Jeff Segal and AIM Autosport Team FXDD to Start Fourth In Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami After Qualifying Is Rained Out
2011 Race Runner-Ups Segal and Teammate Emil Assentato Grid on the outside of the Second Row in Miami-Debuting Ferrari
MIAMI, Fla. (April 28, 2012) – Miami-resident Jeff Segal will see co-driver Emil Assentato and the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am start fourth in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami after heavy rains washed out qualifying Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A timed 2-3/4-hour sprint race, the Grand Prix of Miami can be seen live on SPEED this Sunday, April 29, at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT.
Grid positions for the race were determined by GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT team point standings. The No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am will lineup on the outside of row two based on its fourth-place ranking in the team championship standings with 55 points.
Although official qualifying was a total rain out, Segal took to the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami road course in wet conditions during Saturday practice. Rain is also predicted for Sunday.
“We did a couple of laps in the rain at Daytona in practice, so we knew how the basics worked,” Segal said. “Things like the defroster and the windshield wiper, you don’t take those for granted on a race car. We did a little bit of testing last week at New Jersey, and it happened to rain as well, so we had some more miles there. Here it was just validating that the setup we have for the dry works in the wet, and that’s the case. We didn’t want to take too many chances. We didn’t do many laps, but we’re pretty happy.”
The AIM Autosport Team FXDD squad will not make any significant strategy changes if Sunday’s race is run in the rain, but Segal acknowledges the risk is much greater.
“The rain doesn’t change our strategy, but it is a lot riskier to race in the rain,” Segal said. “You’ve got to be careful with what kind of chances you’ll take. Usually in the dry, the risky bit comes when you’re racing side-by-side with somebody, and you’re worried about crashing the car with them. Then in the rain, you brake 10 feet too late and you’re going flying off the track and into the wall. You’ve really just got to be careful with how hard you push and when. You really pick your battles a little bit more, and it is more of a patience game until you get to the end. Then it’s who has survived, how close are they and what is there left.”
Segal and Assentato finished second in last year’s Grand Prix of Miami and also earned runner-up honors in the most recent GRAND-AM Rolex Series race at Barber Motorsports Park last month. That finish gave the No. 69 team a jump to fourth in the points race, which will be incredibly valuable if tomorrow’s race is indeed run in rainy conditions.
“It is always nice to start the race in the front,” Segal said. “In the rain, the biggest thing is visibility. Grip is nice but if you can’t see where you are going, you can’t use it. The further you start toward the front, the better off you are. I feel bad for the guys in the back if it is raining at the start of the race tomorrow. It is really going to be challenging. I’m happy we’re starting on the second row, it’s not perfect, but it is better than being in the back.”
Segal, a 2007 University of Miami Business School graduate, moved to Florida after earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree and has always considered Homestead-Miami Speedway a home track. He won his first Ferrari Challenge at Homestead in 2003 when he was just 17, and the second-place finish in last year’s Grand Prix of Miami with Assentato was another top accomplishment on the 2.3-mile Miami road course.
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