DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley) take an 11-point lead (102-91) in the Daytona Prototype standings into Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway on...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley) take an 11-point lead (102-91) in the Daytona Prototype standings into Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday.
Pruett and Rojas have a two-race winning streak going into VIR, where won with Rojas in 2008 and also triumphed with Luis Diaz in 2005.
With perennial contenders GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and SunTrust Racing failing to finish at Barber, the dynamic of the Daytona Prototype championship has changed entering the Bosch Engineering 250.
Ryan Dalziel (No. 8 Starworks Motorsports BMW Riley) is second in the standings to Pruett and Rojas, and is coming off a third-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park with co-driver Mike Forest. Dalziel won the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Action Express Racing in a Porsche Riley.
Third in the standings with 81 points are Ozz Negri and John Pew, (No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford Riley), who were second at Barber, followed closely by Darren Law and David Donohue (No. 59 Brumos.com Porsche Riley), 78 points; Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins (No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley), 77; and Forest, 75.
The winner of the last two Daytona Prototype races at VIR and three total have gone on to win the series championship.
Segal, Assentato Look For Third Straight In Rolex Series GT
SpeedSource drivers Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato (No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8) won the Rolex Series GT class in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, giving them two consecutive victories and four in seven races dating back to 2009.
The two drivers opened the year with a 16th-place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona - a race won by teammates Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito (No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8).
As a result of their winning streak, Segal and Assentato are third in the standings, seven points behind class leaders Bomarito and Tremblay, who have 93 points, and two behind Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis (No. 57 BryanMark/Vin Solutions Chevrolet Camaro), who have 88 points.
Davis and Liddell, one of several drivers commuting from Europe for Saturday's race, are seeking their third consecutive VIR GT victory this weekend. The pair won the last two years in the No. 57 Pontiac GXP.R. The team switched to Camaros in 2010, adding a second car. That car will be driven by Gunter Schaldach and Randy Pobst (No. 97 Stevenson Auto Group/Lala Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro), who will substitute for Jan Magnussen (schedule conflict).
Pruett, Rojas Following Road That Lead To 2008 Title
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley) have established themselves as the drivers to beat one-quarter of the way through the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.
After three events, the Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates drivers have opened an 11-point lead in the Daytona Prototype points standings. They opened the year with a second-place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, followed by victories at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park.
The situation mirrors the team's championship season in 2008, when Pruett and Rojas won the opening two races at Daytona and Homestead-Miami, followed by a second at Mexico City. They continued that momentum by winning four of the next six races to cruise to the championship despite ending the year with back-to-back ninth place finishes.
When the Rolex Series continues with the Bosch Engineering 250, Pruett and Rojas are looking to become the first drivers to win three consecutive races since Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in 2007. A 12th victory would tie Pruett and Rojas with Gurney and Fogarty as the most prolific driving duo in series history. Pruett also looks to break a tie with Terry Borcheller to become the all-time leader in Rolex Series class victories. All but one of Pruett's 25 Rolex Series victories have been in a Daytona Prototype.
Paul Reed Smith To Award Two Guitars At VIR
When the race is over at VIR, the overall winner of the Bosch Engineering 250 will walk away with a traditional loving cup trophy, and a little something extra.
PRS Guitars has partnered with GRAND-AM racing for the 2010 season by creating a trophy guitar for 11 races. Each guitar is decorated with the official GRAND-AM logo and inscribed with the race's date and location. The Daytona Prototype winner will receive the GRAND-AM guitar.
To reward GT competitors, MRN Radio agreed to call a "MRN Podium Move of the Race" winner at three events this season, including VIR. Lead announcers Eli Gold and Preston Root will determine which GT team made the most critical move to land them on the podium.
PRS has also partnered with Mazda, Chip Foose, Dempsey Racing and Pirelli for this year's "Watch and Win Sweepstakes," giving fans the opportunity to win the Chip Foose designed Dempsey Racing edition 2010 RX8r3 and a custom-designed PRS SE Singlecut guitar.
Iceland Volcano 'Pain In The Ash'
For some drivers, racing in Saturday's Bosch Engineering 250 is only half the battle. The other half is just getting to the U.S.
