Birmingham: Round 9 DP, Round 10 GT preview

Grand-Am's Krohn Racing Gaining Momentum Entering Barber Motorsports Park's Porsche 250 on Sunday Atlanta-based team finished second last year at Barber DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 15, 2008) -- Coming off a podium finish in the recent Brumos ...

Grand-Am's Krohn Racing Gaining Momentum Entering Barber Motorsports Park's Porsche 250 on Sunday

Atlanta-based team finished second last year at Barber

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 15, 2008) -- Coming off a podium finish in the recent Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway, Krohn Racing's Pontiac Lolas continue to improve in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Cask No. 16 competition. The Atlanta-based team will be looking to score its first Daytona Prototype victory Sunday, July 20, in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, which starts at 2:07 p.m. CT at Barber Motorsports Park (SPEED, Live at 3 p.m. ET).

To win, though, the two-car team must stop the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, and the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley of defending Porsche 250 winners Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. The two teams were involved in the closest finish in Grand-Am Rolex Series history earlier this month, when Pruett shot past Gurney on the front straight and won the Brumos Porsche 250 by .081 seconds.

Pruett and Rojas have five victories in 2008 competition, giving Pruett a record 19 Rolex Series triumphs. They currently hold a 40-point lead (260-220) in the Daytona Prototype point standings, followed by Mid-Ohio winners Gurney and Fogarty. Last year, the GAINSCO duo won seven races and the championship, edging Pruett by two points.

While the Ganassi and GAINSCO teams are running strong, other teams in the Daytona Prototype paddock are looking to break through. Krohn Racing is one of them. Ricardo Zonta -- a Formula One veteran and FIA GT champion -- and Nic Jonsson finished third at Daytona, giving them four consecutive top 10 finishes in addition to a third-place finish earlier in the season at Mexico City.

Krohn Racing has a history of success at Barber Motorsports Park. Jorg Bergmeister and Colin Braun won the 2006 Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, while Jonsson and Braun finished second here last year. Braun, now a regular for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, hounded Gurney throughout the final 20 laps of last year's race. After running nose-to-tail for many circuits, Braun ran out of fuel entering the final turn of the last lap, resulting in a six-second margin of victory for Gurney. Krohn Racing will also field the No. 75 Pontiac Lola for owner/driver Tracy Krohn and Eric van de Poele. This will be the first Barber race for both Zonta and van de Poele.

Brumos Racing is another team closing in on victory. Darren Law and David Donohue have scored four consecutive top-five finishes in the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley -- including a pair of seconds -- while teammates JC France and Joao Barbosa have placed fifth and fourth respectively in the last two events in the team's No. 59 entry. France nearly won the inaugural event at Barber, but was passed by Terry Borcheller on the final lap only three turns from the checkered flag.

Max Angelelli and co-driver Michael Valiante are looking for their first victory of the season in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara. Angelelli and Memo Gidley placed third last year, while Angelelli and car owner Wayne Taylor won here in 2005.

AIM Autosport captured its first Rolex Series pole when Mark Wilkins led qualifying for the Brumos Porsche 250 in the No. 60 Exchange Traded Gold Ford Riley. He and Brian Frisselle then ran in the top three until a broken half-shaft put them out of action in the closing laps. That ended a streak of four races with finishes of seventh or better.

A number of other teams bear watching at Barber. After starting the season with five consecutive finishes in the top eight -- including a victory at Mexico City -- Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens have finished 11th or worse in the last three races in the No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley. Rum Bum Racing teammates Matt Plumb and Gene Sigal followed up a third-place finish at Mid-Ohio by finishing seventh at Daytona in the No. 7 BumBum.com BMW Riley. The team finished fifth earlier in the season at both Homestead-Miami Speedway and Virginia International Raceway. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca winners Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib seemed headed to a podium finish in the Brumos Porsche 250 before a late-race incident sidelined the No. 2 SAMAX BMW Riley.

