absolutely no room for mistakes."
Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. in the No. 06 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R are hoping to turn the new Iowa Speedway into their new home track. The Banner Racing team is located just four-hours away in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
"I am hoping this becomes our new home track," Reese said. "Iowa Speedway is about four-hours from my house. We will be doing lap times even faster than we did at Lime Rock, I think we figured about 46-seconds. When the pack is that tight and it is tough to pass a lot of things can happen. I think we will be looking to use some of our stock car experience to get around there fast."
Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards took over sole possession of the GT drivers points lead based upon their second place finish at Daytona last week. The duo know it will take a total team effort to do well at the new mid-west track.
"It looks like an oval with a couple of left turns," Collins said. "It will be a real team race. The engineers and the crew will really have to be in tune with the drivers to get the strategy right, pits stops fast and clean, with us drivers running a good mistake free race. The traffic will be crazy. One little hiccup and you are going a lap or two down and that could be your day."
The DP race from Iowa Speedway will be televised, tape delayed, on the SPEED Channel, Friday, July 14 starting at 10:00 p.m. EDT. The GT race on Saturday will be carried live on the SPEED Channel starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
-credit: gm racing