KASEMETS STEPS INTO A DIFFERENT RACE CAR THIS WEEKEND FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING EAST LANSING, Michigan (August 7, 2006) -- Tonis Kasemets may have only signed a six-race Champ Car deal with the Rocketsports Racing team, but his talent has taken...
KASEMETS STEPS INTO A DIFFERENT RACE CAR THIS WEEKEND FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING
EAST LANSING, Michigan (August 7, 2006) -- Tonis Kasemets may have only signed a six-race Champ Car deal with the Rocketsports Racing team, but his talent has taken him to another level with the team as he will join Tomy Drissi behind the wheel of the #50 Rocketsports Ford-Crawford Daytona Prototype to race in the upcoming Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event at Watkins Glen, August 10-11.
Team Owner Paul Gentilozzi, who usually pairs up with Drissi, is unable to participate in this weekend's Grand Am event due to obligations that require him to be in Denver, where his Champ Car team will be racing on the same weekend. It seemed to be a perfect fit to put Kasemets' behind the wheel of the #50 Rocketsports Grand Am car in his absence because of his previous racing experience in Sports Car Club Racing and current driver status with the team.
"I think that Tonis is going to do well for the team this weekend as a substitute," said Gentilozzi. "I know that Tonis will be a great pairing with Tomy Drissi, and have the confidence in this duo to continue to bring the car up to speed and be competitive. I received a positive reaction from the team after the recent Grand Am test at GingerMan Raceway concerning Tonis' ability to give helpful feedback, so I know this is a good choice and an excellent opportunity for Tonis to get 'track time' when he is not racing a Champ Car."
The Rocketsports Grand Am entry is a new addition to the team this year as they are only competing in a handful of races this season. This weekend's entry marks the sixth event the team will be making an appearance at in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. After a two-day test last week, the team is ready to go racing again as they continue to familiarize themselves with the series and the car.
"It was nice to have time to test the Daytona Prototype car with the schedule that we have this year," said Rocketsports co-driver Drissi. "We ran two days without any problems, so it was a successful trip. We made changes with the car setup to adapt to my driving style, so I feel more comfortable and confident behind the wheel heading into this event. Tonis did a good job; he offered a lot of good feedback and helped us out a lot in terms of continuing to learn this new racecar that we are running. It is always fun to work with new talent, so I look forward to this weekend pairing up with Tonis and hope we both can finish with a good result for the Rocketsports team."
During 1998-2000, Kasemets competed in SCCA Club Racing events, winning 14 times and finishing on the podium a total of 21 times in 24 races. Despite his Sport Car racing experience, this weekend will mark the first time that the 32-year-old driver will participate in an endurance race. The most challenging thing for Kasemets this weekend will be pit stops, which include driver changes and that is something that he is not familiar with from his past and present racing experiences.
"The Daytona Prototype Rocketsports car was fun to test," said Kasemets. "I look forward to the race and working with Tomy Drissi this weekend. He is a very nice guy, and he likes the car a lot, so I think we have a lot in common which will definitely benefit us in working together this weekend. This is something completely new to me; I have never competed in any type of an endurance race, so it will be a challenge, but that is what I am looking forward to most. I am thankful for this opportunity that Paul Gentilozzi and the Rocketsports team has given me, I will do my best behind the wheel and be a good teammate to Tomy."
As a reward to the backing of Kasemets' racing career and their current strong support to the team, Rocketsports will be displaying the Flexovit Abrasives logo on the #50 Ford-Crawford this weekend. Flexovit has proudly supported the career of Kasemets' since 1998, and their involvement with him and the team in the Champ Car World Series has been a perfect fit. With their main corporate offices and manufacturing facility based in Angola, New York, this weekend's event at The Glen is right in Flexovit's backyard and is a great opportunity to increase the company's exposure at a hometown track.
Rocketsports will take to the 2.45-mile road course at The Glen on Thursday morning to kick off practice and qualifying for the Friday night race. The start of the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen for the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes will take the green flag at 6:30 p.m. EST. The race can be seen via tape delay Friday night with coverage beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST on SPEED Channel.