The biggest change this weekend will be with Alex Job Racing. Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand will race Job's No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche Riley for the first time this weekend, switching from the Crawford chassis the team has run for nearly three seasons. Auberlen and Hand finished second at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this season, while the Crawford qualified second and finished eighth at Barber last year.

Collins, Edwards Seek Barber Repeat to Solidify GT Point Lead

Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards are looking for their second consecutive victory at the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant in the No. 07 Banner Racing Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R. They lead the GT point standings by 24 points (267-243), although their once-sizable gap has shrunk over the past two races. Collins and Edwards finished 11th at Mid-Ohio, their only finish outside the top 10, and narrowly missed the podium at Daytona, where they finished fourth.

Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham continue their charge back to the front after leading the standings earlier this season. The pair is coming off its third consecutive Rolex Series victory at Daytona, and look to further tighten the points in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8.

The team's sister car, the No. 69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 driven by Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal, was repaired after a harrowing roll by Segal during the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona. While the car suffered extensive damage from the incident, Segal was uninjured and will compete at Barber.

Also helping the Mazda effort are the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports RX-8 driven by Ross Smith and Bryan Sellers (an Auburn, Ga., native), and the No. 40 Hyper Sport RX-8 driven by Joe Foster and Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey. Hyper Sport is also located in Atlanta.

Rounding out the top contenders for the championship are Robin Liddell and Georgia native Andrew Davis in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports GXP.R, who are tied for fifth in points. They have won two races and earned the most podium finishes in the GT class with six. Davis has been an instructor with the Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park since the circuit opened in 2003 and has been a part of each Grand-Am event at Barber since the series first raced here that year. Davis will also be competing with Motorsport Technology Group in Saturday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) race.

Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner placed second at the Brumos Porsche 250, the second straight race the Farnbacher Loles Racing team had earned a podium finish. As part of a two-car lineup, the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 will be joined by the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 driven by Eric Lux and Leh Keen, who earned the lone Porsche victory of the 2008 season at Mid-Ohio. Another Porsche-powered team, TRG, will shuffle its driver lineup for this event. Andy Lally, who won here in 2004 and 2006, moves to the No. 67 Porsche GT3 to co-drive with Tim George Jr. Spencer Pumpelly moves to the No. 66 and will co-drive with Ted Ballou. Completing the team's four-car lineup include the No. 65 TRG/Riegel Autosport of Hima Maher and Craig Stanton and the No. 68 of Josemanuel Gutierrez and John Potter.

Terry Borcheller, the inaugural winner at Barber and the 2003 Daytona Prototype champion, will take the wheel of the No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R for the third straight race. He and co-driver Tim Lewis Jr. finished sixth at the Brumos Porsche 250.

RACE SPECS

- This is Round 10 for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. The combined Daytona Prototype/GT race is two hours and 45 minutes or 250 miles (109 laps), whichever comes first.

- The green flag for the race is scheduled to fly shortly after 2 p.m. CT on Sunday. The race will air live on SPEED, beginning at 3 p.m. ET (Leigh Diffey -- Play-by-Play; Dorsey Schroeder, Calvin Fish -- Analysts; Brian Till, Chris Neville -- Pit Reporters).

- All cars must make a mandatory pit stop prior to the 45-minute mark in the race, and each driver must complete 30 minutes of the race in order to earn points for their respective standings.

- 2007 Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant race winners were Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (Daytona Prototypes), and Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards (GT).

ROLEX SERIES WEEKEND SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES CENTRAL)

- Friday: Rolex Series GT Practice (10:15 a.m.-10:45 a.m.); Rolex Series Combined Practice (10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.); Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Practice (11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.); Rolex Series Combined Practice (2:10 p.m.-3:10 p.m.) -Saturday: Rolex Series Combined Practice (10:10 a.m.-10:40 a.m.); Rolex Series Trueman/Akin Award Practice (10:40 a.m.-11:10 a.m.) Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Qualifying (11:45 a.m.-Noon); Rolex Series GT Qualifying (12:10 p.m.-12:25 p.m.) - Sunday: Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (2:07 p.m.; 250 miles/109 laps/two-and-three-quarter hour time limit).

