Phoenix: SAMAX qualifying race report

podium again The No. 17 SAMAX Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will start the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday evening from third on the GT grid. Ryan Hunter-Reay earned a third-place start position and...

podium again

The No. 17 SAMAX Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will start the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday evening from third on the GT grid. Ryan Hunter-Reay earned a third-place start position and also finished third in the Friday evening qualifying race on the 1.51-mile infield road course. He grabbed second place after 20 minutes of the 30-minute race, but was forced back to finish third.

"We were strong for most of the track except coming onto the only passing zone, so I had difficulty getting past. Unfortunately, I had to make a desperate attempt and second place got by us," he said. "But the whole crew has done a great job making the car better over the weekend. We've had a lot of discipline staying on old tires and conserving everything. Two thirds in one day is an awesome deal ... actually, we're straight thirds since Laguna," he recalled, referring to the team's podium finish at Laguna Seca Raceway on May 7.

Ian James will start the No. 17 Porsche in the two-hour 45-minute race on Saturday and Hunter-Reay will drive the second stint.

double warmup

Ian James will log three races this weekend. He completed the first on Friday evening, when he drove the No. 11 CITGO Racing by SAMAX Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI in the Daytona Prototype class qualifying race. James started the qualifying race 20th and finished 12th. He will compete in the Grand-Am Cup race on Saturday afternoon before joining Hunter-Reay in the SAMAX Porsche for the Rolex Series race on Saturday evening.

"It's probably a slight negative jumping back into that [GT] car because I've got my mind and focus on the DP car, but I'm used to jumping in and out of cars. It's really just a function of having done it quite a few times," he said. "Before I go out, I think a lap through so I know what I'm doing when I get out there, and the first lap out I just re-orient myself."

career day

SAMAX Motorsport will visit Deerfield Beach (Fla.) Elementary School next week, where team owner Peter Baron's daughter Sammy is a kindergarten student. The crew will show the team transporter and race car to 300 students as part of the school's career day.

"The school arranged their career day so we could attend," Baron noted. "We're pretty confident we can best the fire engine that was there last year!"

SAMAX Motorsport is named for Baron's children Sammy and Max.

-samax

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , Peter Baron , Ryan Hunter-Reay