News round up 2004-06-16

News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2004) - As this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen falls on Father's Day (June 20, SPEED Channel - 11 a.m. ET, Part 1, 3 p.m. ET, Part 2),...

News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2004) - As this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen falls on Father's Day (June 20, SPEED Channel - 11 a.m. ET, Part 1, 3 p.m. ET, Part 2), the race will have special significance for several drivers in the field, as they will be sharing their cars with their fathers or sons.

ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports will have three sets of fathers and sons piloting its Super Grand Sport (SGS) cars at The Glen. The No. 41 Porsche GT3 Cup will be co-driven by Joe Nonnamaker and his sons Wayne and Will, while the team's No. 42 Porsche GT3 Cup will see Sam Shanaman sharing driving duties with his son, Brett, as well as Wayne Nonnamaker. Brothers Tom and Steve Shelton will be driving the team's No. 43 Porsche GT3 Cup along with Steve's son, Steve Jr.

"Our team has always been about family, and to have three different father/son combinations in three different cars is quite extraordinary," Joe Nonnamaker said.

"It has always been a dream of mine to get to race with my dad and uncle in the same event," added Steve Shelton Jr. "The opportunity to drive the ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche at the Watkins Glen six hour was the perfect fit. The Porsche GT3 Cup will be new to all of us, but I am sure with some track time, we will get the hang of it."

The father/son combinations do not end with the No. 41-43 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports cars. In fact, cars numbered 41 through 44 on the entry list will all feature father and son teams, as the No. 44 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS in the GT category will have Joe Policastro and his son, Jay, at the controls along with Mike Fitzgerald. Not to be outdone by GT and SGS, the Daytona Prototype category will also have a father and son team with Joe Pruskowski and his son, Justin, sharing the cockpit of the No. 5 Essex Racing Ford Multimatic alongside Canadian driver Ross Bentley.

It would undoubtedly be a special and emotional day for the drivers should they find their way to victory lane in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY GETS SAFER

Daytona International Speedway officials announced recently that installation of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers is underway at the "World Center of Racing," and that the installation would be complete in time for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Paul Revere 250 on July 1 and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Pepsi 400 on July 3. Daytona becomes the fourth facility that hosts Grand American events to use the SAFER barrier, joining Homestead-Miami Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and California Speedway. "The safety of our competitors and fans is a top priority at Daytona International Speedway," said Speedway president Robin Braig. "We look forward to working with NASCAR, Dr. Dean Sicking and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as they enhance the safety features at the 'World Center of Racing.'" The SAFER barrier will run continuously for 3,050 feet from the entrance to Turn 1 through the exit of Turn 2, and 3,050 feet from the entrance to Turn 3 through the exit of Turn 4. The SAFER wall technology consists of rectangular steel tubing backed by foam blocks that is installed in front of the track's cement walls. Developed by scientists at the University of Nebraska's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility - led by Dr. Dean Sicking - the SAFER project began in the fall of 2000, and was first utilized at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It remains an ongoing safety initiative among NASCAR, the Indy Racing League, Dr. Sicking and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

WATKINS GLEN'S LONGEST PARTNER RENEWS FOR TWO MORE YEARS Watkins Glen International - which hosts this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen and the theglen.com 200 on August 12-13 - announced that it has renewed its association with ConocoPhillips Company's Kendall Motor Oil brand through 2005. Kendall Motor Oil is the longest-running marketing partner of Watkins Glen International and the brand of lubricants will maintain its position as "Official Motor Oil of The Glen." Kendall Motor Oil 's association with Watkins Glen International dates to 1957, just three years after racing began in village streets. "We are very pleased that Kendall Motor Oil will be continuing its marketing relationship with The Glen," said track president Craig Rust. "Having a world class brand like Kendall involved with The Glen for so many years says a lot about the enduring marketing value of a relationship with auto racing and our facility."

SAID DOUBLES DOWN FOR WATKINS GLEN Boris Said has added his name to the list of drivers who will compete in both the Rolex Series Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday and the The Glen 250 Grand-Am Cup race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, as Performance Nissan Racing has announced that Said will "pinch hit" for Blake Rosser - who is nursing a wrist injury - in the No. 23 Nissan 350Z. The team announced that Rosser would drive "as much as his wrist allows" before handing off the bulk of the driving duties to Said and another Rolex Series crossover competitor, Kelly Collins. Said leads the Rolex Series GT driver standings and will share the No. 21 Performance Technology Group BMW M3 with Bill Auberlen in Sunday's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.

WAGNER KEEPS HIS EYES ON THE PRIZE No. 81 G&W Motorsports BMW Doran co-driver Cort Wagner may be a rookie in Daytona Prototype competition, but he has enjoyed considerable success in other Rolex Sports Car Series classes and is focused on adding a Daytona Prototype title to his resume this year. With just two points separating him and co-driver Kelly Collins from the championship-leading No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driving tandem of Scott Pruett and Max Papis, Collins knows the championship is well within range with seven of 12 races still remaining - despite the fact that engine trouble leading up to Round 4 at Mont-Tremblant robbed him and Collins of precious track time in practice and qualifying. "As can be seen by the numbers, the Daytona Prototypes are truly a success, and I am proud to be a part of it, much less in the hunt for the championship," said Wagner, who led the points with Collins following a podium result in Round 3 at Phoenix. "Through consistency and being well-prepared, the Rx.com G&W Motorsports team allowed Kelly and I to take the points lead in Phoenix. And when faced with adversity at Mont-Tremblant, the team soldiered through and kept us within two points of the new leaders."

QUICK TAKES As part of the pre-event promotion for this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson spoke last week at the monthly meeting of the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City. Edmondson's presentation focused on the emergence and development of the Daytona Prototype category and included a pair of action videos recapping the 2004 Rolex Series season to date. The upcoming Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (August 8) received a similar promotional boost yesterday during the track's annual season kick-off press conference. Team owner Michael Shank was in attendance along with his No. 6 Lexus Doran and was the focus of several television news media outlets on-hand from Shank's hometown of nearby Columbus, Ohio. The SFoW Maserati team, 2002 and 2003 Rolex Sports Car Series GT Champions, will return their Ferrari 360 GT to competition at this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. The Ferrari was last raced in the 2003 season when Brent Martini and Cort Wagner took the Ferrari to the title. Three Ferrari Challenge veterans - Kurt Buchwald, Jim Kenton and Jeff Segal - will drive the 360 GT this weekend. The entry will support the SFoW team's Maserati Trofeo Light GT, their contender for the 2004 Rolex GT championship that hit the podium one race ago at Mont-Tremblant with Emil Assentato, Joao Barbosa and Steve Earle driving.

-garra-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Bill Auberlen , Emil Assentato , Kelly Collins , Wayne Nonnamaker , Joe Nonnamaker , Joe Pruskowski , Joao Barbosa , Ross Bentley , Brent Martini , Sam Shanaman , Chip Ganassi , Blake Rosser , Jeff Segal , Kurt Buchwald , Jim Kenton , Steve Shelton Jr , Steve J , Cort Wagner
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing