Watkins Glen II: Round eight preview

Rolex Sports Car Series Shares Stage with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at Watkins Glen International DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 10, 2004) -- For the second and final time in 2004, the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will run in ...

Rolex Sports Car Series Shares Stage with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at Watkins Glen International

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 10, 2004) -- For the second and final time in 2004, the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will run in conjunction with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, as the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen--Round 8 of the 12-race 2004 Rolex Series calendar--takes the green flag on Friday evening following NEXTEL Cup qualifying at Watkins Glen International (SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET).

As a result of the combination, at least one NEXTEL Cup Series star will be in the Rolex Series field on Friday night and two Rolex Series hotshoes will find their way into NEXTEL Cup machines on Sunday. 2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart will join forces once again with Andy Wallace in the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford, while Daytona Prototype co-points leader Scott Pruett is set to drive in his second consecutive NEXTEL Cup race and third of the season, and GT driver Boris Said will make his second NEXTEL Cup start of 2004 in the Sirius at The Glen on Sunday.

Pruett will drive the No. 39 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates--the same team for which he drives in the Rolex Series--on Sunday. It will be his first time in the No. 39 since he finished third in June's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

In addition to extending his Daytona Prototype points lead with a win in the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley alongside co-driver Max Papis last Saturday, Pruett also drove the No. 09 Phoenix Racing Dodge last Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He finished 42nd.

Said, meanwhile, makes his NEXTEL Cup return for the first time since the Dodge/Save Mart 350, and will once again drive the No. 36 Centrix Financial Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports. He finished sixth in the No. 36 at Infineon Raceway in June.

Both Pruett and Said have run well in NEXTEL Cup competition, but both enter Sunday's race still looking for their first Cup win. Likewise, Stewart has been on the doorstep of victory in the Rolex Series and is hoping to break through with his first sports car win this weekend.

If he is to win, however, Stewart will have to overcome a stout field of regular Daytona Prototype competitors. Chief among them are Pruett and Papis, who own a series-high three race victories and lead the driver point standings by 22 markers over Wallace (218-196). The duo won in their last appearance at Watkins Glen International in June's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on the 3.4-mile long course, and are ready for the challenge of the 2.45-mile short course that will be in use this weekend.

Also among the favorites is the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley in the hands of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli. The No. 10 has two wins this season (at Phoenix and the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona) and finished second in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen following Angelelli's first career Rolex Series pole position. Likewise, the other drivers on the June podium, Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz in the No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, come to The Glen fresh off another third place finish last weekend in Mid-Ohio and remain a threat to take their first Rolex Series winner's trophy at any time.

After breaking into the top-five in the driver point standings with a second place run alongside her regular co-driver Wallace at Mid-Ohio, Milka Duno heads to The Glen looking for her seventh top-10 finish in eight starts. With Wallace sharing the No. 20 CITGO machine with Stewart, Duno will be joined once again in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford by sports car stalwart Jan Lammers.

Another car to watch on Friday night will be the No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar of Darren Law and David Donohue. After somewhat of a slow start to the season, Donohue and Law have come on strong of late, taking sixth, fifth, and fourth place finishes, respectively, in their last three races. With the added incentive of being on Brumos Racing owner Bob Snodgrass and crew chief Mike Colucci's "home turf" at Watkins Glen, a victory or podium finish is certainly not out of the question.

Not to be overlooked is the defending Sahlen's 200 at The Glen winner, the No. 54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran of 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller, who shares the ride this weekend with English sports car racing phenom Oliver Gavin, a factory General Motors pilot.

Further bolstering the Daytona Prototype field will be the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson, the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran of Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Burt Frisselle, the No. 7 Southard Motorsports BMW Fabcar of Shane Lewis and Vic Rice, the No. 9 Mears Motorcoach/SpeedSource Pontiac Riley of Mike Borkowski and Paul Mears Jr., the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford--which will carry new sponsorship this weekend from The Casite Company--of Stephan Gregoire and Doug Goad, the No. 27 Doran-Lista Racing Lexus Doran of Didier Theys and Jan Magnussen, the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar of Hurley Haywood and JC France, and the No. 81 Rx.com/G&W Motorsports BMW Doran driven by Cort Wagner and Brent Martini.

