Edwards and Liddell score GT “Hat Trick” in Camaro; Miller, Nunez win GX for Mazda.
DETROIT – Calling in a “mandatory” victory in the shadow of Chevrolet headquarters in downtown Detroit, Max Angelelli drove the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP across the finish line 0.486 seconds ahead of 2012 Detroit winner Joao Barbosa to win the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle.
The victory moved Angelelli and co-driver Jordan Taylor into the Daytona Prototype points lead by two points over No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP co-drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney five races into the 12-race 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season.
Taylor started from the pole position and the car never dropped lower than second in the running order at any point in the two-hour race. Taylor put the No. 10 machine into the lead for good on Lap 33 of 61, one lap before he pitted and gave way to Angelelli.
It was the second consecutive Detroit victory for the Corvette DP and for Taylor, who earned a GT-class victory last year in a Camaro. It was Taylor’s fourth career Rolex Series class win and was the 23rd Rolex Series win for Angelelli.
"It was mandatory [to win for Chevrolet in Detroit],” Angelelli said. “It was huge pressure for both of us. Starting from the pole, great deal, and we won the race. I'm happy to say we delivered and we executed perfectly. The guys during the pit stop did an amazing job from P1 and it's thanks to them.”
Barbosa and co-driver Christian Fittipaldi took second in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. Third went to No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley teammates Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow, who led 16 laps.
The championship picture changed dramatically on the opening lap when Memo Rojas crashed the No. 01 Cessna-TELMEX BMW/Riley after contact from Gustavo Yacaman in the No. 6 Tuvacol Ford/Riley forced him to spin into the path of John Pew’s No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley. Rojas and co-driver Scott Pruett dropped from the Daytona Prototype points lead to fourth as a result.
No. 57 Stevenson Automotive Group Camaro GT.R co-drivers John Edwards and Robin Liddell earned their third straight GT-class victory and gave Chevrolet a Motor City sweep of DP and GT. Edwards and Liddell were buoyed by quick pit work to take the lead after starting fifth in class on the 2.36-mile street circuit.
"Hats off to the Stevenson guys,” Edwards said. “They really got us in the lead and I think you could see by the pressure I was getting at the end that if I had gone out in second place we probably wouldn't be sitting here talking to you as winners. Those guys have done a fantastic job to give us three in a row.”
Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan took second in GT in the No. 63 Motorola Mobility Ferrari 458 Italia, enabling Balzan to retain the lead in the class point standings. Third in class went to polesitter Max Papis and co-driver Jeff Segal in the No. 61 Ferrari of Ontario Ferrari 458.
Joel Miller and the No. 00 Visit Florida Racing Mazda 6 earned a second consecutive GX-class victory for the diesel-powered machine. It was the first career Rolex Series win for 17-year-old rising star Tristan Nunez, who co-drove to the win alongside Miller.
"Unfortunately, I missed out for the first Mazda win at Atlanta, but I was in [the American Le Mans Series race] in Long Beach getting my first street course experience,” Nunez said. “I think that helped in favor in this race. It's so great for my first pro win to be alongside Joel Miller."