Baas Is Immediately Fast In Brand-New Farnbacher Loles Porsche; Team Signs Him for Rest of Season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 5 - Although the final results of the Brumos Porsche 250 weren't what Ian Baas was looking for Thursday night at ...
Baas Is Immediately Fast In Brand-New Farnbacher Loles Porsche; Team Signs Him for Rest of Season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 5 - Although the final results of the Brumos Porsche 250 weren't what Ian Baas was looking for Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway, Farnbacher Loles Racing was so impressed by his work with its brand-new No. 85 Porsche that the team has signed the Noblesville, Ind.-based driver for the remainder of the Rolex Series season.
Although the No. 85 was just sheet metal a week ago and there were only two and a half hours of practice on Thursday before qualifying, Baas put the car third on the GT grid for Thursday night's race, which was covered live on SPEED. The 24-year-old driver's best lap in qualifying was a 1:54.163 (112.261 miles per hour), the best speed recorded by any of the 11 Porsches entered in the 21-car GT class.
Earlier in the day the entry, which Baas shared with Dominik Farnbacher, was seventh in the first practice session with a fastest lap of 1:55.080 (111.366 mph) and second in the second practice session with a 1:55.762 (110.710 mph).
Unfortunately later that night an over-aggressive driver hit Baas on the first lap of the race in NASCAR Turn 1, damaging the Porsche's left-rear wheel. Emil Assentato got around him shortly thereafter to push Baas to fourth, but Baas retook third on lap four when he repassed Assentato.
The contact at the start was causing the left-rear wheel to pull away from its hub, however, which caused Baas to spin in the chicane with six laps down while running third to bring out the first full-course caution. Although he did not hit the wall or anything else, the damage to the wheel and the suspension from the contact at the start forced him to retire at that point. He was 20th in the final rundown with the Porsche, which is sponsored by Shoes for Crews and Recaro.
"Nathan Swartzbaugh got a stop-and-go penalty for avoidable contact over it, but he never touched me," Baas said afterwards about the spin. "The problem was a direct result of the over-aggressive actions of another driver at the initial start of the race. It wasn't Nathan's fault at all.
"It was very disappointing because the car was great; I really felt like we had a podium in hand," Baas continued. "The Farnbacher Loles team is first-rate. We really work well together. When you consider that this car wasn't even finished four days ago, it really shows the talent of this team."
The team was impressed with Baas too, and it has signed him for the remainder of the season. He'll substitute for the injured Leh Keen and be paired with Farnbacher again at the next race, which is coming right up next Sunday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. His co-driver and the Farnbacher Loles Porsche he'll drive is expected to vary in subsequent races depending on when Keen is able to return and other scheduling considerations, but Baas will be with the Danbury, Conn.-based organization for the remainder of the 2007 Rolex Series season.
Baas will practice in his STaSIS Motorsport Audi A4 No. 18 Friday afternoon in Toronto in preparation for a SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at Ex hibition Place there on Sunday. Part of the Grand Prix of Toronto Champ Car weekend, that race will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis at 11 a.m. Eastern Saturday, July 14 on SPEED.
Next Sunday's GT race at Iowa Speedway will be broadcast live on SPEED at 3 p.m. Eastern.