Starworks Motorsport is celebrating a second place podium finish in The Grand-AM of The Americas, Circuit of The Americas, Texas tonight. Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow fought an epic battle in the DP class from qualifying in P7 in the #2 Generation 3 Daytona Prototype Ford Riley.
With front end damage to the car and just over two hours of the race remaining Ryan Dalziel took to the track and was up to P10 by lap 24. Always within a hairs breadth and under 0.5 seconds to the car in front, Dalziel battled his way up to P2 on lap 49.
With Brendon Hartley in the team’s #8 hot on his tail Dalziel pushed #2 from P6 after his final stop to climb all over the back of Scott Pruett’s Chip Ganassi car on the very last lap of the race! After 2 hour, 45 minutes and 71 gruelling laps, Dalziel made a bold and decisive move on Pruett to take the chequered flag in a well earned second position.
In a combination of bold and decisive overtaking moves from Hartley, coupled with yellow flags and laps which were sometimes three seconds faster than the leaders, Hartley rose from P28 to not only fight for a podium position, but possibly the win in only his second Rolex Series race.
However, a coming together with a GT car in the closing minutes meant that #8 was out of the race with suspension damage.
Peter Baron, Team Owner: “It is always good to leave a race with a podium. Both cars are looking good for the championship and we have our confidence back now. Unfortunately Brendon had a learning experience today and if it wasn’t for a knock with a GT we could have had two podiums.
But what we do have is another second place trophy, good championship points, two great cars with better downforce than we were allowed last year and so we are much more optimistic as we head for Barber.
The whole Starworks Motorsport team did a great job all weekend; we showed great pace straight out of the trailer and Team Popow delivered for us once again.”
Ryan Dalziel, car #2: “It was an amazing race - I hope that everyone enjoyed it! It was hard; we knew where our strengths and weaknesses were going to be heading in to the weekend and went down our own path in terms of strategy.
We struggled a bit with straight line speed and with one more lap maybe we could have got the win. But we go away with good points and have risen up to second or third in the Series. Overall it’s a great result for the #2 car, Team Popow and everyone at Starworks.”
Alex Popow, car #2: “We had a great start to the race until I was knocked in to a spin and we incurred damage to the front left of the car. We then had a front tow problem and it made the car very hard to drive.
I do not know how Ryan got the car to run that fast! We didn’t think that we would be able to find that speed with the damage #2 had and it’s a shame we had to come in for the extra stop, but the team did an excellent job and of course we are aiming for more points in the coming rounds.”
Scott Mayer, car #8: “It has been a rough weekend for the guys working on #8. Brendon did a truly awesome job and to have #2 do such a great finish was both fantastic for the whole team, but also painful as we could have had the win and two cars on the podium. But that’s motorsport and there are better days to come.”
Brendon Hartley, car #8: “We had a great start to the weekend; the car felt really great straight out the box. It's a huge credit to Peter and the whole Starworks Motorsport team to have had such a well prepared car.
We were fast during the race today and after driving so hard and moving up the field all the way to P1, I am obviously really disappointed that #8 did not finish the race.
It’s a tough lesson to learn, but I am loving DP racing and have got to look forward to the coming rounds in the series now.”
The next round is of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama, April 3-6, 2013.