LONG, ROCKENFELLER NEAR GRAND-AM POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND-PLACE FINISH AT LONG BEACH LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Despite carrying an extra 75 pounds and increased air intake restrictors legislated by the sanctioning body, Porsche-powered Daytona ...
LONG, ROCKENFELLER NEAR GRAND-AM POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND-PLACE FINISH AT LONG BEACH
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Despite carrying an extra 75 pounds and increased air intake restrictors legislated by the sanctioning body, Porsche-powered Daytona prototypes continue to compete for the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car series championship - this time with a second place at the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach Saturday.
With its second-place finish, The Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Hirewise 10th and M Seafoods Porsche Crawford drivers Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller now have 97 points, just 14 points out of first place in the driver standings and only eight points out of second - and the team missed one of the first four races. Thirty-five points are awarded for first place.
Patrick Long, a Southern California native, and German Mike Rockenfeller, started second on the grid with Long taking an early lead in the special 90-minute event on lap #4 - a difficult maneuver on this narrow street course.
"I was a little cautious at the start, as the concrete barriers on both sides of the street can end your day in a hurry, but I wanted to prove I could get back in the lead. I picked off the #10 Pontiac and then the #01 Lexus made a small mistake and I was able to get him under braking. Our car was really good in the transitions and braking zones. Mike did a good job to get back a place after our pit stop and bring it home in second."
Long was referring to the pit stop the car made under the first yellow flag on lap #10, when the Alex Job Racing crew had to add some water to the engine, costing the team some additional time in the pits - time Rockenfeller could not make up during the short race, which had very little track time due to three extended yellow flags.
Rockenfeller closed to within a second of the lead late in the contest, but several yellow flags, the narrow course, and the final re-start on which he flat-spotted his tires all combined to prevent him from passing the winning Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz.
The Red Bull Brumos Porsche Fabcar was also running in the top five when, on lap #40, driver Darren Law was hit from behind and spun around, dropping him to 24th place. The Law/Donohue Porsche finished 15th, with the team Brumos Porsche Fabcar of Haywood/France 14th. The Morgan/Morgan Porsche Riley finished 13th.
The Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford of Eddie Cheever, Jr./Christian Fittipaldi also ran well early, but was involved in the lap #10 accident which also included the Synergy Racing Porsche Doran of Frisselle/Frisselle. Burt Frisselle slowed just around a blind corner as the result of a broken half-shaft, and was hit by another prototype. Fittipaldi then ran over debris from the accident which caused front end and suspension damage. Both cars were knocked out of the race.
Complete results and race note are available on www.grandamerican.com
There were no GT cars at this event. The next Grand-Am event will be April 23 at Virginia International Raceway.