Daytona II: Series round eight preview

DAYTONA, BEACH, Fla. - The running of the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway will be the 100th race for the Daytona Prototypes, the premier class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. The class ...

DAYTONA, BEACH, Fla. - The running of the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway will be the 100th race for the Daytona Prototypes, the premier class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

The class debuted at the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona, when six DPs from four manufacturers led the field to the green flag for America's premier endurance race.

The DP concept was announced on the eve of the 2002 Rolex 24. The concept called for an affordable class using stable rules and employing a platform designed for close and safe competition. The revolutionary car has redefined prototype sports car racing, applying sensible and affordable rules with a firm commitment to a level playing field.

Seven chassis, using a variety of engines, were originally approved for the class - Fabcar, Picchio, Doran, Multimatic, Riley, Crawford and Chase. Manufacturers were allowed to transfer their license or submit upgrades for their chassis for the 2008 season, with Dallara, Proto-Auto Lola and Coyote joining the DP competition.

To date, 79 DPs have been built. As a testament of the car's reliability, the original Riley chassis that debuted in the 2004 Rolex 24 remains active, finishing third for AIM Autosport in the race at Mid-Ohio. In terms of competition, only three drivers have won multiple championships, and 336 drivers have competed in at least one race.

DP Championship Lead Tight Heading To Daytona

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 BMW/Riley) have come back from adversity once this season - rebounding from a last-place finish at Lime Rock to win back-to-back races at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio that increased their lead in the Daytona Prototype standings to 32 points.

Now, after a technical infraction discovered in post-race inspection at Mid-Ohio and a subsequent penalty, they enter Saturday's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona with a seven-point lead (200-193) in the championship with five races remaining in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series season.

After opening the season with a second-place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers won five of the next six races - with Rojas' first-lap off-track excursion the lone blemish on their record.

Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins (No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford/Riley) are second in the Daytona Prototype standings. Ryan Dalziel (No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW/Riley) is third with 190 points, while Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor (No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Dallara) are fourth with 188 points; SunTrust Racing is second in the team championship (200-188). The Mid-Ohio penalty moved Ford to the lead of the Daytona Prototype manufacturer championship, leading BMW by five points (219-214).

Assentato, Segal Boost GT Lead To 10 Points Entering Brumos Porsche 250

Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal (No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8) hold a 10-point lead (204-194) in the production-based GT division of the Rolex Series. The pair have finished in the top four in the last six races, placing fourth at both the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen and Mid-Ohio.

The pair has had bad luck at Daytona, though. They opened the 2010 season with a 16th-place finish in the Rolex 24, and had a mechanical problem early in that event in 2009. Segal flipped late in the 2008 Brumos Porsche 250. Segal and Assentato entered the Mid-Ohio race with only a one-point lead in the standings over SpeedSource teammates Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito (No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8). However, Tremblay was involved at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and finished 12th. While Tremblay remains second in points, Bomarito scored no points at Mid-Ohio.

Andy Lally (No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3) remains third in points. He has driven with three different teams in events that his regular team, TRG, did not compete. TRG will be back at Daytona with two cars, with Lally co-driving with RJ Valentine.

Perennial title contenders Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell (No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Vin Solutions Camaro) are fourth in points. Their only podium finish was second at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Rice, Garcia Bring Spirit Back To Daytona

Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche/Coyote) celebrate their first anniversary driving for Spirit of Daytona Racing this weekend in the Brumos Porsche 250.

The pair were part of Brumos Racing's winning lineup at the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and team owner Troy Flis brought them back together midway through last season.

Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner, and Garcia, a two-time class winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, currently are enjoying a six-race streak of top-10 finishes that have brought them to 10th in the Daytona Prototype points standings. That includes the team's first podium finish since joining the DP ranks, third in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.

Rice is impressed with the team's progress developing the Coyote chassis in the DP ranks.

"I think the main thing we wanted to do this year was work on the car, and keep improving with every round so we can stay competitive with the top five cars," Rice said. "We've been doing a good job with that and we're getting much more consistent. Once we put all the pieces together there's no reason we can't be competing for wins, week in and week out. It just takes time to put all the right pieces in the puzzle and have the entire team gel."

While they finished 18th in their debut with Spirit of Daytona Racing after a hard crash at Daytona last year, Rice and Garcia placed fourth in the next event at Barber Motorsports Park. The car continues to improve each event. "I'm very happy for the Spirit of Daytona team," Garcia said. "We have been progressing in the right direction and the podium (at Watkins Glen) is another good step."

