Brix and Jourdain Almost Finish in the Top 10 In Saturday's Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 26 - If Saturday's Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway would have been just four laps shorter or there would have been just a few ...
Brix and Jourdain Almost Finish in the Top 10 In Saturday's Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 26 - If Saturday's Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway would have been just four laps shorter or there would have been just a few more caution-flag laps, the Feeds the Need/Doran Racing DORAN JE4 Ford No. 77 would have finished eighth, but in the end drivers Harrison Brix and Michel Jourdain Jr. ended up 16th both in the Daytona Prototype class and overall in the 39-car field.
Brix, of San Jose, Calif., qualified 18th in the car, which carries the colors of the Kodak EasyShare System, Amp'd Mobile and SIRIUS. He actually started 17th, however, when one car started on pit lane due to a pre-race engine change. He passed two cars immediately and settled into a nice pace, running between Patrick Carpentier and Rob Finlay. He ran in 15th or 16th for the first 20 laps until there was some attrition and he moved up to 14th. He was in that spot when the team made its first pit stop under a full-course yellow on lap 24 of what turned out to be a 99-lap event that ended at its two-hour-and-45-minute time limit.
The Doran Racing pit crew did a fantastic job and the team advanced to tenth after the pit stop. Brix ran in tenth, 11th or 12th the rest of his stint, pitting under yellow on lap 40 for four fresh Hoosiers, fuel, and for Jourdain, of Mexico City, Mexico, to take over.
Jourdain was in 14th for the restart on lap 43 and he ran in 15th or 16th thereafter. A little past the half-way point he had a nice battle with Shane Lewis and Carpentier even though the set of tires he had wasn't as good as he'd hoped. Both drivers said the track was slippery throughout the race, primarily due to the other tire compounds used by the other series that shared the 2.52-mile circuit here this weekend.
Jourdain was 17th on lap 63 and the team was already working hard to conserve both its tires and its fuel. Some of the cars ahead of him pitted a little later and a couple crashed to move Jourdain up to 13th on lap 69, sandwiched between Carpentier and Christian Fittipaldi.
Oswaldo Negri spun, the Ruby Tuesday car caught on fire in the pits, and the Doran Racing team's excellent fuel strategy caused Jourdain to rise to seventh by lap 73. At that point the efforts to conserve fuel became paramount, although with 17 laps remaining team owner Kevin Doran already had correctly estimated that the car would be about four or five laps short of going the entire distance on the fuel that remained.
Michael Valiante got around Jourdain on lap 84 and Fittipaldi passed him on lap 86 to move him to ninth, but the team was back in eighth on lap 89 when Carpentier pitted. At that point Jourdain had his biggest scare when Andrew Davis ran into the rear of the No. 77 and crashed into a tire wall in Turn 10 on lap 90. Jourdain was able to continue on, doing his best to conserve as much fuel as possible under the subsequent yellow flag.
He was still in eighth when he finally had to pit on lap 95 for fuel only just as the race restarted, and he ended up 16th at the checkered four laps later.
Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz ended up winning the race, which supported Sunday's Indy Racing League IndyCar headliner. It will be broadcast on SPEED at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, Aug. 27.
The next Rolex Series race is coming right up next weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, near Salt Lake City.
For more information see doranracing.com and grandamerican.com.
Driver quotes follow:
Harrison Brix: "I had a close call when the No. 8 spun in front of me. Then the No. 39 nearly ran me into the grass once.
"The track was incredibly slippery.
"The car performed pretty well. Michel did an awesome job and the crew did an awesome job. The pit stops were incredible. It's not often that you pit and gain three or four spots. They made my life a lot easier today."
Michel Jourdain Jr.: "I was next to him [Andrew Davis] for a long time; he had to see me. I don't understand why he just turned into me like I wasn't there. We hit pretty hard in my left rear. I don't think that it hurt our wheel though.
"I didn't have any other contact. We took a conservative approach the whole race. We needed to finish this race and get as many points as possible for Kevin. We almost had a top-10."
-credit: doran racing