A BUMP IN THE NIGHT ENDS KRIS SZEKERES TRIP IN IOWA Saturday, July 14, 2007 - Kris Szekeres was the first casualty in Friday night's Round 9 of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural race at the 1.3-mile...
A BUMP IN THE NIGHT ENDS KRIS SZEKERES TRIP IN IOWA
Saturday, July 14, 2007 - Kris Szekeres was the first casualty in Friday night's Round 9 of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural race at the 1.3-mile (2.092-Km) nine-turn stadium road course Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. After qualifying the SAMAX Pontiac Riley in 11th place in Friday afternoon's 15-minute session, Kris Szekeres had the car running in eighth place right from the start, but ceded a position to the Pontiac Riley of Italian Max Papis before settling in ninth.
Unfortunately, the Hartland, Michigan driver was tapped from the rear on lap 35 by the AIM Autosport entry driven by Mark Wilkins of Toronto and sent off course backwards in turn 3 where Szekeres stalled the SAMAX car causing the first of two caution periods of the 192-lap race. Szekeres returned to the pits where he retired. Wilkins was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for avoidable contact.
"We were doing well but I was tapped and turned around," said Szekeres. "Something broke in the engine compartment. I think it was an oil belt and that caused the oil pressure to go down, damaging the engine. It's a shame because we had a pretty good car until then."
As for his co-driver Patrick Carpentier, he was philosophical about the incident even though he failed to turn a wheel in the race for the third time in the last four events.
"These are race incidents and there is nothing we can do about it," Carpentier said. "The off-course excursion must have caused some damage to the car which meant that I wasn't able to turn a single race lap. We have to turn the page and concentrate on our next race at Barber Motorsports Park."
Scott Pruett rewrote the record book when he won his 14th Grand-Am career win on Friday night at Iowa Speedway. It was the Californian's second win of the season, the first he shared with his rookie teammate Memo Rojas, after he narrowly crossed the finish line of the 192-lap race ahead of the second Chip Ganassi entry driven by Michael Valiante of Vancouver and Rob Finley of Peterborough, New Hampshire. Third place went to Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, winners of the previous three races.
Round ten of the 2007 14-race Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule will be held at Barber Motorsport Park, in Birmingham, Alabama, July 20-22, 2007 with the Daytona Prototype race held on Sunday afternoon.
SAMAX Motorsport, based in Pompano Beach, Florida, is in its third year of competition in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.