Laguna Seca: Essex Racing/Finlay race report

ROB FINLAY AND MICHAEL VALIANTE SCORE TOP-10 FINISH AT LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY MONTEREY, CA (May 7, 2006) -- Under sunny skies at the beautiful Laguna Seca Raceway, the field of Daytona Prototypes and GT machines rumbled down the front straightaway...

ROB FINLAY AND MICHAEL VALIANTE SCORE TOP-10 FINISH AT LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY

MONTEREY, CA (May 7, 2006) -- Under sunny skies at the beautiful Laguna Seca Raceway, the field of Daytona Prototypes and GT machines rumbled down the front straightaway in anticipation of the green flag start. Rob Finlay behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs machine started the race in the eighth position and quickly settled into the race pace.

Finlay drove a clean stint and brought the No.5 machine into the pit area during the first full course caution on the lead lap. The team quickly conducted a routine pit stop and driver change and sent the Ford-powered machine back onto the track.

"The car was good and I was just getting used to it when the caution came out. My goal was to stay out of trouble and get the car to Michael in good shape and I was able to do that. I'm still a little sore from the hit I took during the Grand Am Cup race yesterday but I should be in good shape for Phoenix next weekend."

With Valiante behind the wheel he quickly moved the car up through the field and into the top-five. Battling for position with Scott Pruett, Valiante attempted to make a move on the 01 machine but unfortunately made contact with Pruett. The incident forced Valiante to lose several positions. With his work cut out for him Valiante steadily moved back up through the field and back into the top-ten by the close of the 250-mile contest, finishing in the eighth position.

"We were finally able to get the car working well for the race," said the likeable Michael Valiante. "We were running in the top-five until I got together with Pruett or Diaz. I thought he saw me but I guess not, it's really too bad because it pushed us to the back. Fortunately we were able to get back up to the front and finish in the top-ten. This was the craziest race I have ever been in."

For the second race in-a-row Rob Finlay won the Jim Trueman Award for the highest finishing privateer driver. The next race for the Finlay Motorsports team will be next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, when the Mooresville, NC -- based team competes in the Avondale Twin 200s, the Gainsco Grand Prix.

-fm-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Rob Finlay