Watkins Glen II: Synergy Racing race report

Synergy Racing Narrowly Misses Victory for Second-Straight Race, Holds on to Points Lead WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 12, 2005) -- For the second-straight race, Synergy Racing could almost taste the Victory Lane champagne but came up short of the...

Synergy Racing Narrowly Misses Victory for Second-Straight Race, Holds on to Points Lead

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 12, 2005) -- For the second-straight race, Synergy Racing could almost taste the Victory Lane champagne but came up short of the team's first Rolex Sports Car Series GT win of the season. A pit stop one lap too soon ended up costing the team its one-lap lead and resulting in a sixth-place GT finish.

After starting seventh on the GT grid, David Murry (Atlanta, Ga.) moved the points-leading No. 80 Porsche GT3 Cup into the top three and then claimed the GT lead during a full course caution on lap 41. Because the No. 80 Porsche's track position was ahead of the overall leader at the time of caution, Murry was able to gain a one-lap lead on the entire GT field when he was waved passed the safety car as it positioned itself in front of the overall leader.

However, the No. 80 Porsche still needed a pit stop to refuel, take on fresh tires and allow Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) to take the controls. Ideally, the team wanted to catch up to the pack behind the safety car before pitting, which would have allowed the No. 80 to return to the race before losing its lead. However, when Grand American officials discussed returning the race to green on the radio one lap earlier than the team had anticipated, Murry ducked into the pits before he was able to catch up to pack.

While the team's pit stop was flawless, the Synergy crew did not have the benefit of a full caution lap to complete the stop and Stanton was a few seconds too late in his attempt to beat the safety car out of the pits. Since the No. 80 Porsche had to wait until the entire field passed by before exiting the pits, it dropped the car from first to 11th.

"If we had waited one more lap to pit, we'd be drinking champagne in Victory Lane right now," said Murry after the race. "I wanted to go around the track one more time after the wave by to catch back up to the pack, which would have given us more time for the pit stop, but Grand-Am officials said on the radio they might go green and we couldn't risk not pitting before the green flag.

"But they didn't go green on the next lap, and it was heartbreaking when I saw that safety car come around the corner again with the pack behind it and we were still in the pits. Our strategy was perfect up to that point," continued Murry.

"We have to roll the dice a little more because we clearly aren't as quick as the other cars," remarked Stanton. "We rolled the dice tonight and it was a perfect plan. But in this game of inches and centimeters, we just missed it by a millimeter.

"We lost a few points in the championship, which is unfortunate," he continued. "I'm grateful for the 11-point lead I still have though. This was a sprint race, and we have more of an endurance platform, so hopefully we'll go to Mid-Ohio and recoup some points when we're back to the endurance format."

Stanton has 253 points in the unofficial GT driver point standings following the race, holding off BMW driver Joey Hand by 11. Murry slips from his second-place tie with Hand to third with 235 points. Synergy Racing continues to hold the lead in the GT team standings with an eight-point advantage over Prototype Technology Group.

Bad Break Ruins Rx.com Daytona Prototype Run at the Front Rookie Brian Frisselle (Aventura, Fla.) stormed from 12th on the grid and made pass after pass in the Rx.com No. 8 BMW Doran JE4 to score the lead midway through the two-hour CompUSA 200. However, the cloud of bad luck that has hampered some strong runs up front for the Brian and his older brother Burt this season followed them again and resulted in an 11th-place finish overall.

As Brian, who had never raced on the 'short course' at The Glen before this week, was well clear of the field when a full course caution period slowed the field just after he had passed the entry to pit lane, meaning that the rest of the field was able to duck into the pits as the Synergy Racing machine was forced to trundle around for a lap of the track behind a slow-rolling safety car and costing them a chance at victory.

"It was great to go from 12th to first, and when I first got out of the car, I was on cloud nine. But, it was so disappointing once it became clear that the way the yellow fell, we'd just got a raw deal," said Brian. "I don't know why Grand-Am doesn't close the pits right when a yellow comes out--it basically punished us for being in the lead and that just doesn't make any sense."

By the time Brian had turned the car over to his older brother the damage was done and they re-joined the field mired in 16th place with the laps winding down in the two-hour timed event.

"It was just too tall an order to expect Burt to make up that much ground," said Brian. "It's frustrating because the car was awesome, but once again the result doesn't show that at all."

"Seeing Brian tear through the field and make that balls-out pass for the lead was really amazing," smiled Burt, who was able to take the checkered in 11th. "So, we know we have everything we need to get the strong results. The team is really gelling well, our car was fast, and both Brian and I have led races, so now its just a question of getting some good luck, which hopefully we can get at Mid-O. This was a frustrating day, but we have to take the positives from it and just keep working, because we know the speed is there; we just have to get the results to match it."

Van Wijk Proves She Can Go the Distance at The Glen Mae Van Wijk (Houston, Texas) had her goal dashed of racing five of the Six Hours of The Glen earlier this season when she was hit from behind and taken out of the race. However, the Rolex Series' youngest female driver showed she could go the distance during the CompUSA 200, completing one hour and 45 minutes of the two-hour race before giving David Murry the controls of the No. 81 Porsche GT3 Cup sponsored by autobysite.com and pipeservicestt.com.

Van Wijk started the No. 81 Porsche 21st on the GT grid and was able to pick up seven positions to finish 14th, despite not being completely happy with her car's set up. "I decided to develop the car on my own for this race, which I have never done before. It didn't go quite as well as I wanted it to. There are still some things I need to work on," admitted 22-year-old Van Wijk.

The No. 80 Porsche was just shy of earning its second-straight SunTrust Improve Your Position Award for gaining the most positions in the GT class during the race. While Van Wijk and Murry picked up an impressive seven positions during the race, they were one upped by a BMW that earned eight.

"Last year I won a lot of the SunTrust Awards at the end of the season with Craig Stanton, but he was the one that did the hard work and earned the positions," remarked Van Wijk. "This year I've been the one keeping the car in a good position, which is definitely more satisfying."

-sr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Murry , Joey Hand , Craig Stanton , Mae Van Wijk , Brian Frisselle