2008 IN REVIEW

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas hold a 40-point advantage (260-220) in the Daytona Prototype standings after five victories and second and third-place finishes in their first eight starts. They won the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami, the Bosch Engineering 250 at VIR, the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen and the Brumos Porsche 250 in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. In the most recent event, Pruett passed Gurney on the final lap to win the Brumos Porsche 250. Defending series champs and Porsche 250 race winners Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty won the rain-soaked EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews won the Mexico City 250 in the No. 91 Bob Stallings/Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley, while Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib earned their initial Daytona Prototype victories in the No. 2 SAMAX BMW Riley at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Consistency and eight top 10s -- including three class victories this season -- have No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R co-drivers Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards atop the GT point standings, 24 points (267-243) over their closest competitors, Rolex 24 At Daytona and Brumos Porsche 250 winners Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 pilots Spencer Pumpelly and Tim George Jr. led the series standings earlier this season and have four podium finishes, including three second-place results. TRG is shuffling its lineup this weekend, with Andy Lally joining George in the No. 67 while Pumpelly is paired with Ted Ballou in the No. 66. No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R co-drivers Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis also won two straight races this season, and No. 69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 drivers Jeff Segal, Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi won the Sahlen's Six Hours. Eric Lux and Leh Keen drove the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 to the victory at Mid-Ohio.

NEWS & NOTES

- Atlanta Drivers, Teams Making Short Journey to Barber: Several Atlanta-area based drivers and teams will make the short drive to Barber Motorsports Park for their home race on the Rolex Series circuit. From the Daytona Prototypes, Bill Lester calls Atlanta home, while the two-car Krohn Racing team is based in Braselton, Ga. In GT, Joe Foster is from Atlanta, Andrew Davis is from Bogart, Ga., while TRG drivers Spencer Pumpelly is from Suwanee, Ga. and Andy Lally hails from Dacula, Ga. The Hyper Sport and Farnbacher Loles Racing teams are also based in the Atlanta area.

- Barber More Than a Home Track for Davis: Andrew Davis calls the Barber Motorsports Park his home track due to the close proximity to his home town of Athens, Ga. He's been an instructor with the Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park since the circuit opened in 2003 and he's been a part of each Grand-Am event at Barber since the inaugural race that same year. He raced a Daytona Prototype in 2004, in Rolex GT in 2005 and 2006, in KONI GS in 2003 and 2007 and KONI ST in 2007. This year, he will be driving the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R with co-driver Robin Liddell, with whom he's tied for fifth in points. Davis will also be competing with Motorsport Technology Group in the KONI Challenge race.

- Borcheller Looking For Another Barber Victory: After earning the top spot in 2003 when Barber Motorsports Park first opened, Terry Borcheller will be back on the Barber track in the No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R with co-driver Tim Lewis Jr. Borcheller, the 2003 Daytona Prototype champion, took the wheel of the No. 72 starting at the last Rolex Series race in Daytona after the recent departure of Lawson Aschenbach from the Autohaus team.

ROLEX SERIES POINT STANDINGS

- Daytona Prototype: 1. (tie) Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, (260); 3. Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty (220); 5. (tie) Marc Goossens, Jim Matthews (201); 7. (tie) Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri (189); 9. (tie) Nic Jonsson, Ricardo Zonta (188).

- GT: 1. (tie) Kelly Collins, Paul Edwards (267); 3. (tie) Sylvain Tremblay, Nick Ham (243); 5. (tie) Andrew Davis, Robin Liddell (237); 7. Tim George Jr. (210); 8. Tim Lewis Jr. (207); 9. (tie) Lawson Aschenbach, Ted Ballou (203).

- MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year: 1. Tim George Jr. (210); 3. (tie) Lawson Aschenbach, Ted Ballou (203); 4. Jeff Segal (191); 5. Ricardo Zonta (188).

