The Stars and the Cars Return to NJMP for Round 9 of the Rolex GRAND-AM Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 Patrick Dempsey Scheduled to Race in Millville, New Jersey July 16-18 marks the third appearance here at New Jersey...
The Stars and the Cars Return to NJMP for Round 9 of the Rolex GRAND-AM Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16
Patrick Dempsey Scheduled to Race in Millville, New Jersey
July 16-18 marks the third appearance here at New Jersey Motorsports Park of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, tackling the demanding 2.25-mile, 14 turn Thunderbolt Raceway and its now storied 8 turn Jersey Devil carousel. The Rolex Series headlined our debut Thunderbolt event in August, 2008, racing in dry and rather dusty conditions, as we had just completed race track and multiple buildings construction on deadline. Ant then, lo and behold, in 2009, GRAND-AM returned in April, and was greeted by a spring deluge. Mother Nature has been an interesting partner so far with GRAND-AM at NJMP. This weekend, the third time should be a charm. Round 9 of the 2010 Rolex Series is coming shortly. "It's a different time of the year, and hopefully it will be sunny for all the spectators and teams enjoying the very close racing," said defending New Jersey winner Nic Jonsson.
"We were very quick there the last two years, and won last year. I think our Ford/Proto-Auto Lola is very suited to that track and we're hopeful that Tracy Krohn and I can do it again. The car runs very well in the rain, but I think we also should be very strong in dry conditions - and I hope it stays dry for the fans." Taking the name of the sanctioning body's home location - Daytona Beach, Fla., the Daytona Prototype race car leveled competition while keeping the prototype tradition alive. The Daytona Prototype field has been increased exponentially since 2003. One of the Daytona Prototype's top features is the ability to run any combination of engine and chassis. On any given weekend, there could be upwards of 10 different chassis-engine combinations.
The GT class is home to production-based race cars that are similar in appearance to the latest high-performance sports cars. GT is a mixture of U.S. produced muscle cars going against the international flavor, mainly German, Japanese and Italian models. In 2009 alone, Pontiac GXP.Rs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Ford Mustang Cobras battled against Porsche GT3s, Mazda RX-8s and Ferrari 430Cs, with the Chevrolet Camaro and BMW M6 joining in the mix for 2010. The Rolex Series has kept many of sports car racing's traditions alive, with the use of several drivers sharing one car, racing multiple classes in one race, and running long-distance races. Yet, the close competition, as seen in 2009 when nine of 12 races produced margins of victory less than five seconds, has been virtually unmatched as the series continues its expansion and growth.
Who will win round 9 at NJMP and who will win the 2010 Daytona Prototype championship?
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, the 2008 champs, have been the team to beat, winning five of the opening seven races in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. However, the team finished last at Lime Rock Park, and both drivers will point out that anything can happen - such as the testing crash in opening practice here in 2008 that nearly eliminated the team from the weekend. Reigning two-time Rolex Series champs Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty return in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley but have experienced bad luck that has dropped them down in the standings. Max Angelelli is another strong contender, and has a new co-driver this year in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Dallara, young Ricky Taylor, who joined him in winning at Barber in April. David Donohue and Darren Law now drive Brumos Racing's iconic No. 59 Porsche Riley. Action Express Racing - Brumos' new partner team - opened the year by winning its first race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with a lineup including Joao Barbosa and Terry Borcheller. Ozz Negri, the 2008 New Jersey winner, now partners with John Pew in the Michael Shank Racing No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford/Riley, with Michael Valiante joined by Brian Frisselle in the team's No. 6 Ford/Dallara. New to the scene is Starworks Motorsport, with a pair of BMW Rileys for Ryan Dalziel, Mike Forest, Bill Lester and Nelson Philippe. Other challengers include Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia with the Spirit of Daytona; Doran Racing's Dion von Moltke and Memo Gidley; and AIM Autosport's Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle.
There have also been plenty of changes in the ultracompetitive GT ranks. Stevenson Motorsports' Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell have switched to a Camaro for 2010, with the team adding a second Camaro for Jan Magnussen and Gunter Schaldach. Sylvain Tremblay has a new co-driver in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, Jonathan Bomarito, with the team opening up the season by winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato led the standings at the midway point of the season in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda, while Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards winning at Lime Rock in the team's No. 68. Boosting Mazda's presence are multi-car entries from Dempsey Racing (with 2009 champ Leh Keen pairing with James Gue in a second car to Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster) and Team Sahlen (where Joe Sahlen joins Joe, Will and Wayne Nonnamaker). Paul Edwards, the 2007 GT winner here, has a new Corvette with Banner Racing and a new teammate in motorcycle legend Scott Russell. Turner Motorsports won its first race with a new BMW M6 at Mid-Ohio, with Bill Auberlen joined by Joey Hand, although Paul Dalla Lana is expected to drive this weekend. The new Magnus Racing team with John Potter and Craig Stanton leads the Porsche entry, although TRG won two races with Andy Lally running a limited schedule. Other new teams to watch are Lou Gigliotti's LG Motorsports, with a Corvette for Eric Lux and 2007 Barber winner Kelly Collins, and Marsh Motorsports, with Eric Curran leading the lineup in a Corvette.