SECOND HALF OF ROLEX SERIES SEASON HOPES TO SIGNAL NEW CENTURY SURGE INDIANAPOLIS (July 28, 2005) -- The relaxing feeling of being cemented fifth in the championship with a podium, three top-5 finishes and 68 laps led in your first season of...
SECOND HALF OF ROLEX SERIES SEASON HOPES TO SIGNAL NEW CENTURY SURGE
INDIANAPOLIS (July 28, 2005) -- The relaxing feeling of being cemented fifth in the championship with a podium, three top-5 finishes and 68 laps led in your first season of Rolex Sports Car Series competition might lend itself to a solid sense of accomplishment for a racing organization. But New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has shown no signs of sitting idle as they've racked up that racing resume through just seven of the year's 14-race schedule.
Expectations, and levels of unpredictability are certainly running high for the team as it runs alongside its Chip Ganassi Racing sister car-- the dominant 2004 Championship-winning no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley-- and this Sunday's PORSCHE 250 presented by Bradley Arant on Barber Motorsports Park's 2.3-mile course could turn the tables on the unaccommodating version of Lady Luck they have encountered thus far while trying to beat a hefty field of Daytona Prototype dandies to Victory Lane.
Co-driver Cort Wagner, who scored a top-10 result at Barber last season with an eighth-place finish, recalled the 16-turn winding layout in Alabama, and offered up some colorful commentary on topics ranging from weather to car setup to race promotion.
"Hot, hot and hot are the three most important words describing the weather this weekend," said Wagner. "Traffic is going to be the key to success at this tight and technical raceway. It might be one of the most beautiful racetracks we visit, and a great place to spectate, so anyone who loves racing needs to come watch a bunch of overheated nutty Grand American drivers fight for every inch of track. Race strategy and managing traffic will be the key to winning this event!"
Having never turned a wheel at Barber, Wagner's teammate Stefan Johansson might not know the idiosyncrasies of the flowing road circuit, but the Swede brings with him a wealth of setup knowledge to pull from based on a stellar career that has spanned Formula 1, Champ Cars and international sports car successes.
"Although I've not been to Barber, I'd go as far as to say that it's going to be a very tough race based on the fact that the track will be so busy with traffic," said Johansson. "From what I know, there aren't many long straights for overtaking maneuvers, and the heat will surely factor in on the cars and the drivers. Every race this year I feel we've been in a position to contend for the lead and for the win. I feel our situation in the points isn't based on luck, because I believe you make your own luck. But sooner or later the tide will turn in our favor."
Fans of New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can catch the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley in action at the PORSCHE 250 presented by Bradley Arant in Birmingham, Ala. this Sunday, July 31st (LIVE, SPEED Channel, 1:00 pm ET) at Barber Motorsports Park for Round 8 of the Rolex Sports Car Series. Follow the team's progress throughout the race weekend by logging on to the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.