In the GT field, all eyes will be on the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 of class points leader Bill Auberlen and rookie Justin Marks. Auberlen set a new Rolex Sports Car Series record last weekend at Mid-Ohio when he earned his sixth consecutive GT class victory, and took over sole possession of the lead in the driver standings. After becoming the first driver to win six consecutive races in any Rolex Series class, Auberlen enters the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen looking to remain undefeated since winning the Grand Prix of Miami in February.

He and Marks will be challenged, however, by Said--who ranks second in the GT driver standings--and Joey Hand in the similar No. 22 PTG BMW M3, as well as the No. 66 The Racer's Group Porsche GT3 RS of Chris Gleason, RJ Valentine and Ian James, who stand in a three-way tie for third in the class point standings. Another GT team to watch is the No. 44 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS of Mike Fitzgerald and Jay and Joe Policastro. The No. 44 has finished inside the top-five four times this season, topped by a class win in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the year.

No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup co-drivers Marc Bunting and Andy Lally are also looking to extend a streak this weekend, as the co-Super Grand Sport (SGS) points leaders have not failed to finish on the class podium all year. If they are to win, however, they will have to stop Wayne Nonnamaker in the No. 41 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup, who has driven to victory by himself in each of the last two races. They will also be challenged by their teammates, Michael Levitas and Randy Pobst, in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, which finished first or second in class in each of the first four races of the season and made its first podium appearance with a third place run last week at Mid-Ohio after two straight races outside the top five.

The Rolex Sports Car Series has an abbreviated, two-day schedule at Watkins Glen this weekend. On-track activities get underway on Thursday beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET for an hour-long practice session. A second practice session is scheduled for 2:00 -- 3:45 p.m., with SGS and GT qualifying set for 4:10 -- 4:25 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., the Daytona Prototypes will conduct their 15-minute qualifying session, and the day's activities conclude with a final practice session from 7:00 -- 8:00 p.m.

The Sahlen's 200 at The Glen will take the green flag following Friday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying session, at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET. The scheduled distance of the race is 200 miles (82 laps), but is subject to an 8:30 p.m. time limit.

SPEED Channel will once again provide same-day tape-delayed television coverage of the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen. The SPEED broadcast hits the airwaves beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Live timing & scoring data from every session will also be available through Zippo Live Timing & Scoring on the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com.

WHO: Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series
WHAT: Rolex Series -- Sahlen's 200 at The Glen (Round 8 of 12)

WHERE: Watkins Glen International; Watkins Glen, N.Y. (2.45-mile, 11-turn, natural terrain road course)

WHEN: Thursday - Friday, August 12-13
Sahlen's 200 at The Glen -- Friday, August 13 at p.m. ET

LENGTH: 200-miles/82-laps/8:30 p.m. time limit

TELEVISION: Sahlen's 200 at The Glen -- SPEED Channel (Same-day, tape-delayed), 10 p.m. ET

<pre> WEEKEND EVENT SCHEDULE

Thursday, August 12th 11:00 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m. Practice -- Rolex Series 2:00 p.m. -- 3:45 p.m. Practice -- Rolex Series 4:10 p.m. -- 4:25 p.m. Qualifying -- Rolex Series GT, SGS 4:30 p.m. -- 4:45 p.m. Qualifying -- Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes 7:00 p.m. -- 8:00 p.m. Practice -- Rolex Series

Friday, August 13th 6:30 p.m. START -- Rolex Series Sahlen's 200 at The Glen (200-miles/82-laps/8:30 p.m. time limit) *

*Approximate start time: Actual race start after the conclusion of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying. Schedule subject to change.

TICKET INFORMATION Tickets can be purchased by calling 607-535-2481 or by going to www.theglen.com.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Jan Lammers , Shane Lewis , Tony Stewart , Jan Magnussen , Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Didier Theys , Stephan Gregoire , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Luis Diaz , Ian James , Doug Goad , Andy Lally , Terry Borcheller , Hurley Haywood , Oliver Gavin , Darren Law , David Donohue , JC France , Max Angelelli , Burt Frisselle , Chris Gleason , Michael Levitas , Jimmy Morales , Mike Borkowski , Brent Martini , Paul Mears Jr. , Marc Bunting , Vic Rice , Chip Ganassi , Bob Snodgrass , Michael Shank , Felix Sabates , Cort Wagner
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , SpeedSource , Michael Shank Racing , Phoenix Racing