Tough day at the races for Action Express Racing at Laguna Seca

A tough outing at the challenging 2.238-mile California circuit didn’t see the team meet the goals they had set for the weekend and will look for a strong showing in the season-finale event at Lime Rock Park in three weeks.

Monterey, Calif. (8 September 2013) – Entering Round 11 of the 12-race GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship, Action Express Racing had been targeting two positive performances as the team sat second in the championship – just 16 points out of the lead. But a tough outing at the challenging 2.238-mile California circuit didn’t see the team meet the goals they had set for the weekend and will look for a strong showing in the season-finale event at Lime Rock Park in three weeks.

The scenic 11-turn California circuit is a driver favorite and featured a field of 16 Daytona Prototypes which marked one of the largest entry lists this season. The team sported a new look on the No. 9 Corvette DP of Burt and Brian Frisselle as the organization welcomed new partner TOTAL Specialties USA to the Corvette machine.

Christian Fittipaldi started the 2.75-hour Continental Tire Sports Car Festival event from fifth on the grid in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and made his way into fourth prior to the team’s first pit stop under the race’s first full course caution.

#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa
#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa

Photo by: Grand-Am

A great team pit stop saw Joao Barbosa take over the controls of the No. 5 and return to the track second in line. He would run in the second position until taking over the lead on Lap 56. After pacing the field for four laps, Action Express Racing brought the No. 5 to pit lane under green flag conditions for its second stop, but a rare miscue upon entry to the pit box saw the Corvette DP make contact with the pit wall. The team quickly delivered routine pit service after repositioning the car, but valuable time was lost and the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP fell to 12th in the order.

Barbosa returned to the track and in a rapid race that saw just three short cautions, moved his way back up to seventh at the finish.

“I’m disappointed in myself, I made a silly mistake coming into the pits and it lost us a lot of track position,” said Barbosa. “When it’s so competitive and tight, the pace between all the cars is very hard to make up. The No. 6 car was slowing me down a little bit so I couldn’t go by him to make my life easier. I’m just frustrated about the mistake that probably cost us a podium position. It was going to be tough but I feel like a better result than seventh was very reachable today.”

The No. 9 TOTAL Specialties Corvette DP faced a difficult race after a promising start which saw Burt Frisselle open the race from ninth on the grid. Yet another impressive pit stop of tires, fuel and a driver change under caution on Lap 22, saw the No. 9 leapfrog up the order to run fourth with Brian Frisselle at the controls.

Though Brian began clicking off consistent lap times throughout the beginning of his stint, the team faced an uphill battle after the No. 9 TOTAL Specialties USA was spun and knocked off course by the No. 2 Daytona Prototype and dropped to 14th in class. Despite a valiant effort to fight back through the field, the damage had been done with the exhaust having been crushed. After about an hour and a half of running, Brian brought the Corvette into the pits with just minutes remaining in the race and Burt strapped back in to take the car to an 11th place finish at the checkered flag after Brian suffered from the exhaust fumes in the car after the exhaust had been broken by the contact.

“We had some laps that we led with the No. 5, and we had the No. 9 I think in a top-five position and it kind of went south for us today,” offered team manager Gary Nelson. “The No. 9 got spun out and the No. 5 had a miscue in the pits. And we’ll have to race again at Lime Rock and try to do better. We qualified in the top-five this weekend and we moved forward in the race. All summer we’ve been able to perform on the track when the race gets going and so we’ll just put it all together at Lime Rock and we’ll be fine.”

Action Express Racing will next travel to Lime Rock Park in three weeks for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season-finale September 28-29.

Action Express Racing

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About this article
Series GRANDAM
Article type Race reports
Tags action express racing, burt frisselle, christian fittipaldi, laguna seca, monterey