As Action Express Racing traveled to VIR for Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series season, they went in hopes of seeing an end to the streak of bad luck that has followed them since their Rolex 24 victory. Handling problems that had affected the ...
As Action Express Racing traveled to VIR for Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series season, they went in hopes of seeing an end to the streak of bad luck that has followed them since their Rolex 24 victory. Handling problems that had affected the #9 during practice were still evident during the race, but the drivers persevered and had made steady progress. Action Express was well on the way to a solid top ten finish when a late race restart changed the outcome dramatically. Damage sustained in that restart took the #9 out of the race, and the resulting 12th place finish proved a disappointing end for the Action Express crew and drivers
Adjustments were made throughout the pre-race practice sessions in an effort to find an optimal setup for the #9 on the VIR track. Terry Borcheller qualified the Porsche V-8 Riley and started the race from 9th position. Borcheller, the 2003 VIR Rolex Series winner, quickly settled in to a consistent pace and fought hard to move up through heavy traffic. The absence of any full course cautions early in the race afforded little opportunity to make significant gains, so the team elected to change drivers during the initial mandatory pit stop which took place under green. Having Joao Barbosa already in the car would result in a faster pit exit should the yellow flag come out later in the race, allowing Action Express a better opportunity to gain valuable track position.
When the first full course caution occurred, it seemed as though that strategy had paid off, but problems with the restart changed everything when several cars collided. Hit from behind, Barbosa was forced into the rear of the #90 Spirit of Daytona entry, resulting in a broken radiator for the #9. That damage proved fatal as subsequent overheating forced Action Express to retire from the race.
Joao Barbosa was understandably disappointed in the day's result, saying, "Since our Rolex 24 win, we are having a tough time and just cannot seem to get a break. We may not have had the fastest car out there this weekend but we could have had a decent finish. I got caught on the restart when we all took off. Someone in the front brake checked and suddenly everyone was braking and there was big confusion. I couldn't avoid hitting the #90 car in front of me as I was hit from behind. The hit caused a broken radiator and we were not able to finish the race. It was really a shame for us and for the other teams that also had damage. Action Express deserved a better finish for all the hard work the team put into the effort."
The day's results dropped Action Express back to 8th place in the Team Points standings, but with only eight points separating them from 3rd place they are still contenders for a strong season finish. The team was hard at work after the race preparing the #9 for a day of testing at Lime Rock. That test session will mark the team's first time on that historic track. The Rolex Series DPs will travel back to Lime Rock for a Memorial Day race on May 31st with the green flag set to drop at 2:00 PM ET.