Wright Motorsports leads at Indy; team challenges for victory throughout the Brickyard Grand Prix Rolex series race
INDIANAPOLIS, July 29 — The Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports UIS Porsche and drivers Madison Snow and Andrew Davis were serious contenders throughout the Brickyard Grand Prix Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With just 34 minutes remaining in the 3-hour race the No. 62 had a whopping 47.560-second lead over its closest rival. John Wright's car continued to lead until just 16 minutes remained in the race, but the Batavia, Ohio-based team ended up seventh in the final rundown for the GT division due to a broken transmission mount. The impressive showing still proved to one and all that even though the team is only running three Rolex Series races this year, it's one of the best teams in the series and it prepares one of the top Porsches in the country.
Snow was able to stay out when another full-course yellow waved after contact between a BMW and an Audi left the BMW stranded in Turn 8 on lap 42. Other competitors' ensuing pit stops vaulted him back into third place before the restart on lap 47. Snow passed Ken Wilden's Ferrari shortly thereafter to advance to second place, trailing only the current point leader, Andy Lally, who was in another Porsche.
Snow then held off some of the best in the business, including his driver coach, Patrick Long, and Max Papis, one of the drivers of the Ferrari that ended up winning the race. He posted a lap in 1:29.512 (101.91 miles per hour) on lap 48 that stood as the entry's fastest race lap until Davis surpassed that with a 1:29.470 (101.960 mph) on lap 70.
Snow drove like a veteran throughout his stint, showing the same impressive form that he is displaying in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge series where he is tied for the current point lead driving another Wright Motorsports-prepared Porsche.
He stayed in second place for 10 laps, and he was still in that position when he pitted on lap 57 under the fourth and final full-course yellow that was necessary when the pole-winning Corvette was assisted into a gravel trap off Turn 2. Davis took over at that point for the last hour and 12 minutes of the race, and there were no other full-course cautions.
Davis, of Bogart, Ga., started his stint in eighth place after the pit stop. He passed Al Carter's Audi on lap 68 with 51 minutes remaining in the race to move into seventh, and he got sixth on lap 70 when Lally pitted. A slew of pit stops by others followed, but since the No. 62 was on a different pit strategy Davis was able to move back up to third by lap 72, behind only Anthony Lazzaro and Jeff Segal.
It got even better, however. Davis took the lead on lap 77, becoming the eighth leader of the GT class. On the following lap he had a whopping 47.560-second lead over the second-place Ferrari of Segal with only 34 minutes remaining in the race.
He led for 14 laps, although his big lead was steadily decreasing as he tried to save fuel and the problem with the transmission mount was developing. Segal took the lead from Davis working lap 91 with just 16 minutes remaining, and John Edwards pushed him to third with just 15 minutes to go. With no other full-course cautions to help him save fuel Davis was forced to pit on lap 92 just 14 minutes before the checkered waved. He dropped to eighth place after the quick stop, but he got seventh shortly thereafter after another rival had to pit too and that's where he finished.
"The race started off great; I felt like we were really fast and moving up the grid," Snow said. "I stayed in the car for quite a while. When the first set of drivers got out of the car I stayed in, and then the pros got in the car. My dad was telling me on the radio that I was faster than Pat Long and that I was also catching Andy Lally. That was making me really happy. I ended up catching Andy Lally and stayed right behind him for a couple of laps until we pitted and then Andrew Davis got in.
"I felt as though the race was going great until we heard from Andrew that the car would not shift," Snow continued. "That got us really worried and we were all getting nervous in the pits until it got worse and worse. Even though that problem brought us down on position, I still felt like it was our best performance yet, other than the shifting issue."
"Although the end result didn't match the effort put forth by the Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports crew, we can really take a lot of positives away from the event," Davis said afterwards. "The No. 62 UIS Porsche was one of the quickest cars out there, and we had a chance at a great result had the transmission held together. I was very proud to be able to lead some laps during my stint, and showcase what the team is truly capable of achieving. In addition, Madison really impressed the racing community with a stellar run during the first half of the race. I've said since our first race together earlier this season that I feel he has what it takes to be successful. Now, after running down some of the best in the business, there is no question about his talent behind the wheel.
"It has been a real pleasure driving for Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports, and I really want to thank the Snow family, John Wright, and everyone else involved for this tremendous opportunity," Davis added.
The Ferrari of Segal and Papis won the race while the second-place Camaro of Robin Liddell and John Edwards took the GT team title in the three-race North American Endurance Championship. Wright Motorsports' DNF at Watkins Glen, N.Y. due to an engine problem took it out of contention for that title, but it still tied for eighth place out of 27 teams in those standings.