Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Go West To Infineon; GAINSCO Pontiac second in DP Detroit, Mich., August 19, 2008 -- Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) teams are on their way to Sonoma's wine country for round 12 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series ...
Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Go West To Infineon; GAINSCO Pontiac second in DP
Detroit, Mich., August 19, 2008 -- Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) teams are on their way to Sonoma's wine country for round 12 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 to be run at Infineon Raceway on August 23.
Pontiac took over the manufacturer lead after the last race at Watkins Glen. Pontiac leads the manufacturer chase by four points.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings racing drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney are still in the DP championship chase. The duo are back in the points by 49 with just three events remaining. The team realizes that they must win the last three races to have a chance at repeating their 2007 series championship.
"Infineon is a great track," Fogarty said. "It has so many linked corners that require a lot of thought to get right. You need to be aggressive, but it is not always where you think. Technical is the best description, but it offers just about everything to challenge the driver and engineer. I feel fortunate to have run a lot of laps there, it was the first track I ever drove on so I thought they were all as difficult. Now I am glad I do not have to learn it while in the middle of a championship. It should be a great track for us as it is mostly a handling circuit- but that hasn't always meant good results, so I am going to say it should be difficult just like Daytona and Watkins. All kidding aside we have been strong here in our previous two visits and I think this year should be no different. I really would like to get the pole, it has been a long time and my opportunities are starting to run out. It has been up-and-down and the only consistent thing has been the inconsistency in our finishing positions. We just need to relax and do our thing and finish the year with some solid results and remind ourselves that we know how to win championships."
The Riley-Matthews team of Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews had a short race at Watkins Glen, only making it to the track-out of turn one on the first lap, before being involved in a crash which ended their weekend. Goossens and Matthews finished sixth last year at Infineon and will be looking to return to their early season form that had them post a win at Mexico City along with two podium finishes.
"I really like the track because of the elevation changes and therefore the difference to other tracks in the way the corners are laid out," Goossens said. "There is a high speed part to the track and on the other side the slower turns makeit a challenge to either attack the corners and braking zones or to finesse and be really clean in other cornersin order to be fast. Again here it's the compromise in setup for the different type of corners. We were not very lucky in the race last year, but we were definitely able to show the speed of our car. Hopefully things come our way again and we are aiming for a good result in California."
The SunTrust Pontiac team has finished fourth in each of the last two races at Infineon. Max Angelelli is using some reverse psychology in his thought process to help boost teammate Michael Valiante, the team and their new Dallara to a season's first win.
"I have a very interesting reason for thinking that we will have a very good weekend in Sonoma," Angelelli said. "Infineon is a race track that never brought to us a good result, so far. Now, I have looked back at all the race tracks we have gone to this season where we always seemed to have good results in the past, and where we expected to have good results this year because of that, and we have come away disappointed. So, if Sonoma has not brought us good results, and if we go there thinking it will be very difficult again for us this weekend, then I think this time we will have a good result. That makes sense, doesn't it? Seriously, we are still working hard and fighting our way through various things that need to be worked out with our new car. It's been hard and it's been a difficult season, as everybody knows. A lot of times, it seems we are still fighting an uphill battle. But I know I have to be positive. I am positive. It's just that we keep saying 'you'll see, you'll see, you'll see.' Hopefully, this weekend we can have that great result where we can finally say, 'you see?"
Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson have been knocking on the door of a win all season. Infineon marks the track that the two drivers partnered for the first time last year. The new Lola, with its high downforce design, should be suited to the layout of the Infineon track. The two have managed to lead 76 laps in their new Lola so far this season which has resulted in two podium positions. .
"Yes, it will be nice returning to a track Nic and I have driven together again," Zonta said. "It makes it a lot easier for us -- both in setting up the car and for the race. I know and am a little better prepared for what happens in the race at this circuit. We should be able to use this as an advantage.I only have one thought -- it is winning!"
Tracy and Krohn and Eric van de Poele are ready to take on the rolling terrain of Infineon. Krohn has a lot of confidence in his new Lolas and is looking forward to proving their competitiveness this weekend.
"Infineon, as a driver, is always so fun because of the elevation changes," Krohn said. "You have to put the car the proper apex to exit at several blind corners. Infineon, as a spectator, is one of those rare road courses where, at certain vantage points, you can see most of the track.
Our goal is to show the rest of the paddock what the Proto-Auto DP Lolas are capable of doing. We are committed to excellence and feel that the car we deliver will be at the top of the podium for a long time to come. We want to deliver the message that when we begin selling these cars to other teams, it will be a very positive situation in that we will have an "open paddock" regarding parts and developmental pieces we discover for the car. We want the cars to be equal and may the best drivers and teams win through their efforts and hard work!"
Cheever Racing will introduce some new suspension components on their No. 16 Coyote Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac this weekend. Christian Fittipaldi and Antonio Garcia have posted a second place finish at Montreal and came sixth at Watkins Glen two weeks ago.
"We have new suspension bits for Infineon," Fittipaldi said. "I'm excited especially because the car ran very good last year. Hopefully we can get more mechanical grip out of the car. If possible, then we should be able to reduce downforce making it quicker on the straights."
-credit: gm racing