Bosch Engineering 250 Returns Chip Ganassi Racing to Grand-Am Rolex Series Victory Lane DANVILLE, VA. - Chip Ganassi Racing, after a disappointing and crash-filled race at Mexico City just last Sunday, returned to Victory Lane for the third time...
Bosch Engineering 250 Returns Chip Ganassi Racing to Grand-Am Rolex Series Victory Lane
DANVILLE, VA. - Chip Ganassi Racing, after a disappointing and crash-filled race at Mexico City just last Sunday, returned to Victory Lane for the third time this season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype race held Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway.
After post qualifying inspection revealed an infraction concerning the team's wing, the No.01 TELMEX car had to start at the rear of the Daytona Prototype pack, along with No. 99 car, which suffered a similar fate. In the 77-lap race, drivers Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett moved steadily up through the field to take the lead in the race on lap 58, leading for the final 20 rounds of VIR's scenic rolling hills, twists and turns before eventually making this the third victory celebration for the team this year. In a race slowed by only three cautions, and those merely for disabled cars to be removed from the side of the track, there was still some significant action, most of it between competitors in the same class. When all the action finished, Rojas and Pruett held a lead of just over a half second ahead of second place runners Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib.
In the production-based GT cars, things were no less stirring, as Andrew Davis and Ryan Dalziel combined to take their Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R to victory over Tim George Jr and Spencer Pumpelly in their TRG Porsche GT. Local favorite Pumpelly admits that without the track at VIR, he might not exist, as his parents met here at a race before the track closed in 1974. His mother met a young man there, asked him to contact her, never expecting the call to be made, but he did and the rest is history, much to the dismay of numerous of Pumpelly's competitors. His affection for the track extends beyond that to an appreciation of the technical challenges of VIR, with its assortment of high and low-speed turns, uphill and downhill sections and personable staff, "starting with the first person you meet at the gate, driving in," he commented.
The weekend's action was not limited to the Rolex Sports Car Series, as on Sunday morning before the feature race, the SunTrust MOTO-ST motorcycles took to the track, with the No. 1 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia Tuono 1000R ridden by Ty Howard and Mike Himmelsbach surge from a lap down to win the VIR 500k, the second round of the SunTrust M
The win was the second straight this year for the No. 1 Aprilia, which also claimed last year's title in the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport Twins (SST) class. Howard put the bike on pole on Saturday in the first qualifying session in SunTrust MOTO-ST Series history.
"I don't know what happened, the front end just folded under me," said Howard after the crash. "I rode for six laps with no shifter then I brought it into the pits."
After the team replaced the shifter but left a bent clutch lever, Howard and Himmelsbach worked their way back to the front. The only full-course caution of the race bunched the field when they were running third in the SST class and fifth overall. The caution neutralized a 40-second deficit to the leader.
Fourth overall and first in the Sport Twins (ST) class was the No. 86 SpeedWerks.com Suzuki SV650 of local ace Brian Kcraget of Danville, Va. and Chesterfield, Va.'s Ben Walters. The pair finished almost 30 seconds ahead of the No. 67 M4 Avteq Racing Suzuki SV650 of Kyle Martin of Dallas and Newalla, Okla.'s Dominic Dominguez.
"Ben Walters kind of saved us," said Kcraget, who also won the ST class at VIR last season. "He drove in from Richmond Friday morning. We had a great race with the M4 Avteq bike. They were improving and we were fortunate to bring it home."
Third in ST and sixth overall was the No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650 of defending class champions Jay Springsteen from Lapeer, Mich. and Jimmy Filice of Daytona Beach, Fla., which lost second to the No. 67 Suzuki near the finish when Filice ran off the track.
One more position back was the winner in BMW GrandSport Twins (GST): the No. 7 Richie Morris Racing Buell XB12R of Mike Smith of Canton, Ga. and Clint Brotz from Elkhart Lake, Wis.