Donohue Looks Back At 99 Races

David Donohue (No. 59 Brumos Porsche/Riley) is one of two drivers to compete in every DP race; his co-driver Darren Law being the other. Donohue looked back

"It's funny to look back and see that, really, everybody thought we were crazy. Back in the day, there weren't a lot of cars because the formula was untried. A lot of series - and cars - had come and gone. We see now that it wasn't such a crazy idea after all. It is amazing the way the cars have evolved for the way the formula has stayed the same. They drive better, they look better, are a lot more solidly built. The competition is incredibly tight, more so than in any other road racing series I have been involved with in my career. We've gone from finishes [margins of victory] of several seconds to under one second - it gets so close we may have to add a fourth digit in terms of timing finishes and poles."

Boris Said Joins Marsh Racing, Teams With Curran For Remainder Of 2010 Season

Veteran Boris Said (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette) has entered the Brumos Porsche 250, and is expected to co-drive with and co-driver Eric Curran for the remainder of 2010.

"It's a new car, and they're developing it at the race track," Said explained. "They're getting better and better with each race, and qualified fifth in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio. I talk with Eric a lot, and I feel they are overcoming the problems they've had earlier this year. I'm real excited to be getting in that car."

Marsh Racing, a veteran of NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World East competition, first raced in the Rolex Series at Barber Motorsports Park in April. The team ran the next five races, with a best finish of 10th at Watkins Glen, with Curran co-driving with Brandon Davis.

Said drove a Picchio to a third-place finish in the 2003 Rolex 24, the debut of the DP class.

"I was in the first one and I really believed in the idea and the concept and it's become one of the most competitive series in the world," Said recalled. "You look at other series and you know which prototype is going to win because it has a competitive advantage. But not with GRAND-AM, where it's all about the driver, team and manufacturer. It isn't about just having the best car."

* SpeedSource Adds Fourth Mazda: SpeedSource will add a fourth Mazda RX-8 to its lineup at Daytona for Columbian brothers Julian and Sebastian Martinez (No. 65 M2 Autosport Mazda RX-8). Their father, Oscar Martinez, will serve as crew chief for his sons.

"We're very excited, because this is the first time we're bringing four cars to a GT race," said team owner Sylvain Tremblay (No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8), who won the 2008 and 2010 Rolex 24 in addition to winning the Brumos Porsche 250 in 2007 and 2008.

Rookie Jonathan Bomarito joins Tremblay in the No. 70. In addition to points co-leaders Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal (No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8), John Edwards and Adam Christodoulou (No. 65 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8) will compete for the first time at Daytona.

* TRG Enters Two Porsches: TRG, winners of the past two GT races it entered, will have a pair of Porsches in the Brumos Porsche 250 for drivers Andy Lally and RJ Valentine (No. 66 Advanced Aerosol Acquisitions Porsche GT3), and Spencer Pumpelly and Peter Bassett (No. 67 Fisher Industrial Porsche GT3).

Lally is also planning to run in the U.S. Streetluge World Cup in Maryhill, Wash., this week.

* Andy Wallace Joins Team Sahlen: Veteran endurance racer Andy Wallace (No. 42 Team Sahlen's Mazda RX-8) will make his Rolex Series GT debut at the Brumos Porsche 250. The three-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will co-drive with Will Nonnamaker.

"I'm excited to co-drive with Andy," Will Nonnamaker said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge that will be valuable for the team and will be valuable for me to learn from."

* NASCAR Tickets Double For GRAND-AM: Tickets for Saturday's Coke Zero 400, the 18th race of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, will allow grandstand access to the Brumos Porsche 250.

-source: grand-am

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Ryan Dalziel , Antonio Garcia , Boris Said , Scott Pruett , Robin Liddell , Emil Assentato , Will Nonnamaker , Andy Lally , Darren Law , David Donohue , Max Angelelli , Sylvain Tremblay , Memo Rojas , Buddy Rice , Burt Frisselle , Spencer Pumpelly , Andrew Davis , Jonathan Bomarito , Chip Ganassi , Mark Wilkins , Jeff Segal , Brandon Davis , Felix Sabates , Ricky Taylor , Adam Christodoulou , Peter Bassett
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Sahlen , SpeedSource