Lime Rock: Ian Baas race report

Baas Has a Busy Memorial Day; Competes in Two Races at Lime Rock LAKEVILLE, Conn., May 30 - Memorial Day was memorable for Ian Baas, as he competed in two different racing series' events on Monday at Lime Rock Park here. Baas, of Noblesville,...

Baas Has a Busy Memorial Day; Competes in Two Races at Lime Rock

LAKEVILLE, Conn., May 30 - Memorial Day was memorable for Ian Baas, as he competed in two different racing series' events on Monday at Lime Rock Park here.

Baas, of Noblesville, Ind., finished eighth out of 25 drivers in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring car race Monday afternoon on the 1.53-mile road course. He contributed to an extremely solid performance by the STaSIS Motorsport team, as all three of its Audi A4s finished in the top 10.

One of Baas' teammates, Chip Herr, won the 44-lap, 48-minute race, while another one of his teammates, Adam Pecorari, placed fourth.

It will be shown on SPEED at 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 2.

Baas qualified 11th with his No. 18 to line up for the standing start on the inside of row six beside a friend and former teammate, Randy Pobst. Baas' qualifying time was 58.897 seconds or 93.519 miles per hour, just 0.744 of a second off Pierre Kleinubing's pole.

Baas got a great start and quickly moved into tenth place, and then kept working hard to eventually take the checkered in eighth. Michael Galati, the only five-time World Challenge drivers' champion, was 2.6 seconds behind Baas at the checkered in ninth position.

"We were fighting with the set-up," Baas said afterwards. "I missed the first practice because we blew an engine, which was costly time to lose. Then we just missed the set-up in qualifying.

"Then in the race, I went out with lighter springs all around, and it took me a little to get used to that. I got a really good start and moved up right away, but I didn't want to take any chances. My times were within the top four guys' times, but finishing was most important. I was trying to take advantage of other guys' mistakes, but nothing much really developed so I'm pretty happy with eighth.

"All three of our cars were in the top 10, which gives us some valuable manufacturer and team points," he pointed out. "We all finished in the money, which was a nice change."

Baas also competed in the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT race Monday afternoon at Lime Rock, where he drove the At Speed Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup car with co-driver Mark White.

Baas qualified 12th out of 23 drivers for that 2.5-hour race, which was shown on a slight tape-delay Monday on SPEED. He and White finished 16th.

Baas got 11th at the start and was immediately embroiled in war, with Craig Stanton ahead of him and Tom Nastasi behind him. Stanton eventually broke away but Baas came under heavy pressure from Nastasi, who hounded him lap after lap.

He ran his fastest lap on lap 10 with a 55.779 seconds/98.747 mph circuit. Stanton passed Emil Assentato for ninth on lap 12, so Baas crossed the finish line on that lap with Assentato 0.705 of a second in front of him and Nastasi 1.004 seconds behind him, still in 11th place.

Nastasi kept the pressure up lap after lap, finally passing Baas on lap 22 to drop him to 12th. He got 11th back on the next lap when Andrew Davis, who had been eighth, ran into difficulties. The top 10 was elusive, however, as Nastasi had tenth and he was 8.303 seconds ahead of Baas on lap 32.

Baas had his hands full in the cockpit due to a vibration, and he reported to the pits for lengthy repairs on the next lap. White got in just to get some lap time and they finished the race many laps down, but the car was running at the end and they got 16th.

"About a quarter of the way through my stint I thought the brakes were going, but I knew they were new so I kept driving," Baas explained. "Then we had a vibration in the left rear and the pedal knockback was still bad. I guess it was just a chain reaction, because we had three broken wheel studs in the left rear.

"I came in and we changed the upright. It took us about 25 minutes because we didn't have everything assembled, but we decided to give Mark some track time so we sent him out. He showed a lot of speed and did a great job. We were definitely chugging along and there was so much attrition in the race that we ended up finishing 16th, which was good."

If Monday's schedule was hectic, it will be even busier for Baas at the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. June 8-10. He'll compete in two SPEED World Challenge Touring Car races that weekend, one on Saturday, June 9 at 7:40 p.m. and another on Sunday, June 10 at 1 p.m., as well as the six-hour Rolex Series race from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.

The six-hour Rolex race will be shown live in two parts that start at 11 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, June 9 on SPEED. The two Watkins Glen Touring Car races are slated to be shown at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, on Saturday, June 23 on the same network.

-credit: ianbaasracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am , PWC
Drivers Mark White , Emil Assentato , Randy Pobst , Pierre Kleinubing , Michael Galati , Tom Nastasi , Andrew Davis , Adam Pecorari , Chip Herr , Ian Baas