Watkins Glen II: Essex Racing/Finlay race report

FINLAY AND VALIANTE PULL OFF TOP-5 FINISH AT THE GLEN WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 11, 2006) With three races remaining in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, Rob Finlay and Michael McDowell would like ...

FINLAY AND VALIANTE PULL OFF TOP-5 FINISH AT THE GLEN

WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 11, 2006) With three races remaining in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, Rob Finlay and Michael McDowell would like nothing more then to finish in the top-10 in the team point standings. With that goal in mind, Rob Finlay qualified the No. 5 Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs Daytona Prototype on row eight for tonight's running of the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen.

Finlay climbed behind the wheel, started up his Ford-powered machine and rolled off the starting grid in anticipation of a green flag start. When the green flag flew Finlay held his position on track and was running competitive lap times at the drop of the first yellow flag. The Finlay Motorsports team's strategy was for an early pit stop for fuel and driver change. Finlay climbed out of the car and his teammate Michael Valiante slid behind the wheel.

Valiante entered the race towards the back of the field because of the yellow flag pit stop and set out on a mission to get back to the front of the pack. The aggressive Canadian picked up several laps on his first green flag lap and quickly moved the car into the top- twelve. As the race continued, Valiante was able to avoid two near mishaps with the 89 car driven by Ryan Dalziel. The first one in the pit lane and the second incident occurred several laps later when the over anxious Dalziel punted Valiante off the track forcing him to lose a few positions. The incident was quickly recognized by Grand American officials and the 89 car was penalized with a stop and go.

With 15-laps remaining in the scheduled 82-lap contest Valiante continued to drive in the sixth position running lap times consistent with the leaders of the race. An unexpected caution with only three laps remaining left everyone wondering if the track would go green again. With one lap remaining Grand Am was able to get the race restarted and Valiante jumped into the fifth position, scoring the team's eighth top-10 finish of the season.

Race Quotes:

Rob Finlay

"Well we were able to pick up another top-5 finish so we're pretty happy with that. The car felt good during my stint and I was able to turn over the Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs machine over to my teammate in a good position."

Michael Valiante

"I'm glad we were able to pull off a top-5 finish for our sponsors tonight. It was an interesting race and I'm just glad we were able to battle back from my earlier incident with Dalziel."

-credit: FinlayMotorsports.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Michael Valiante , Michael McDowell , Rob Finlay