ROBB HOLLAND GRABS DODGE'S FIRST EVER PODIUM FINISH AT ROAD AMERICA; TIRE ISSUES CUT SHORT BRIAN SMITH'S SOLID TOP-THREE DRIVE ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 19, 2006) -- Dodge drivers Robb Holland and Brian Smith put on a show for Dodge in the Speed...
ROBB HOLLAND GRABS DODGE'S FIRST EVER PODIUM FINISH AT ROAD AMERICA; TIRE ISSUES CUT SHORT BRIAN SMITH'S SOLID TOP-THREE DRIVE
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 19, 2006) -- Dodge drivers Robb Holland and Brian Smith put on a show for Dodge in the Speed World Challenge SCCA Touring Car series race at Road America, with solid top-10 qualifying starts and runs in the top-five throughout the day. Rookie driver Holland brought home his first-ever podium finish, and the first ever podium finish for Dodge in the Touring Car series.
"Dodge is very proud of Robb Holland and the 3R Racing team," said Gary Johnson, Dodge Motorsports Road Racing Manger. "We would like to congratulate SRT4 Racing Program Manager Jeff Roselli on the success of the SRT4 at Road America today."
To post the finish, Holland and the 3R Racing team had to overcome trouble in the second practice session on Friday, when the Denver, Co. native got into the wall after spinning in oil from a competitor's engine expiring. The No. 67 3R Racing crew worked until midnight to fix the damage, which was extensive--brakes, suspension and body damage. The crew was able to get the car back like it was on Friday before the mishap, and it showed when Holland took the green flag in the qualifying session.
After laying down a lap quick enough for a fifth starting position for the second week in a row, Holland took the green flag over the Touring Car series race at Road America and drove his No. 67 3R Racing Dodge SRT4 to a third place finish, giving Dodge its best-ever finish.
"Dodge Motorsports has been really great to us and 3R Racing put together just an absolutely phenomenal car. Throughout the weekend we had a good car, and we were in the top-10 pretty much every single session," Holland said in during his podium interview. "We got into a little bit of an accident yesterday when some oil was dropped on the track, and the 3R guys were there fixing it until midnight last night. (The) first time I got back in it was qualifying and it was fast from the get-go, as it was in the race, so hats off to my 3R team."
"It feels great to get this top-three finish, for Dodge and for myself," Holland continued in his media center post-race interview. "It was a fantastic race, I had Randy (Pobst) behind me the whole time, and having a guy like Randy (Pobst) sitting behind you the whole 50 minutes, you have your hands full the whole time. So it feels fantastic to be here."
Fellow Dodge SRT4 driver Brian Smith in the No. 13 Woodhouse Auto Family/Kicker SRT4 had a similarly successful day until a tire explosion ended his hopes of a podium finish. Starting in the seventh position and gaining several spots on the start, Smith raced the majority of the race in the third position. It was looking as though Dodge would finish with two of their SRT4s in the top-10 when mechanical issues and an eventual blown tire ended his day.
"We were just pacing ourselves at the start, biding our time, then we started moving up there and saw that we had a pretty decent shot at a good finish and we ran there in the lead pack for the majority of the race," Smith said after the race. "But, a CV joint went first, a bunch of grease came spilling out of it and then it started not handling or accelerating well. Then, the left front tire came apart going down between turn three and five and that basically ended our day. We came up through the pits, put another tire on it and went out just to get a finishing position."
"We ran well, though, and we had a car that could have definitely finished top-three, and even could have been higher than that," Smith continued. "That's all positive, and we'll take that with us as we go to Mosport. I would have rather had a pole and a win, but it's better than finishing 15th or something like that."
The series heads to Mosport in two weeks, where they'll race the Canadian road course on Labor Day weekend.
The Dodge Vipers will compete in the GT race Sunday morning at Road America, and Tommy Archer will lead the field from the pole in Round Seven of GT Competition.