Millville: Series round three preview

Rolex Series Returns to New Jersey Motorsports Park Improved Thunderbolt Raceway to Host Verizon Wireless 250 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 28, 2009) - Coming off a very successful event at Virginia International Raceway, the...

              Rolex Series Returns to New Jersey Motorsports Park

Improved Thunderbolt Raceway to Host Verizon Wireless 250

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 28, 2009) - Coming off a very successful event at Virginia International Raceway, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 races for the second straight week when it visits New Jersey Motorsports Park for the Verizon Wireless 250 presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

The two-hour, 45-minute race takes the green flag at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, May 3, and will be televised live on SPEED.

Ozz Negri and Mark Patterson teamed to win the inaugural race on the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway, in Millville, N.J., last August, and return in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley. Teammates Michael Valiante and John Pew finished second in last weekend's Bosch Engineering 250, when Valiante took the checkered flag .705 seconds behind Alex Gurney, who won the Bosch Engineering 250 in front of a record Virginia International Raceway crowd.

"It will be great to go back to New Jersey, not only because I won last year's race, but because I really enjoyed the layout," Negri said. "It's got a great mix of high-speed corners and is very technical. They've done some work to it, and it will be even more of a pleasure to go back and race there."

Over the winter, the facility worked on curbing and run-off areas, in addition to planting additional grass to alleviate the dust. Spectator amenities include doubling the grandstand seating and additional trolley service.

"They've done a lot of work," said David Donohue of nearby Malvern, Pa., who won the 2009 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. "They've had a challenge because we were there late last summer and now we're back in early spring with the schedule change. But they've done the best they can in the given time frame."

Donohue and Darren Law, his co-driver in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, lead the Daytona Prototype point standings with 60 points, one more than Gurney and Jon Fogarty, co-drivers of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Porsche Riley.

JC France and Joao Barbosa, drivers of the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, are third with 53 points. They are followed by defending Daytona Prototype co-champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, co-drivers of the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley.

The GT class enters the Verizon Wireless 250 with a two-way tie between Pontiac GXP.R teams in the standings. Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, winners of the Bosch Engineering 250, are tied with defending GT champions Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards with 60 points.

TRG is the defending GT winner at Thunderbolt Raceway, with 2008 winners Andy Lally and Tim George Jr. driving in separate Porsche GT3s this weekend. Lally, winner of the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona, will share the TRG No. 67 with Justin Marks.

George, now a regular in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, returns to co-drive the No. 68 with New Jersey Motorsports Park principal RJ Valentine. TRG also fields the No. 66 Porsche GT3 for Rolex 24 runners-up Spencer Pumpelly and Ted Ballou, who are third in the standings, three points out of the lead.

The GT field also features Mazda RX-8s for SpeedSource, Racers Edge and Dempsey Racing. Owner/driver Patrick Dempsey is scheduled to return to the No. 40 Mazda with Joe Foster. "New Jersey was special for me," Dempsey said. "It was the first race that I led, so I like that track a lot and it will be fun to go back there. There's always a good crowd there. It's nice to see a track that's that close to Philadelphia and New York."

The weekend also features the Garden State 250, a two-and-a-half hour race for the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Saturday afternoon.

Practice begins at 8:40 a.m. Friday, with qualifying at 1:45 p.m. Saturday and the two-hour, 45-minute race taking the green flag at 1 p.m. Sunday. Live timing and scoring, notes and results will be available on www.grand-am.com, with regular weekend updates also posted on www.twitter.com/RolexSeries.

-credit: grand-am

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Robin Liddell , Kelly Collins , Andy Lally , Darren Law , David Donohue , JC France , Joao Barbosa , Memo Rojas , Justin Marks , Spencer Pumpelly , Andrew Davis , Chip Ganassi , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Joe Foster , Michael Shank , Patrick Dempsey , Ted Ballou , Tim George Jr. , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , SpeedSource , Michael Shank Racing