DragonSpeed Enjoys Strong Rookie Run at Miller 21 September 2008 The DragonSpeed team achieved its goal of gaining race experience by taking the checkered flag at the penultimate round of the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series at Miller Motorsports...
DragonSpeed Enjoys Strong Rookie Run at Miller
21 September 2008 The DragonSpeed team achieved its goal of gaining race experience by taking the checkered flag at the penultimate round of the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series at Miller Motorsports Park today. Team principal Pete Aronson and general manager Elton Julian Driver co-drove their boldly liveried Porsche 996 to the finish in the Los Angeles-based team's professional racing debut at the 4.486-mile track outside Salt Lake City.
The final result of 25th in the top Grand Sport class hardly begins to tell the story of the team's race. Starting from 23rd on the grid, the first six laps saw Julian gain nine places before a full-course yellow intervened. At the restart, Elton received a stop-and-go penalty for pulling out of line when the car ahead braked suddenly on the main straight, dropping down to 35th. Julian pitted soon after the one-hour mark to hand over to Aronson, who rejoined in 52nd and completed his 50-minute stint in the same position. Unluckily, the team's second stop fell just before another caution period, and Elton spent much of the final half-hour under yellow. Julian passed five cars following the restart, and entertained the crowd in a duel with the more powerful BGB Motorsport Porsche 997. His fastest lap of 3m13.946s underlined the impressive form of the rookie team and its nine-year-old car.
"I'm so proud of the team, Pete, and the way we worked together this weekend," said Julian. "I really enjoyed making a bit of a charge in the opening laps. Pete brought the car back in perfect shape, which allowed us a strong run to the finish. Our pitstops went without a hitch thanks to our crew. It's been a very special weekend and a great pointer to the future of DragonSpeed."
"I was pretty disappointed by the stop-and-go penalty," Elton continued. "I only moved to avoid hitting the car ahead when it braked heavily, and I wasn't the only one. A couple of the other drivers were penalized too, but at least half a dozen did the same thing as we did."
"I'm thrilled to have finished my first professional race," said Aronson. "I ran a full stint, kept it on track, and turned the car back over to Elton in good shape, which was everything I hoped to do today. The result may not seem like it, but it feels like a win to me. I can't thank Elton enough for helping me get to this point, and thanks to the crew for keeping things running smoothly all weekend. Now it's onward and upward for next season."