Mid-Ohio: Darren Law race report

Law Donohue and Brumos Gamble at Mid Ohio and Take 5th in Rolex DP Event The ...

Law Donohue and Brumos Gamble at Mid Ohio and Take 5th in Rolex DP Event

The #58 Red Bull Brumos Porsche was strong the entire weekend of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal EMCO Gears Classic endurance event at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, but a gamble on fuel strategy placed Darren Law and David Donohue fifth at the checkered flag. Law and Donohue had been running as high as second for a large part of the race and have enjoyed a competitive car for much of the 2007 season, but they are still seeking their first win of the year and their first win as teammates.

Practice and Qualifying

With an open test day on the Thursday before the race, the Daytona Prototype machines were limited to only two practice sessions before qualifying with a quick pre race session on Saturday. The Red Bull machine showed strongly from the start of the weekend, and Law was subsequently able to qualify the #58 a season high third with a lap of 1:19.012 around the technical 2.258 mile roadcourse.

Race

The Brumos team started the race well as Law was able to maintain his third place standing through much of his stint. The #99 Gainsco Bob Stallings entry of John Fogarty and Alex Gurney was the class of the field throughout the event, but Law was able to keep the gap to the #99 to five seconds or less, and eventually the top three DP machines were able to open a gap to the rest of the field.

Law pitted on lap thirty-three after moving into second place, and turned the car over to Donohue with a change of Hoosier rubber and a new tank of Sunoco race fuel. The stop dropped the #58 to almost fifteen seconds behind the #99, but David set about the task of trying to close in on the red Gainsco car. Donohue was closely followed by the #10 Suntrust machine of Angelleli as well as the Pruett driven #01 Ganassi entry and did well to fend off the pressure from those cars to keep second.

Donohue moved to the point when the #99 pitted for fuel on lap seventy-nine. On lap eighty-two while still holding the lead, the Brumos Porsche made a critical strategic stop and the team's gamble on race strategy was put into place. Since they were forced to pit under green flag conditions, the time spent fueling the car would be of paramount importance. The team felt that track position was most important, and were gambling that a yellow flag would come out before the end of the race, thus avoiding the need for a splash of fuel in the end.

Based on how the field had sorted out, the team decided to short-fill the Brumos on fuel to make sure that Donohue could get back out in second place. Had the team added more fuel, it would have ensured that the #58 could have made it to the checkered without another stop, but the extra time for more fuel would have dropped the Red Bull liveried car to fifth. It was a difficult decision to be sure, and a gamble either way.

The timing on the stop was planned perfectly, and Donohue was able to get back on track just in front of the Lexus Riley of Pruett. Again, the Red Bull Brumos Porsche Riley successfully fended off Pruett for most of the rest of the race, but as a yellow never came out, Donohue was forced to duck into pit lane on lap one hundred eight of the one hundred eleven lap event for a quick splash of fuel. The stop dropped the #58 entry to fifth.

Although the gamble did not pay off, it was decidedly a smart strategy as it would have been a challenge to have moved forward from fifth place on a track that is known as being difficult to pass on. In a way, the team had nothing to lose by trying, and fifth was a reasonable finish to the day.

Darren Law

"As far as this weekend, and really pretty much every race weekend so far this year for that matter, we have really had a turn around. We run up front and are in contention every race. It is frustrating that we haven't finished better but I feel it's coming soon.

We had a good car in Ohio, but right now the #99 is in a different class than everyone else, so we are all working hard to try to catch up. We're making gains though, and the Brumos team is really getting a handle on the Riley chassis. To be this competitive and know that we still have some more to sort with handling is good - I feel we can only get better.

We were pretty much in position to bring it home 2nd this weekend. David (Donohue) had a great stint and didn't make any mistakes with Pruett on his bumper for the final hour. I had a great opening stint and kept the #99 and #39 close in sight, and noticed that we checked out from the rest of the field. We tried to play fuel strategy to gain track position late in the race, but we just came up a couple of laps short. I was really upset, but we showed that we are there. Its nice to be competitive and fighting for a podium again."

-credit: JMS Motorsports Marketing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Darren Law , David Donohue