Rolex Sports Car Series Heads to Watkins Glen Seeking Record-Tying Fifth Winner in Five Races DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 15, 2004) - As the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series gears up for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen - Round 5 of ...
Rolex Sports Car Series Heads to Watkins Glen Seeking Record-Tying Fifth Winner in Five Races
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 15, 2004) - As the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series gears up for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen - Round 5 of the 12-race 2004 championship - a host of teams and drivers are hoping to extend the series' streak of different winners to a record-tying five in Sunday's race at the historic 3.4-mile, 11-turn permanent road course in scenic New York (SPEED Channel - Part 1, 11 a.m. ET, Part 2, 3 p.m. ET).
Should this weekend's overall winner be a car/driver combination other than the No. 54 Kodak Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran and co-drivers Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber, the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford and co-pilots Andy Wallace and Milka Duno, the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley with co-drivers Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor or the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley and partners Max Papis and Scott Pruett, it will tie the record of five different overall winners in five races established in 2000 and tied in 2001.
When looking for a potential car and driver lineup to extend the record, one needs to look no further than defending Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen defending champions Brumos Racing. Last year, David Donohue, Mike Borkowski and Scott Goodyear co-drove the No. 58 Porsche Fabcar to an emotional victory for the team, as team owner Bob Snodgrass and No. 58 crew chief Mike Colucci are natives of nearby Elmira, N.Y., and it was their first victory at The Glen in 34 years.
This year, Donohue is back in the cockpit of the No. 58 machine and will share the controls with co-drivers Darren Law and Sascha Maassen. In the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar will be the winningest driver in Watkins Glen history, Hurley Haywood. He will co-drive the Porsche with JC France and Lucas Luhr, giving Brumos Racing a formidable 1-2 punch in its quest for a repeat win at Watkins Glen and its first win of the season.
Another team looking for its first win of 2004 coming into the weekend is the No. 27 Doran Lista Racing Lexus Doran with co-drivers Didier Theys, Fredy Lienhard and Jan Magnussen - who comes to Watkins Glen fresh from a GTS class victory in the 24 Hours of LeMans. Magnussen and Theys finished second in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant last month. The team has won at least one race every year since the inception of Grand American in 2000, so they're seemingly bound to break through at some point in the not too distant future.
The No. 81 G&W Motorsports BMW Doran team of Cort Wagner, Brent Martini and Kelly Collins also bears watching this weekend, as Wagner and Collins shared the points lead going into the last race at Mont-Tremblant and have already finished on the podium twice this season. Despite missing every practice session and qualifying at Mont-Tremblant with mechanical troubles, Wagner, Martini and Collins charged from last on the Daytona Prototype grid to finish seventh. With full practice and qualifying in addition to the race this weekend, the No. 81 should be a force to reckon with at The Glen.
The No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley shared by Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales and the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran of Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Burt Frisselle also cannot be overlooked. The No. 02 was within striking distance of a first win in Miami and was also one of the quickest cars at Mont-Tremblant only to come up empty in both events. A little help from the racing gods will go a long way for Diaz and Morales. Likewise, Negri and Frisselle have already visited the podium in 2004 at Homestead and have shown the pace to be race winners. Perhaps this will be their weekend.
However, those who have already won this season could care less about the historic significance of having a fifth different winning team at Watkins Glen, as they are locked in a fierce championship battle and will be pulling out all the stops to get a second victory this weekend.
For starters, Pruett and Papis will be looking to extend a different streak this weekend, as they have put the No. 01 on the pole position for all four races thus far this season. With a breakthrough win the last time out at Mont-Tremblant, and a skinny, two-point lead over Wagner and Collins in the championship chase, they'd like nothing better than to start a winning streak to extend their points lead.
No. 10 teammates Angelelli and Taylor have also been lightning-quick in the Pontiac Riley. They head to Watkins Glen hoping to erase a disappointing 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant, when mechanical issues ruined what would surely have been a competitive outing based on the speed they showed throughout practice, qualifying and the early stages of the race itself.
Wallace and Duno will welcome Jan Lammers back to the cockpit of the No. 2 machine for the second straight race as they go for their second triumph of the season at The Glen. One must never count out the No. 54, as defending series champion Borcheller and Barber know a thing or two about winning races in the Rolex Sports Car Series and at Watkins Glen in particular.