At least six drivers have either scrambled to find a way or faced some degree of difficulty making it to the U.S. from Europe, their home base, due to the recent activity coming from the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland.
Those drivers are Max Angelelli (No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara), Antonio Garcia (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote), Joao Barbosa (No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley), Kasper Andersen (No. 7 Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley), Robin Liddell (No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Vin Solutions Chevrolet Camaro) and Adam Christodoulou (No. 68 Mazda Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8).
Lally Set For 100th Start; Russell Feeling At Home In GT
Andy Lally (No. 66 AXA Porsche GT3) will be making his 100th start in the Rolex Series this weekend when he joins Ted Ballou at TRG.
Lally made his Rolex Series debut at Elkhart Lake, Wis., in July 2000. He has 20 victories and won championships in three Rolex Series classes - GT (2006), SGS (2004) and SRPII (2001).
Motorcycle legend Scott Russell (No. 07 Airjax.com/Mobil1 Corvette) is starting to feel at home in the Rolex Series GT division. He qualified fourth and led four laps in the recent Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, sharing the Corvette with Paul Edwards.
'It's a great series and a great team," said Russell, a World Superbike Champion and five-time winner of the Daytona 200. "I like learning here, and I'm learning every day."
Regarding his two-wheel success in the past, Russell said he checked his ego at the door when he joined GRAND-AM. He has no problem being regarded as a Pro-Am driver.
"I'm not really sure what I like in the car yet, so I try to be like a chameleon and do what Paul does," Russell said.
Veteran Randy Pobst (No. 97 Stevenson Automotive Group/Lala Motorsports Chevrlet Camaro) will make his return to the Rolex Series at VIR, co-driving with Gunter Schaldach. He fills in for Jan Magnussen, who will miss three races this season due to schedule conflicts.
Pobst is a nine-time class winner in Rolex Series competition, winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2001 and 2006. He won the 2004 SGS race at VIR.
This is the 10th visit to Virginia International Raceway for the Rolex Series, which began coming to VIR in 2002.
The qualifying records for Daytona Prototype (Memo Rojas, 1:41.646/115.814 mph) and GT (Nick Ham, 1:51.742) were set in 2009.
In seven previous Daytona Prototype races at VIR, only SunTrust Racing and TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing (teams) and Max Angelelli and Scott Pruett have won multiple races.
Synergy Racing will return to the Rolex Series in the Bosch Engineering 250. David Murry will be lead driver of the No. 81 Porsche GT3. The car will be painted in the colors of J. Sargeant Reynolds College, using the association to raise funds for the college's science lab renovations project. Synergy Racing - then known as G&W Motorsports, began GRAND-AM competition in 2000, winning championship in GTU (2000), GTS (2001), GT (2001) and SRP II (2003), and helped launch the career of current Daytona Prototype driver Darren Law.
At least eight Mazda RX-8s are expected for the Bosch Engineering 250 - doubling last year's entry. SpeedSource will have at least three cars, Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen will each have two and Racers Edge Motorsports will have one.
There have been several modifications to cars competing in the series since the third round of the season at Barber Motorsports Park. There have been weight changes to the Mazda RX-8, Prep II Corvette and Porsche GT3s, while the Porsche GT3s can now utilize 3.8-liter engines.
Bennett Racing will make its Rolex Series debut this weekend. Car owner Skip Bennett will join Mike Skeen (No. 56 South River Marina & Mercruiser Ferrari 430) at the wheel for the Annapolis, Md., based team. The pair-both of whom have plenty of club racing experience at VIR- also hope to run races at Watkins Glen, Daytona and New Jersey in preparation for the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Up Next: Lime Rock Park
For the first time ever, the Daytona Prototype class will compete at the historic Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
Daytona Prototypes will join the GT category on Monday, May 31, at the 1.51-mile, seven-turn track. Next Tuesday, April 27, however, cars from both classes will test at Lime Rock on two different configurations.
In fact, in attempt to bring awareness to the series, three cars and drivers will visit New York City's Grand Central Terminal. The No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford Riley, No. 66 AXA Porsche GT3 and No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, driven by FXDD Chairman of the Board Emil Assentato, and other team and series officials will be at Grand Central throughout the day, including morning rush hour.