SCC: VIR: Synergy Racing pre-race notes

ALTON, Va. (October 6, 2005) -- Synergy Racing competed in a promoter test day for the Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 on Thursday at its home track, Virginia International Raceway. The team based in the VIR RacePlex will campaign four cars in...

ALTON, Va. (October 6, 2005) -- Synergy Racing competed in a promoter test day for the Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 on Thursday at its home track, Virginia International Raceway. The team based in the VIR RacePlex will campaign four cars in this weekend's event, including a Daytona Prototype and two GT Porsches in Sunday's VIR 400 and a Grand Sport Porsche in Saturday's Grand-Am Cup Series finale.

Synergy drivers look to repeat past VIR success VIR has proven to be good luck for several of Synergy's drivers who look to repeat their past success this weekend.

Last year, GT points-leader Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) and David Murry (Atlanta, Ga.) stood atop the Grand-Am Cup podium en route to Stanton's driver championship. With a narrow five-point lead heading into Sunday's race, the drivers of the Synergy Racing No. 80 Porsche know another visit to the top of podium--this time in the Rolex Series--will provide a little cushion heading into the season finale in Mexico City.

Brent Martini (Laguna Beach, Calif.) has taken top honors at VIR in both Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup events. In 2002, Martini scored the overall win in the Grand-Am Cup race in a Synergy Porsche. The next year he captured the checkered for the Rolex Series GT class with Ferrari. This weekend, Martini will partner with Kelly Collins (Newport Beach, Calif.) in Synergy's No. 81 Porsche 997 for Saturday's Grand-Am Cup event. The Southern California duo is coming off its best finish of the season at Phoenix last month and hope to improve upon it yet again this weekend.

Mae Van Wijk tops personal best Synergy racer Mae Van Wijk (Houston, Texas) was very pleased with Thursday's test session at VIR. The 22-year-old driver topped her best personal best lap time around the circuit during testing.

"It was really good practice for this weekend's race," said Van Wijk. "We got very luck with the weather. The sky seemed to open up with a downpour only minutes after our final session ended."

Van Wijk will partner with local favorite and team co-owner Del. Danny Marshall (Danville, Va.) in the No. 81 Porsche GT3 Cup sponsored by autobysite.com and pipeservicestt.com, during Sunday's 77-lap race.

Synergy gets a little help in the pits In addition to Synergy's special guests and VIPs in attendance for this weekend's home race, the team will also have an extra visitor in the pits. Tim Cundiff from Vinton, Va., won a chance to be an honorary pit crewmember with the team this weekend through a radio promotion. Cundiff will get to meet all the team's drivers and experience the race first-hand from Synergy's pit box.

Home team disadvantage? Racing at home can be a mixed blessing Everyone always talks about the home team advantage, but in auto racing, Synergy Racing has found out competing on your home track isn't always an advantage.

"It is a mix blessing in that you've got your shop there to work out of. You can't have left anything behind. Everything you own is within a few miles. But the downside is everyone that has supported you--that's been a fan, a friend, a VIP over the years--is going to come to this event," said Cole Scrogham, Synergy Racing team owner. "And it's a big distraction from the actual racing. It's great to be there with folks and have a nice time with them, but it does add a bit of complexity to just running a weekend race."

While many might say, 'but you get to sleep in your own bed for a change,' Del. Danny Marshall explains that's not always a good thing.

"Someone once asked me about racing at home when I was competing in a vintage race at VIR, and I told them, 'I do get to sleep in my own bed, but also have to go home and cut the grass,'" quipped Marshall, who will pilot the No. 81 Porsche GT3 Cup this weekend. "I don't have to worry about cutting the grass when I head back to the hotel at Watkins Glen."

But what about the on-track advantage? With the capability to test at VIR on regular basis, one would think the team might have leg-up when it comes to speed on the racetrack.

"In terms of the car's performance, we get to test here a lot, but generally we aren't going to go any faster because that's our home track. We're just more familiar with the layout," admitted Scrogham.

But Synergy Racing's young drivers, familiarity can be a great mental advantage. "I love this track. It's one I know really well because of all our testing. I really look forward to racing here," said Mae Van Wijk, the youngest female driver in the Rolex Series at age 22.

"VIR was the first place I ever got to drive a Daytona Prototype, and I'm excited to be coming back here to race and not just test," adds rookie driver Brian Frisselle (Aventura, Fla.), who pilots the Rx.com No. 8 BMW Doran Daytona Prototype with his older brother Burt.

-sr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kelly Collins , Craig Stanton , Brent Martini , Danny Marshall , Mae Van Wijk , Brian Frisselle , Cole Scrogham