Other Daytona Prototype teams looking for their first win of the season this weekend include the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford co-piloted by Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Paul Edwards; the No. 5 Essex Racing Ford Multimatic of Joe and Justin Pruskowski and Ross Bentley; the No. 7 Southard Motorsports BMW Fabcar shared by Shane Lewis, Vic Rice and Steve Southard; the No. 9 Mears Motorcoach/SpeedSource Pontiac Riley with drivers Paul Mears Jr., Mike Borkowski and Sylvain Tremblay; the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford of Doug Goad and Stephan Gregoire; and the No. 39 Silverstone Racing Services Pontiac Crawford co-driven by Chris Hall, Larry Huang and Andrew Davis.
Since the Grand Prix of Miami in February, the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 driven by Boris Said and Bill Auberlen has owned the GT category to the tune of three straight victories. Said took over the GT points lead following a win in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant. Auberlen and Said will be challenged to extend their streak by their teammates in the No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3, Joey Hand and Justin Marks, as well as erstwhile GT points leader Mike Fitzgerald and the father and son team of Joe and Jay Policastro in the No. 44 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS.
Others to watch in GT are the two-car The Racer's Group assault with Ian James, RJ Valentine and Chris Gleason in the No. 66 Porsche GT3 RS; and owner/driver Kevin Buckler along with Liz Halliday and Bohdan Kroczek in the No. 67 Porsche GT3 RS. The GT field features 14 entries.
In SGS, No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup co-drivers Randy Pobst and Michael Levitas continue to lead the point standings, and not unlike the No. 21 team in GT, their toughest challenge this weekend may come from teammates, as No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup co-drivers Marc Bunting and Andy Lally have shown impressive speed, and John Littlechild and Bill Adam in the No. 37 Porsche GT3 Cup could also give their teammates a run for their money. After sitting out the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant, the No. 16 AASCO Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup and drivers Craig Stanton, David Murry and Mark Webber are back and ready to challenge the 14 other cars in the SGS field for the class victory as well. Don't count out the No. 71 Doncaster Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Greg Wilkins, Dave Lacey and Jean-Francois Dumoulin.
The Grand-Am Cup Series will be the featured attraction on Saturday with Round 5 of the 10-race 2004 series, the The Glen 250, taking center stage. Stanton leads the Grand Sport (GS) point standings by 23 points over Borcheller (131-108), while Don Salama and Will Turner head the Sport Touring (ST) points table with a 22-point advantage over Chuck Goldsborough and Ian James (124-102) as the series reaches its halfway point this weekend.
The weekend schedule calls for the Rolex Series SGS and GT cars to get their first look at Watkins Glen International on Friday morning for a 30-minute practice session beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET, followed by an all-class session from 10-11 a.m. and Daytona Prototypes only from 11 - 11:30 a.m. The Grand-Am Cup cars see their first activity of the weekend on Friday afternoon with an hour of practice beginning at 1 p.m., followed by another 40-minute Rolex Series practice session at 2:10 p.m. and a 55-minute Grand-Am Cup practice beginning at 3:35 p.m.
Saturday's activities get underway at 8 a.m., with the Grand-Am Cup cars on-track for practice from 8 - 8:50 a.m. ET. The Rolex Series teams make their final preparations for qualifying in a one-hour practice session beginning at 10 a.m. A 15-minute Grand-Am Cup ST qualifying session is next on the schedule beginning at 11:10 a.m., followed by Grand-Am Cup GS qualifying from 11:30 - 11:45 a.m. Rolex Series GT and SGS qualifying takes the green flag for a 15-minute session at 1 p.m., followed by a 15-minute qualifying session for the Daytona Prototypes at 1:25 p.m. The Glen 250 Grand-Am Cup Series race rounds out Saturday's activities beginning at 2 p.m. The scheduled distance for the race is 74 laps (250 miles), but is subject to a three-hour time limit.
On Sunday, the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen takes the green flag at 11 a.m. ET with SPEED Channel providing live coverage of the first 90 minutes and then returning to the air for the race's final two hours at 3 p.m. ET. SPEED Channel will also provide tape-delayed coverage of the Grand-Am Cup The Glen 250 on Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m. ET. Zippo Live Timing & Scoring from all sessions throughout the weekend is provided on the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com.
Tickets can be purchased by going to www.theglen.com or by calling 607-535-2481.