Wallace, Duno win wild Homestead

Wallace, Duno win wild Homestead

In Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the genteel world of endurance sports car racing met the rough-hewn world of American short-track racing, and the result was nothing short of ...

In Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the genteel world of endurance sports car racing met the rough-hewn world of American short-track racing, and the result was nothing short of calamitous.

Tough battle between Max Papis and Jan Magnussen.
Photo by Grand American Road Racing Association.
With five laps remaining in the 109-lap race, Jan Magnussen, driving the Doran Racing Lexus Doran, was doing everything in his power to wrestle the lead from Max Papis. He tried passing Papis's Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on the inside and the outside, under braking and on the straight-aways. Yet Papis, with the cunning of a seasoned veteran, parried each of Magnussen's carefully measured thrusts with carefully measured counter moves of his own.

Nevertheless, Magnussen kept trying and finally managed to pull even with the Italian on lap 101, as the two careened toward the newly configured Homestead high banks, hovering over NASCAR turn three. However, Papis once again refused to yield the racing line, preferring instead to partake in a high-speed game of chicken with Magnussen at speeds exceeding 170 mph.

As the two hurtled down the front stretch side-by-side, never separated by more than an inch, they touched once, then twice, then three times, with no apparent regard for the possible consequences. It was only a matter of time before they both wrecked.

Finally, Magnussen's Doran blew a tire and slammed violently into the right rear of Papis's Riley, sending both drivers spinning on to the grass at the entrance to turn one.

"I can't believe that Max Papis took me out," said Magnussen. "He hit me on the front stretch so hard that it broke the suspension. I spun around and just stopped on the grass. I couldn't get going again. I don't know if a tire was flat or not."

"He hit me maybe six or seven times, but I didn't once turn the steering wheel in on him."

"I passed him briefly on the restart and we had contact; maybe that is why he got emotional and hit me so many times when I got beside him again. But there is no excuse for hitting me like he did."

Papis, who shared the driving duties with Scott Pruett, had a different view. "I came into this race know that we would have to race really hard and there would be some good wheel-to-wheel action, but this was a little over the top. I'm not sure what was going on with the No. 27 car, but he hit me hard three or four times, and my car bares some pretty nasty marks to prove it. It's unfortunately for the team because the result is not indicative of how good our car was today."

With Papis and Magnussen eliminated from contention, the lead and the win fell to Andy Wallace, whose co-driver, Milka Duno, had lost a lap to the leaders early in the race.

Daytona Prototype podium: winners Andy Wallace and Milka Duno.
Photo by Grand American Road Racing Association.
"I was sitting behind and willing it to happen," Wallace said. "The Rolex Series is very competitive and the cars are extremely close. It's a real struggle to pass. So when you get two or three cars toward the end of the race together. There's going to be a little bit of bumping. And that was just a racing incident.

"I was a little slower than they were. But I thought that if I stayed really, really close, they might just bounce off each other and open the door so that I could get through. And when I saw them going down the back straight and the front straight, I thought this is a great place to be."

The winning Pontiac Crawford finished 1.9 seconds ahead of the G&W Motorsports BMW Doran of Cort Wagner, Brent Martini and Kelly Collins. Oswaldo Negri and Burt Frissell came home third in their Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran.

Papis ended up seventh, and Magnussen finished 19th.

In taking the win, Duno became the first female to win a Rolex Sports Car Series event. It was also the first win for the new Crawford chassis, which came within minutes of winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Tom Milner's Team PTG BMW M3s swept the top two spots in the GT class, with Boris Said and Bill Auberlen finishing one lap ahead of their teammates, Justin Marks and Joey Hand. The No. 67 Racer's Group Porsche of Kevin Buckler and Liz Halliday finished third in class.

"We came here, we led every practice, we qualified good and we won the race," Said stated.

The No. 16 AASCO Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup of David Murry and Craig Stanton won the SGS class despite having to start shotgun on the field due to a rear wing infraction discovered during post-qualifying inspection. It took Murry, the original class pole sitter, a mere nine laps to take the class lead. TPC Racing Porsches finished second and third.

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