Taylor Puts Pressure on Papis, Pruett for Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Driver Lead Auberlen Increases Lead; Levitas Gains in SGS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 5, 2004) -- With only two races left in the 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car ...
Taylor Puts Pressure on Papis, Pruett for Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Driver Lead Auberlen Increases Lead; Levitas Gains in SGS
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 5, 2004) -- With only two races left in the 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season, the race for the Daytona Prototype championship is the closest it has been since May with just five points separating co-leaders Scott Pruett and Max Papis and nearest challenger Wayne Taylor (297-292) heading into this weekend's Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.
With his victory in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley at last weekend's VIR 400 presented by SunTrust, Taylor is the closest he has been to the leading No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley duo this season.
Pruett and Papis took over the top position following their win in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant earlier this year and later built to a season-high 22 point lead following Round 7, the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic in August. However, that lead dwindled over the course of the last few races, making this weekend's race at Barber a critical round of the championship as one of just two races remaining this season.
Andy Wallace, driver of the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford coupled his win in the Miami 250 with a third-place finish in last weekend's race. He remains fourth in points with 284 followed by Taylor's co-driver Max Angelelli in fifth (269 points).
Milka Duno--who shares the No. 2 machine with Wallace--sits in sixth place two points back and is the final driver still alive in the Daytona Prototype points race. No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Jimmy Morales is seventh with 249 points, while Didier Theys, driver of the No. 27 Doran-Lista Racing Lexus Doran, is eighth (242 markers). 2003 Daytona Prototype driver champion Terry Borcheller is ninth with 240 points, while Cort Wagner, driver of the No. 81 G&W Motorsports BMW Doran, rounds out the top 10 with 229 points.
The Daytona Prototype team championship is far from clinched as the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team leads the No. 10 SunTrust Racing team by the same margin as the drivers battle (297-292). The No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports team is third with 275 markers.
Pontiac remains atop the manufacturer standings (334 points) following its sixth win of the season with Lexus second with 326 markers and BMW in third with 237. Riley continues to lead the chassis standings with 324 points, followed by Crawford in second with 297 points and Doran is third, 10 points back.
In the GT driver standings, Bill Auberlen--who led the class driver standings by a single point heading into the VIR 400--was able to increase his lead over teammate Boris Said, but only by three points. Auberlen and his co-driver of the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3, Justin Marks, were victorious in the VIR 400, but Said and his co-driver Joey Hand finished second. As a result, Auberlen now leads Said, 313-309, and Marks has taken over the third-place spot with 280 points.
No. 66 The Racer's Group Porsche drivers Chris Gleason, Ian James and RJ Valentine dropped to a fourth-place tie in the points when James was involved in a multi-car accident in last weekend's race. They trail Marks by one. The Racer's Group No. 67 Porsche owner/driver Kevin Buckler is seventh with 269 points, Hand is eighth with 252, and No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Maserati drivers Emil Assentato and Stephen Earle are tied for ninth (249 points).
The No. 21 PTG team leads in the team standings by 30 points over the No. 66 The Racer's Group team (313-283). The No. 22 PTG team is third 10 points in arrears. In the manufacturer's battle, BMW leads Porsche by eight points (322-314) while Maserati is third with 254 points.
After failing to finish on the SGS podium for the first time at the Miami 250, Andy Lally and Marc Bunting--drivers of the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche--rebounded and finished second in class in the VIR 400. The two remain atop the SGS driver standings with 310 points. Teammate and back-to-back class winner Michael Levitas, driver of the No. 38 TPC machine, now trails the duo by 13 points following his win last week, while fellow TPC driver John Littlechild is fourth with 281 points.
Joe Nonnamaker, driver of the No. 41 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche, stands fifth with 261 points. His teammate and driver of the No. 42 machine Wayne Nonnamaker is sixth, one point back. Levitas' co-driver Randy Pobst is seventh with 244 markers, followed by No. 47 Michael Baughman Racing Porsche driver Bob Ward in eighth with 234 points. Ward's teammate Michael Baughman is ninth with 232 points, and Jean-Francois Dumoulin rounds out the top 10 with 196 markers.
The No. 36 TPC Racing team has a 40-point lead over the No. 41 ORISON-Plant Earth Motorsports in the team standings (310-270). The No. 38 TPC team is third with 265 points. Porsche--which clinched the manufacturer standings following the Miami 250--added to its lead with a victory last weekend. The manufacturer leads Chevrolet 135 points (347-202). Ferrari is third with 42 points.
This weekend's Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park will air live on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 1. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-240-2300 or by visiting www.barbermotorsports.com.
Grand American Road Racing Association, which sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is one of the fastest growing motorsports organizations in the United States. Established in 1999, Grand American's stated goal is to bring stability to professional sports car road racing in North America. The 12-race 2004 Rolex Series schedule and the 10-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to many key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.