PAIR OF TOP-10S FOR JDC MOTORSPORTS IN PROTOTYPE LITES CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON-OPENER
Series newcomer Kraut shines in qualifying and avoids trouble in Rounds One and Two at Sebring
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (March 24, 2011) – JDC MotorSports first foray into the prototype racing ranks proved to be a successful affair, with the multiple junior formula car champions earning a pair of top-10 finishes in the 2011 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship season-opener this past week (March 17-18) at Sebring International Raceway. Gerry Kraut impressed many in his series debut, narrowly missing a front-row starting position via a superb qualifying run, before finishing sixth and eighth during the 12 Hours of Sebring event.
Given the fact that JDC MotorSports and Kraut’s lone previous outing in the L1 class spec Elan DP02 car had only just occurred during official winter testing in central Florida, the squad spent the promoters test day sessions and the sole series practice run to get further acclimated to the car and focus on finding the right setup for Kraut.
Gaining valuable information and experience each time out on-course, Kraut and the JDC crew were in good spirits when qualifying for Round One got underway at Sebring on Thursday morning (March 17). Kraut, showing the speed and skill that made him a multiple race winner in the Star Mazda Championship Masters class, proved to be a driver worth watching in the timed session. In the end, he just missed out on a front-row starting position for his first-ever Prototype Lites race, turning the third best time in the No. 55 Dougherty & Co./Dougherty Funding LLC/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports Elan DP02 entry.
Kraut and JDC had little time to enjoy the superb qualifying run however, as only a few hours later the Prototype Lites field rolled back on-course for race one of the season-opening doubleheader. Round One proved to be a somewhat chaotic affair, with lots of side-by-side racing, and two caution periods. Kraut, aware that every point will count come season’s end, managed to keep his nose clean, despite being involved in a heated battle for position from virtually start-to-finish, eventually crossing the stripe in sixth place.
With each driver’s fast lap from the opening affair determining the starting order for Round Two, Kraut was P6 when the green flag waved on Friday (March 18) for race two in central Florida. While the 15-lap race ran caution free, the action was fast and furious, with multiple lead changes and fights for position up and down the field. Kraut, focused on running mistake-free laps and leaving the season-opening event with precious championship points, did just that, earning a solid eighth place finish.
“Great series and a great bunch of guys,” stated Kraut. “The biggest surprise for me was the pace at the green flag and the restarts after a full course yellow. Rolling starts in club racing are at relatively slow speeds and the green isn't thrown until the starter is ‘happy’ with the formation of the field. I was caught flat footed in both races and at least one restart as the field took off and got up to race speed well before the green was thrown. Fellow competitors and the officials tried to educate me on this starting procedure, but obviously I was a poor student.”
JDC MotorSports and Kraut now have a lengthy break until the second event on the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship calendar takes place on July 8-9, at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
-source: jdc motorsports