MILESTONES

- Pruett, Ganassi Continue Winning Record: Scott Pruett and Chip Ganassi continue to set records for overall wins in the Rolex Series. Pruett notched his 19th overall win in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona, now six more than second-place James Weaver. In turn, Ganassi earned his 20th win -- all in Daytona Prototypes -- nine more than the SunTrust Racing team. Pruett has also finished in the top 10 in 26 consecutive Rolex Series Daytona Prototype races.

- Pontiac Owns Class Win Record: With seven class victories this season, Pontiac has passed Porsche for all-time class wins. Pontiac owns 51 class wins, while Porsche, which won for the first time in 2008 in the GT class at Mid-Ohio, has 50.

SELECTED PRE-RACE DRIVER QUOTES

Shane Lewis (No. 3 Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley): "I love racing at Barber. The corners flow and it has elevation changes. You must drive there with a lot of finesse. You've got to be both aggressive and very smooth. You need to have a good car with mechanical grip. We're working real hard to get ready for that race, and I'm looking forward to running up front again."

Ian James (No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley): "I really like Barber. It's a real interesting track. I like any track that has undulation changes with some good heavy braking areas. Our car has been running real strong the last couple of races, so we have a lot of hope for that one. The level of competition is very strong in our series. There probably are not that many series in the world, period, that has this level of competition. There are 15 cars that can win on any weekend, potentially, and there are some really good drivers. That's what makes it fun. As a driver, you want to go out there and you want to beat these guys. That's what we're going to try to do.

"When I go to Barber, I always try to visit the museum. It's unbelievable, the amount of cars and bikes he has there. I love the mechanical side of life and I love to look at those things."

Diego Alessi (No. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R): "In recent days I have looked at some video clips of Barber Motorsports Park. I believe I will like it very much with its fast and technical corners. It seems to be the kind of circuit I prefer. I am looking forward to driving in the central esses, it looks really enjoyable! Also, I think the GTO should be very effective there, just like at Watkins Glen.

"From now until the end of the season we really want to achieve very good results, because so far we haven't taken advantage of our real potential. At Daytona, without the tire failure that made us lose one lap and destroyed the left front corner of the car, we could (have) finished much better."

Wayne Nonnamaker (No. 43 Team Sahlen Corvette): "Team Sahlen took part in the Monday Open Test at Mid-Ohio. From that test we were able to test several new pieces that seemed to really benefit our Corvette. We are looking forward to racing at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend to see how these changes impact our speed versus the competition during a race weekend."

Andrew Davis (No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R): "Barber Motorsports Park is a world class facility. The circuit is very technical in nature, and the layout really takes advantage of the elevation changes in the area. The Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R should be really quick, and we expect to be fighting for a top result. Barber is somewhat of a "home track" for me since I live in the Atlanta area, so I am looking forward to racing in front of my friends and family."

Sylvain Tremblay (No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8): "Barber is a beautiful track, almost like racing in a park. It is always very hot, so that is a big concern for us as drivers, we have done OK there in the past, but this year OK is not good enough, so we have worked hard to be fast off the trailer like we have been at most events this season. The V8 cars have a huge advantage there with the torque they have, so we hope that all the suspension work we have done can combat that."

Ricardo Zonta (No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola): "I think the results are going to come. In all of the races we've had so many small problems, none of the results are perfect, we've always had a small mistake in the middle. Even at Mexico, where we finished third, we had a small thing there where we could have been even better than third. We had a good car that could have won at Watkins Glen, but the lap we were going to pit there was a yellow flag and they closed the pits. We had to lose a lot of positions because of that."

Marc Goossens (No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley): "We have to put everything back together and hope everything starts coming our way again. Last year was my first visit to Barber, and our test day was cut short by heavy rain. We didn't have the best car for the race, but I think we can improve on that this year. We had similar handling problems at other tracks last year that we've been able to fix, so I'm hoping to have a strong run there like we've had at most of the races this year."

-credit: garra

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing , Stevenson Motorsports , Racers Edge Motorsports , Team Sahlen , Rum Bum Racing , Alex Job Racing , SpeedSource , Michael Shank Racing