Two Corvette DP from Action Express Racing finished 9th and 11th at Barber

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Action Express Racing will travel to Road Atlanta in two weeks for Round 4 of the Rolex Series championship.

Birmingham, Ala. – Action Express Racing enjoyed an encouraging start to the shortest race of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season as both team Corvette DP machines ran well, with one racing into the lead of the race.

But the team didn’t achieve the goals they had been working for after a long green flag run saw a fuel strategy not pay dividends in Saturday’s Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.

#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Christian Fittipaldi, Brian Frisselle
#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Christian Fittipaldi, Brian Frisselle

Photo by: Grand-Am

The tight, 2.3-mile circuit set in an idyllic background has traditionally featured some rough and tumble racing and the multiple caution periods that accompany it. But on Saturday, there was but one yellow flag period during the two-hour sprint race.

The team finished the Porsche 250 ninth with the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Burt Frisselle and Joao Barbosa, and the sister No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP driven by Brian Frisselle and Christian Fittipaldi coming home in 11th.

Burt Frisselle opened the race from fifth on the grid, and moved up to run second in the order as some teams elected to pit during the yellow flag. After a lap 18 restart, Frisselle gave chase for the lead, securing the top spot on lap 38 and holding the point until pitting on lap 40 to turn the car over to Barbosa.

Returning to the track in 11th, Barbosa moved up to run as high as fourth before the long green flag run necessitated a lap 82 stop for a splash of fuel in the 84-lap race.

“We were encouraged that we passed under green for the lead, and it felt like things were going to go our direction, then about 45 minutes into the race, everything started working against us,” said team manager Gary Nelson.

“It became obvious to us that our plan would require a second caution for it all to match back up with us and the rest of the pack. History tells us that there’s always a couple cautions here, usually.

There was only the one early, and that was it. So we’d have been in great shape but it just didn’t come to us today. But it was a good team effort and we will be looking forward to the next race at Road Atlanta.”

“The ninth place result is disappointing,” said Burt Frisselle, who also led the race for the team at Daytona International Speedway earlier this year. “We fought hard, but our strategy just didn’t work today.

The whole team worked their butts off, we had a good weekend, we qualified in the top-five and led the race for a bit, but the strategy just didn’t go our way. We just ended up one lap short basically. Luckily, we get another shot at this in two weeks.”

“It’s very disappointing,” added Barbosa, who won the 2003 GRAND-AM race at the track. “The car was running great, unfortunately on strategy we came a little short. There was no yellow. We were counting on that a little bit, but it didn’t work out.

We had to pit a lap to the end to make sure we could finish. The car was running well, I was trying to save fuel during all my stints and was still able to do some quick laptimes. But it was a very disappointing result for everybody.”

Starting from seventh on the grid, Brian Frisselle moved up to fourth at the yellow flag and raced to hold that spot until pitting on lap 27 and turning the car over to Fittipaldi.

Fittipaldi made some forward progress to run third by lap 53, with a lap 54 pit stop resetting the track position challenge as the Corvette DP fell to 11th with the stop.

“We just opted for a different strategy, and that hindered us,” said Fittipaldi. “We took two stops under green but all the top four or five cars did under yellow, one under green and that gave them a big advantage, but that’s racing. Turn the page, and let’s go on to the next one.

“We called a different strategy, and it just didn’t work out,” offered Brian Frisselle. “The guys nailed it last race, but this weekend we didn’t quite nail it.

We know that we have a good team and this is a long season and we are still early yet. It’s unfortunate, but you know this is a strong team and we’ll go back and look at what happened and just work to come back even stronger.”

Action Express Racing will travel to Road Atlanta in two weeks for Round 4 of the Rolex Series championship.

Action Express Racing

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About this article
Series GRANDAM
Article type Race reports
Tags barber, barbosa, corvette, fittipaldi, frisselle, grandam