LOOKING AHEAD OR JUST LOOKING? NASCAR Nextel Cup champions Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon hung out during the Crown Royal 200's Rolex Series Daytona Prototype race, bouncing between the pits of their respective "favorite" Daytona Prototype ...
LOOKING AHEAD OR JUST LOOKING?
NASCAR Nextel Cup champions Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon hung out during the Crown Royal 200's Rolex Series Daytona Prototype race, bouncing between the pits of their respective "favorite" Daytona Prototype teams; the second-place finishing No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli and Memo Gidley and the fifth-place Pontiac-powered No. 91 Riley-Matthews, with drivers Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens.
Johnson co-drove the No. 91 Lowe's Home Improvement Pontiac-Riley in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing in 19th-place, and again at Daytona International Speedway in the July 5 Brumos Porsche 250, where the team finished 9th.
Gordon co-drove the Wayne Taylor-owned No. 10 SunTrust car with Angelelli, Taylor and Jan Magnussen to a third-place finish in the Rolex 24.
During the Watkins Glen race Gordon and Johnson studied the war-wagon monitors and, especially on Gordon's part, the SunTrust's race car telemetry.
"Man, I just love to watch Max drive," Gordon said. "He's so smooth. I learn a lot from him."
Being in the pits and hobnobbing with those therein, the affable Johnson did nothing to quell talk of his becoming a 2008 DP team owner, in whole or part.
By the way, anyone notice talk of the Bob Stallings team fielding another DP team in 2008?
A CROWN ROYALE FACEOFF
Those having Crown Royal 200 pit access or were sitting in front of the Speed TV broadcast witnessed a tense post-race face off between the blue-orange No. 10 SunTrust team and Krohn Racing's green-blue team.
If you watched it on TV, you didn't get to see enough of it.
The animosity between the teams arose after a late-race, on-track incident during which Max Angelelli and Colin Braun, each holding a desire to come out closest to race-leader Alex Gurney, did some bumping, grinding and, in Braun's case, a little half-spin as the two charged toward Turn One.
If you asked any one of the SunTrust guys, they insisted Tracy Krohn, in the seat of his No. 76 Pontiac Riley, somewhere, somehow fit into the deal beyond just owning the Nos. 75 and 76.
For most, the incident means little more than it's being one of those "That's Racin'" deals.
For a handful of others, it goes a little deeper than just the outcome of a hotly contested race position.
For Krohn Racing, its venting might've signaled its now slim-and-none chance of producing a second DP driving champion in as many seasons (which really goes to underscore the difficulty in producing back-to-back championships - a rule-of-thumb most forget when winning a first).
For SunTrust team-owner Wayne Taylor, the on-track action might've been interpreted as a continuation of some ill feelings running between he and Colin Braun, who he "managed" before the 18-year-old's camp cut a deal with Roush Fenway Racing (note operative word "before").
For much of this year Taylor, Braun and Braun's team-owner Tracy Krohn have verbally sparred over Braun's driving style - most recently at The Glen and before Friday's Crown Royal 200.
Last year, Braun, et al supposedly took exception to his then-manager's appeal that the driver be a little less "assertive."
Krohn Racing team manager Jeff Hazel and Taylor go way, way back (decades) on fairly friendly terms that weren't entirely friendly after Friday's race. No doubt caught between a rock and a hard place, at times Hazel looked a little befuddled during the after-race, two-team confab.
Yet another scenario twist that'll possibly have future implications: Taylor looked to be one of the first teams - outside of Krohn Racing, of course - lined up for the soon-due 2008 Lola DP.
No penalties have been announced as of this being written, but on Friday many were of the mind that such would be forthcoming. If penalties are handed out now that a new workweek has arrived, be the first on your block to know by checking the Grand Am website under Competitor Info>Quick Facts>2007 Penalties.
Penalties notwithstanding: to be continued.
The 2008 season is already well underway as some DP teams prep 2008 chassis while others have already undertaken track tests of 2008 cars.
Drivers reportedly looking or "available" for other seats: Homestead-Miami Speedway DP winner Bill Auberlen; DP points co-leader Scott Pruett (which begs the question: "So, then, is that why Chip Ganassi hasn't been around many Rolex Series' races this year?" The reader's got to fill in the preceding "blank.").
As noted previously herein months ago, Dallara and Doran have a deal as long as Dallara gets what it wants and THAT the new $64 question.
Look for: A couple of prominent and, some might say, "historical" venues to be gone from the 2008 Rolex Series schedule with the NASCAR connection playing a very large role in its sportscar series come next season.
"You say there's another North American metropolitan street-race event that's as big or bigger than this one? Where would that be?" wondered Jim France while surveying the Montreal crowds at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
DC Williams exclusively for Motorsport.com